Amritsar and the Golden Temple

Trip Start Oct 04, 2011
Trip End Nov 28, 2011

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Flag of India  , Punjab,
Wednesday, October 12, 2011

We began our second day in Amritsar on a sobering note by visiting Jallianwalla Bagh, the site of the British army massacre of innocent Sihk worshipers.  This was captured in the movie Gandhi when General Dywer opened fire on hundreds of Sihks with their families in a close area with only one way in, through a very narrow passageway which the British had blocked.  They then opened fire on the citizens in the square killing thousands.  It is now a memorial site with walls with bullet holes.  It would have been even worse it Dwyer could fit the tank down the laneway, fortunately the tank was too wide.  As it was they fired all their ammunition into the masses.  One young boy survived the ordeal and made his life mission to make Dwyer pay.  He successful assassinated the blighter in England some twenty years later.  He hung for his efforts nine months later.  He is somewhat of a hero in the Punjab.

From here we went back to the Golden Temple to see the rest of the place outside of the temple.  It is incredible, they have some 100,000 visitors every day.  They believe that you can not worship if you are hungry so they serve food to any and all comers 24 hours a day.  Our guide told us that they feed about 4500 to 5000 people every day and even more on Sundays.  Eben was one of those feed by the Sikhs during his visit to the Temple.  They also provide housing for the homeless.  The whole place runs on donations and volunteers to prepare the food.  You can see I did my bit by making 2 or 3 Rotis, the guy beside me did about 10 or more and he was kind enough not to laugh at me, at least when I was there.

This is a very impressive place and I can understand how disturbed they were when Indra Gandhi invaded the temple.

That afternoon we went to the changing of the guard at the Wagah Border with Pakistan.  What tremendous fun to watch all the military strutting and the huge crowds of Indian observers numbering in the thousands.  There was a cheerleader working the crowd with chants (as they did on the Pakistani side but they were outnumbered and out shouted by the Indians).  Watching the high stepping guards, quick marching was great entertainment.  The whole event took about an hour.

Back to the hotel after yet another hair-raising drive on India’s less than magnificent roads.
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Alan on

Excellent post. I especially like the refresher on the hideous Dwyer and Jallianwalla Bagh, a site I somehow missed in the long-ago and faraway.

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