Asia

The Golden Temple of Amritsar and the closing of the border with Pakistan in Attari

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At four in the morning, the room service knocked on the door promptly to bring us a breakfast prepared especially for us. At six we left our flight to Amritsar, where we were going to spend a night to return to Delhi, so we left our bags at the hotel and prepared a backpack for those two days of travel.

Amritsar It is in the state of Punjab and was founded in 1577 by the fourth guru Ram Das. It is a population famous especially for housing the Golden Temple, which becomes like a mecca of Sikhism. Thus, it is a very visited temple and has incredible infrastructure.

The taxi left us at the door of the temple, where hundreds of people entered and left. To enter you have to take off your shoes and go through a footbath beforehand. You can not enter the shoes inside the temple, so there are several free shoes in the main entrances.

The bad thing about washing your feet was that it was very cold and having to go with wet feet and barefoot during the entire stay in the temple is not very pleasant. In spite of everything, we made an act of traveling faith and moved on.

The Golden Temple It is surrounded by an unpolluted white building and rises in the center of a pond in which the faithful are purified. The temple is open 24 hours and in all the enclosure you can hear the songs of the priests through the speakers.

We walked little by little over the carpet that had been placed on the marble so as not to suffer so cold feet. From time to time, some family approached us to take a picture with us, since we were the only foreigners in the whole temple, and then our feet were freezing, because as they wanted to take the picture as close to the temple as possible, we had to leave the carpet (!).

There is a marble walkway that leads inside the temple, called the gurus bridge. There were quite a few people and they just let in. When we finally entered, we saw three priests praying and people piled on the floor praying and throwing coins to the area where the priests were. We went up to the upper floor and from there we could see an aerial perspective of the area.

We just went around the enclosure and said we went out to find accommodation and have breakfast for something because we were starving. Being a place of pilgrimage, inside the temple facilities there are hostels where to sleep. There are several, but they sent us to Sri Guru Ram Das Niwas, where they have special stays for foreigners.

They showed us a room that had three beds and in one of them there was a somewhat transposed Korean. Inside the room there was a kind of cupboards to leave luggage that can be locked if one is available. We didn't have it because the chain and the lock had been confiscated at Jodhpur airport, so while Sonia kept an eye on things, I went out to see if she found a place where buy a lock to close one of the lockers in the room. Luckily, I found a shop nearby where they sold, although it is advisable to bring your own.

Once lightened in weight, we went to breakfast. Inside the temple they serve meals for free, but we prefer to go in search of a restaurant. After much searching, we just entered the Tasty Bite, which was a slightly shabby bar, but of the little we found open. We ordered a lot of food that we devoured quickly and the truth is that everything was very good.

After the feast, we went for a walk around the city. About 10 minutes walk is the Jallianwala Bagh, a park where a memorial phallic monument stands in memory of those killed during the British repressions of 1919. There were many people stretched out on the lawn, women included, and with the little sun it was doing and the exhaustion we were carrying, we decided to stretch for a while to rest.

I do not know what happened, or what we did, but after a while, people began to disappear from our side while a group of men did not stop making uproar in Hindi. It turned out that the group of men were releasing Indian nurseries and, since we did not understand anything and we were not leaving, they were increasingly encouraged. It is seen that the thing reached such a point, that another boy who was in the park got up and asked us if we could leave (very kindly), because he was afraid that the thing would get more sketchy. So we picked up the barges and left with fresh wind, but a little disgusted, really.

In the immediate vicinity of the Golden Temple and throughout the morning there are dozens of drivers who offer you the excursion to go to Attari, a border town with Pakistan where the festive closing ceremony of the border is celebrated every evening. I had read in a blog, which was a sight worth seeing, so we agreed with a driver who will take us there along with another group for 95 rupees. We left Amritsar at 2:45 p.m. in an SUV accompanied by ten other people. We were in a can of sardines during the hour of the journey.

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