India: Wandering through the Golden Temple of Amritsar

Amritsar is capital of India’s Punjab province and most famous for the Golden Temple, floating in the water and glinting in the sun. This Sikh holy place is serenely beautiful and the thousands of pilgrims lining up to worship and bathe in the tanks provide a colourful atmosphere.

Golden Temple, Amritsar, India

You’ll see more turbans and beard nets than you can imagine in Amritsar and mothers coaxing their top-knotted small sons to take a dip in the tank. I was deeply impressed by their pious devotion.

Golden Temple, Amritsar, India

Despite the numbers there was never a moment when I felt overwhelmed by the press of people visiting the Golden Temple as I often did elsewhere in India.

Golden Temple, Amritsar, India

Other things to do in Amritsar, India

To be honest this is just a big, polluted city but there are a couple of other things to do in Amritsar, India, once you’ve experienced the Golden Temple.

Jallianwallah Bagh has been transformed from a waste ground to a lovely garden memorial to the victims of the 1919 British Raj-era massacre. The trees were in full bloom and families were enjoying the green space.

Amritsar, India

The border ceremony at Wagha has to be seen to be believed. And not just for the exaggerated goose-stepping silly walk competition by the India and Pakistan border guards. It’s the thousands of people who turn up to watch from the grandstands, dance in the street, rush about with their flags, chant and sing who prove the true entertainment.

Wagga, India

A strange combination of street party and stand-off. It is difficult to believe this occurs every night. This is a unique part of India that has a history of tension and violence (not least at the Golden Temple) so it is good to see that despite the posturing it seems good natured enough from the two sides.

By Natasha von Geldern

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