The Golden Temple
460 kilometers. Thats the distance from Delhi, the Indian capital to Amritsar, the North Western border town. But this was a must visit. The whole purpose of traveling to Amritsar was to see the Golden Temple, the biggest and most famous Sikh Temple. In mid December, a early morning drive from Delhi can be sleepy and gloomy. But over the mid morning, the sun is out, sky is part cloudy-part clear and the temperature outside is cool enough to stretch out your hands for some sunshine. After a great drive on National Highway 1, the mood was in full spirit to jump and run. Seriously!
The heart craved paranthas and lassi. A dhaba on the highway just about satisfied it!
Amritsar is a crowded dusty city with small roads. There was traffic congestion due to a fly-over construction when I visited in Dec 2007. But Golden Temple is LARGER THAN LIFE. There are long lines but no volunteers to man-handle you like in Tirupathi temple (I had some bad experiences there though). Instead the volunteers clean up the place. They even offered us water from the tank. This is service- to God, to Humanity, to your Soul, not sure. I did pour and clean and felt good about serving.
Following the long lines, we entered the temple. There is no huge idol. Just a small shrine. And Sikh Gurus sitting around. They offered us some rich butter prepared sweet. And then while we were almost exiting, some tea for the disciples from the disciples.
The Sikhs sure know to treat their Guests well. This was so pampering.
Jallianwala Bagh is another tourist attraction in Amritsar. It is a park where patriots were having a peaceful union and British rulers in the Colonial times opened fire, killing thousands of Indians. In memory of Martyrs who died in the Freedom Struggle for India, this park is open to tourists. There is the Martyr's Well into which the patriots jumped to escape the bullets. And a wall which still sports the bullets from Colonial rulers fire. And then the Amar Jyothi, a lamp in the name of Martyrs.
Being the border town, Amritsar shares its outskirts with Pakistan. India's Waga border is a 30 minute drive away. Every evening the border is open to cross. We missed this for over estimating times.
Read more: http://tra-well.blogspot.com/2009/07/delhi-amristsar-and-chandigarh.html#ixzz0h36XCAIi