Sharing little chunks of my experience as I head out to Ludhiana with the IBM Corporate Service Corps

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sunny Sunday (part 1)

Sunday morning we left early for Amritsar, about 140 km on the Grand Trunk Road (ETA approximately 2.5 hours). After our previous experience driving out to Chandigarh, we decided to hire a very big bus... it's survival of the "biggest" on the roads here, and it's also much more comfortable. The ride out was quite nice and uneventful, though it was rather cold in the bus (no heater, just like in the buildings).

That's one way to keep warm on a bike
We had to park the bus out of the way, and reach the Golden Temple in yet another new transportation method.

Surprisingly fast
The outskirts of the Temple were very crowded, and there were construction work all around. We had to remove our shoes and socks (the marble floor was freezing), cover our heads, wash our hands and walk through a basin to clean our feet.... and all of a sudden it appeared in front of us.

First encounter
In all its splendor

The Golden Temple as seen above is only part of the whole complex, it is set in the middle of an artificial lake (square shape) which is surrounded by a large white building. There are four entries, one on each side of the square building, which have no doors : the temple is always open and everyone is welcomed anytime of the day or night.

The Golden Temple was originally built in the 16th century, but destroyed several times by various invaders and rebuilt each time. The actual Temple dates back to the mid 18th century. It is a holy place for the Sikhs.

I read his turban is 30 meters long.. must have a strong neck
We walked around the lake which contains the "immortal nectar" and headed for the bridge leading to the central building. All the while the hymns and prayers being sang and read in the temple could be heard on loud speakers.

Alternate view
Last picture before entering the Temple
Since pictures were not allowed in the Temple, you'll just need to come see for yourself if you want to know what treasures it holds  ;o)

We had lunch in the community kitchen, a place were they serve up to 100,000 free meals a day, and all this is possible because of all the volunteers that help out every day. You have to imagine a great hall with hundreds, maybe thousands of people siting in lines with a metal plate in front of them, and the helpers go around serving you out of large metal buckets with a big scoop. We had three different soup type of foods with bread and a bowl of water, nothing fancy but not bad at all considering the amount these people need to make every day.

Not the best picture but we had very little time to finish our meal, many were waiting their turn outside
A glimpse of the kitchen where the volunteers were peeling potatoes

Unfortunately, we didn't have much time to see the rest of Amritsar, we had to get going to be on time for the famous Wagah border ceremony...

1 comment:

  1. J'aime ton commentaire sur le turban, je me suis dit la même chose en voyant la photo !