Amritsar

Said to be made of 750 Kg of gold, the Golden Temple in Amritsar is the beating heart of Sikhism. We had to take off our shoes and step through a puddle of streaming clean water and cover our hair before entering.

The clear blues skies on the day gave the temple a gorgeous reflection in the water that surrounds it. We went inside after waiting in a patient queue and observed the singing and rhythmic beats of prayers. It made me wonder how music must be linked in with religion through our evolutionary past if one considers how main stream religions and tribes use music today, if not at least rhythm, in their prayers.

Golden Temple 1
Side view of the golden temple

Golden Temple 2
Front view of the golden temple

Golden Temple 3
Queue at the entrance

We had a free lunch there too. Donations allow food to be bought and followers to perform a selflessly free duty to feed anyone, even the poor. The dahl & rotti (lentils and flat bread) was quite tasty and filled me up.

Afterwards we went to Waga border. Here, everyday, a ceremonial lifting and bringing down the of Indian and Pakistani flags occurs right at the very border, only meters apart from each other. Surrounded by a large seating area on both sides, the crowds patriotically cheer on their nation. Tall soldiers perform with the utmost esprit de corps and lift their legs as high as their chests.

Waga Border 1
Soldiers at the border

Waga Border 2
Crowds at the evening ceremony

For dinner our taxi driver recommended a Punjabi museum/restaurant/entertainment show place that was on the road between Amritsar and Chandigarh. As we walked in a Panjabi drummer wearing a full dress was beating a loud drum that hung from his neck while a dancer spun and showed off a few moves. Inside there were clay model depicting the old village life of Punjabis, a camel ride, a Punjabi pottery maker, a Punjabi puppet show and also some live Punjabi dancers (see the video below). Bhangra music is very lively and has fantastic beats. The place was educational and entertaining at the same time. The restaurant inside served a full Punjabi village meal. The dahl, rotti, aloo rotti, paneer masala, and other items made it the best vegetarian meal I’ve had in India.