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The Indian Experience - Amritsar

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After spending three nights in Delhi, I took an early train leaving at 7am from Delhi up to Amritsar. Although this journey could have been done much quicker by plane I decided that it would be more fun and a better overall experience to ride the Indian railways.

The real Indian trains

The real Indian trains


'First Class'

'First Class'

As this was India, it meant that the eight hour journey could be done in First Class with food for just £17. Bargain! And as we passed typical Indian train with locals clinging on to the sides, I didn't even feel like I missed out on the true experience! - despite the fellow travellers in my carriage being tourists and wealthy Indians.

Arriving at Amritsar

Arriving at Amritsar

Arriving at Amritsar station, and trudging my way through some slummy and disgustingly dirty areas I eventually made my way to my posh hotel, where the doors were once again opened for me. I had a lovely modern room and most importantly a western toilet! - Just in case.

For my stay in Amritsar I had only a few bits planned. As I was going back to work the morning after I arrived back home I felt it would be a good idea to take the last few days easy, and so all I had to see was the Golden Temple (both by day and by night), and the border ceremony.

Originally I had planned to see the border ceremony today, and then take my time tomorrow enjoying the Golden Temple, however as my train was delayed it seemed a bit too much of a rush to see the ceremony - for which I would need to arrive in good time, and therefore I thought I would just see the temple by night.

With my head covering at the Golden Temple

With my head covering at the Golden Temple

Leaving towards the temple it was still pretty light and after dropping my shoes and socks off, and donning a head covering, I arrived at the complex in daylight. With a quick walk through the water pool to clean my feet I had entered the complex, and began to proceed around the most holy sight in Sikhism, viewing the truly stunning Golden temple around the holy pool of water. With the chanting of the reading of the Guru Granth Sahib, and Sikhs immersing themselves in the water, the craziness of the outside world had been quickly forgotten.

Close up of the Golden Temple artwork

Close up of the Golden Temple artwork

From the entrance, the temple itself is around three-quarters of the way around the complex, and everyone is allowed to enter it. Although the whole complex is made out of marble, the temple itself is coated in gold, and the intricate design of this gold becomes highly visible as you near its entrance.

The Causeway by day

The Causeway by day

After waiting in a short queue I then made it across the causeway inside the Golden Temple itself, where the Guru Granth Sahib was being read whilst Sikhs sat in prayer. Again, another amazing experience. Returning towards the complex, I avoided the food on offer and made my way back to collect my shoes. I then bought a souvenir model of the temple, before visiting the Jallianwala Bagh memorial park - scene of a deadly massacre in 1919.

Moving topiary at Jallianwala Bagh

Moving topiary at Jallianwala Bagh

With it now being just over half an hour before sunset, I figured I might as well get some food and hang about to witness the temple in night time tonight, rather than coming back tomorrow.

I went to the McDonald's, but found that unlike the others in India that served chicken (of course there was no Pork or Beef), this one was a Vegetarian one! Great for a carnivore like me....Eating the veggie burger I had selected was a most disgusting experience when I witnessed the solid pea inside, and I ended up throwing half of my dinner away, instead just sitting around bored and waiting for sunset. Never did I think I'd be put off of McDonald's...

The Golden Temple by night

The Golden Temple by night

After it had got dark I made my way back to the Temple, and proceeded to repeat the same activities I had done an hour or so previously - including taking photos of the Temple in exactly the same position. With Amritsar being located in the far north of India, and it being a particularly cold snap in mid-January, the temperature this evening had already dropped to just 4˚C. Which when walking around bare feet on cold marble can be quite gruelling. However despite this it was still a magical experience to witness the temple lit up in all its glory.

The Causeway at night

The Causeway at night

After making my way back to the hotel I was absolutely exhausted. Although I made the most of the hot water for the shower and the heating before taking a well earnest rest - all I had left now was the border ceremony...right?

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Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in India Tagged temple shrine war sikhism indianexperience Comments (0)

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