Postcards from Amritsar
Amritsar will always be one of my most favorite cities in the world. A beautiful home of Harmandir Sahib more commonly known as The Golden Temple and amazing people with unique traditions and cultural beliefs.
It’s utterly beautiful at sunsets and sunrises, when the lake in the middle of which it is situated colors pink, bronze and golden. Just like on the picture above.
Being the most important shrine of the Sikhs the temple draws travelers and pilgrims from all over the world, yet staying serene and calm.
Everyone is asked to keep their shoes off and stored them in a separate cameras. In India, you’d be asked to take your shoes off at most temples and monuments, especially the Taj Mahal, the Lotus Temple in Delhi or Mahatma Gandhi Memorial.
Both women and men should have their heads covered either with a shawl or a bright orange bandanna. As well, dress appropriately. No shorts for men or dresses for women.
You are not allowed to carry anything sharp, cigarettes, alcohol or meat. It is considered offensive.
There’s a free canteen at the temple ran by the volunteer and supported by donations where you will be warmly welcomed and treated with simple, yet delicious food. Just grab a tray, sit down on the floor next to the smiling locals and wait till one of the volunteers come to your row and serves you food.
The Golden Temple is probably one of the best places for taking portrait pictures. Sikhs have a very peculiar way of getting dressed and the men look gorgeous with long bushy beards, colorful turbans and matching shirts.
There are 5 attributes of faith that each baptized Sikh should wear all the time. Also know as panj kakaar/kakke or the 5 Ks.
- Kesh: long hair for men that is never cut and worn hidden under the turban
– Kanga: a wooden comb carried everywhere in the folds of the clothing
– Kara: a heavy metal bracelet worn around the wrist by men and women that symbolizes the eternity
– Katchera: specially tailored plain cotton undergarments worn by women and men
– Kirpan: an iron dagger or a full length curved sward the men carry.
I’ve particularly like the elderly man who spent the day sitting in the shadows near the lake with eyes half-closed, meditating or just thinking of some far and unknown things I’d probably never understand…
Of details and insides
The temple is covered with beautifully ornamented golden plates and marble with gem stones instructed. The patterns vary from side to side.
In the heart of the temple, an orchestra plays religious melodies and chanting 24/7. It is also transmitted on the local channel 24/7. You can go deeper inside and sit down anywhere on the thick red carpet. The people are friendly here and no one will judge of who you are and what you believe in.
Wander around the second floor and go to the open roof where a beautiful view opens at the surrounding white marble buildings. You can still hear the chanting from the inside, so just sit back and relax for a little while. Close your eyes and let the magic of this place soak into you.
Harmandir Sahib is utterly beautiful at the day time and at night when hundreds of lights make it sparkle over the dark surface of the lake. I’ve spent the whole day wandering around the place and couldn’t get enough of it.
I hope one day, you will travel to see the beauty of this place with your own eyes.