Golden Temple and crazy army actions...

Trip Start Sep 14, 2009
Trip End Sep 14, 2010

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Where I stayed
Lucky Guest House

Flag of India  , Punjab,
Thursday, September 17, 2009

We left Delhi at 6.30am to catch train to Amritsar, famous for the Golden temple as you will see in background of the profile picture of me wearing my fetching shawl..(just purchased that morning!)

Anyway this was our first train journey in India, we had pre booked aircon seater class, OH MY it was FREEZING!! could not believe how cold it got but then it is me and I get cold even in 30 degree heat so why Im surpised I do not know!!

Must say though the journey was great, we had chai, food, water and comfy seats by the window so saw all of the farmland and water buffalo the country has to offer. We both felt relief leaving Delhi I must admit the chaos of touts and hawkers just was too much to handle and so heading to Amritsar we finally felt we were starting our trip.....

Unfortunately Amristar although smaller, is still full of touts, hawkers, tour guides who have THE best offer in town despite the guy next to him selling same deal for 100 rupees less.. it was pretty chaotic.

We got on our rickshaw to our guesthouse which didnt actually drop us there, no he dropped us about a 10 minute walk away, he didnt tell us which way to go so we ended up with backpacks walking through the main bazaar God knows where we were heading in 40 degree heat.. but finally we found our hostel.

Now Ive been in a lot of hostels and I know they are a bit grim at times but this really was.. but in all fairness the owner was friendly and its only a bed for the night..

So when we had cooled down we ventured out again, found a guy offering to take us to the Attari border, which is where they have the famous closing of the border ceremony between India and Pakistan. Now this is a HUGE deal up there, there were literally thousands of people there cheering, dancing, waving flags, saluting.. all in preparation for the Indian Army to start strutting their stuff.

Loud music bellows out and crowds cheer and dance and the army guys, there were about 10 of them adjust their long french like moustaches and then what I can only explain as a John Cleese impression march up to the border gate throw their legs as high as what the limitations of a mans groin area will allow only to be met by the Pakistani boys doing the same, it is hilarious... I swear I have not seen a man trot, skip and kick all in one go!! I dont have the camera here but I will upload the pics maybe tomorrow for you to see but still it doesnt do it justice..

These guys do this for 20 mins or so and basically try to out do eachother with kick height ability.. hilarious.. And the crowd, you would think they have never seen such a thing like us Goras but they go all the time.. so passionate, not quite like HRH changing of the guard/colours... I think we should have stands and bangra dancers in London, would make it so much more interesting.. Oh and the mighty tashes would be a sight to see too.

After such a comical night we got back to our hostel by about 9.30pm after the van carrying 8 of us but is in fact one of those rascal vans, you know the really small delivery things.. was a bit sweaty to say the least..note -  health and safety doesnt exist in India! Neither do white lines on the roads, they just drive any side they see fit and if something is coming its a game of chicken each time.. but they really are pretty good drivers, touch wood!!

Anyway so after a sleep with the bed bugs (yes they were there!) we went to the Golden Temple.. it is an amazing place, very serene and so so clean, its huge, the temple sits in the middle of the "nectar" lake where sikhs bathe and cleanse themselves, around this is a huge white structure, incredible with marble pathways leading you around, its a sight that everyone should see and so quiet despite the chaos of the world just outside. We didnt have long there though as we had decided to make a move that night to Jaipur.. so we washed our feet, hands and threw some water in my face did a quick walk around the temple site and took some pictures, and some of the young boys took pictures of me posing with them.. this happens alot.. very odd.. probably being put up as a mail order bride or something on the internet to all those young guys who want to get into the UK.. Oh dear..

Our train left Amritsar at 6pm that evening, we were in sleeper class... this is basically flat, hard beds in with many other people, no aircon just fans, few cockroaches and some very interesting toilets.. 15 hours of this was to come... will let you know what happened next time..

Will post some pics from Amritsar tomorrow..

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