Saturday, December 10, 2016

Travel Amritsar, Northern India: Golden Sikh Temple, India-Pakistan border

I'm in Northern India but wifi is slow and I'm unable to blog regularly. I am able to post in Facebook, so please check my FB account.  And please check back here in this blog for updates.  I'm on a great trip to India, visiting places such as Amritsar, Dharamshala, Shimla, Chandigarh, Goa, and Hyderabad.

For now here are some pictures taken at the Golden Sikh temple in Amritsar.

I had visited Amritsar years ago with some girlfriends but this time I was able to see more. The guide in this visit was more thorough and, unlike the other (our driver/guide) who just dropped us off in front of the Golden Sikh Temple, this one accompanied us in and made sure L and I went inside the main part with their sacred book.  We also saw the kitchen where volunteers worked to feed for free anyone who wanted to eat or have tea at the temple.

The Golden Sikh Temple is something like the Vatican and St. Peter's and people prayed hard, kissed even the steps of the main altar. They washed in the holy water, where once upon a time a leper was cured. (I thought of the healing water of Lourdes, and wondered about sacred waters - topic for another blog entry sometime.)

Sikhs have five rules or "Ks" which are: Kesh (uncut hair), Kangha (a wooden brush for the hair), Kara (a metal bracelet), Kachera (a type of undergarment) and Kirpan (a dagger).

(I misunderstood our guide when he pronounced "Ks" as "Kids" (or i heard "kids"). When he said, or I heard, "The Sikhs adopt five kids..." my eyes lit up and thought what wonderfully kind people they are to take in five orphans as their own. When L pulled me back from where I had mentally gone, I almost felt disappointed.)

We visited the Temple in the daytime, and we returned in the evening for the ceremony of putting the holy book to bed.  A palanquin was decorated and into this was laid the holy book. This was carried across the way to another building to house it overnight. 

In the Amritsar area we also went to the India-Pakistan border for the lowering of the flag ceremony. Every visitor to this event was inspected and frisked, and your passport was scrutinized. The visitors sat in a stadium, right at the border where there was a gate for India, a gate for Pakistan, and the Pakistani stadium as well with their spectators. From the Indian side, whcih I could see better, there were parades of waving students and other possibly important personalities. The military had well-decked members goose-step toward the gates, and with hand/arm gestures, showing Pakistan who was better, stronger, and more cool.  Two Sikhs military men, tall, handsome, holding machine guns, appeared with sun glasses and their long hair streaming down their backs --- what a sight to behold!  The Indian crowd went wild! (I have to get the Border pictures up in this blog, so check back.  I did not get a good picture of these soldiers with long hair, but will later post what I have.)

The ceremony took around half an hour with the Indian spectators chanting nationalistic slogans and clapping wildly at the posturings of their military (men and women alike).

The Pakistani side did the same thing, and in fact the Indian and Pakistani soldiers goosestepped in unison when they performed in front of their respective gates.

To top it all a stray dog twice wandered into the middle of all the machism and a soldier had to break rank to shoo him away.


I'll blog when I can, and I'll be adding pictures to this entry, so check back.  More from this fascinating place --- India!

Read also
         Travel Goa, Portuguese India
          Hill Stations Dharamsala and Shimla
          YouTube Wagah Attari Border ceremony 
   This is all for now,

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