A GOLDEN TRIP OF A LIFETIME – AMRITSAR
It has been quite long that I posted on my blog. I was busy travelling to many places and kept on shuttling between New Delhi and Bangalore. There are some memorable and exciting memories associated with these trips and I plan to blog about it now and then beside recipes. We all know Amritsar is famous for the Golden Temple, Jallianwala Bagh, and the Wagah Border but did you know it is equally famous for its cuisine, rich culture, and traditions? Well, as we explored and wandered through the historic city, I learnt many new things, met with new people, and captured some beautiful pictures to last with me for a lifetime.
It was a long while that we went anywhere for a vacation and I was doubly happy as my mother and brother along with his family joined us. My husband is presently posted in New Delhi and so we took an afternoon Shatabdi train which runs from New Delhi to Amritsar from New Delhi Railway Station. It was a fun experience on the train that I shared with my niece, nephew, and my daughter. We reached our destination around 10.30 pm that night and had our dinner which was served to us in the train itself. With much excitement with what morning would have in store for us, we had a good night’s sleep at the hotel reserved beforehand.
Morning brought with it much cheer and the good mood to see and explore places. First stop was to the famous Jallianwala Bagh Massacre site which was a 10 minute drive from our hotel. The Jallianwala Bagh is the place where thousands of Indian civilians were mercilessly killed by Reginald Edward Harry Dyer on April 13th 1919. Since it was a festive day for the Sikhs, people from all communities had gathered there.
Without warning the crowd to disperse, the general shot at the people, thus killing almost everyone. You can see the walls which are pierced with bullet marks even now. In the mishap that followed, people ran here and there and some jumped into the well, one over the other, and died. After watching all these places we also saw an Amar Jyoti or a continuously burning torch of light in memory of these people. Also, there is a huge Museum where pictures depicting the incidents are portrayed on the walls.
Next stop was at the famous Golden Temple. It is also called Darbar Sahib or Harmandir Sahib. It is the holiest Gurudwara and the pilgrimage abode of theSikhs. The temple is built over a man made pool and was completed by Guru Ram Das in 1577. This shrine is visited by communities of all faiths and castes. It has four entrances and has a circumambulation path around the four sides. This has been nominated as a UNESCO Heritage Site. This shrine has a Langar, i.e. a community free kitchen that serves food to all its visitors round the clock.
After visiting this shrine we had lunch at the Brother’s Dhaba a few paces away from the temple. A little rest break later at the hotel, we set out again for the most delightful part of our journey, the Wagah Border. We took a car that took us directly to the border. After many security check-ins, we were finally asked to be seated in our respective places to witness the proceedings. Wagah is a small village located in the Wagah Zone of Lahore, Punjab in Pakistan. Upon the partition of India and Pakistan, border demarcation line was drawn between the two countries. On the Indian side is the town Attari which is the last station that falls en route the train from New Delhi to Lahore. Two hours before sunset each day, the Wagah-Attari border ceremony takes place. The flag ceremony is conducted by the Pakistani rangers and from India, the Border Security Force conducts it. We had special passes arranged by husband and it was a treat to the eyes and ears. Many patriotic songs were sung and jawans marched from this side to that side. It was a memorable evening which can never be forgotten. After it was over, we set out to our hotel, had our dinner, and soon were on our way back to New Delhi by Sleeper coach Bus.
The trip was special in many respects. We had our vacation after a very long time and it was most enjoyable as everyone felt the same. And heart of hearts I wish if I had another opportunity, I would really visit this Golden place once again.