Postcards from Amritsar

posted on May 27th 2014 in Blog & India & Photo Postcards with 28 Comments

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.

How to dress in the Golden Temple

Bare-foot, knee, head and shoulders covered.

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.

Food in Golden Temple

Meal Companions

Of People

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…

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Sikhs

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.

Golden Temple India

Golden Temple Outside

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.

Golden Temple At Night

I hope one day, you will travel to see the beauty of this place with your own eyes.

  • Beautiful pics. I being Sikh myself and born in Punjab never had opportunity to visit Harmandir Sahib in my early years. It was quite a experience when I visited recently and felt very emotional and at peace with myself. Feeling is quite hard to describe. Simply divine. Tears rolled down my eyes..

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  • Gorgeous photos! India is calling to us – hopefully we can visit some day…

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    • Thank you, Janice! You definitely should. The country has so much amazing things to check out!

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  • Gorgeous photos! India has never really been a place that I’ve wanted to go, but these pictures are sure changing my mind. I’ve heard plenty of great things about the Golden Temple. Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler!

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    • Thank you, Adelina! Yes, it’s an absolutely amazing place and as bonus it’s easy to get from Amritsar to the border with Pakistan in Wagah where they held amazing board closing ceremonies each day with music, dancing and so on :)

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  • Woweeee what photos! And it’s so great to see someone talk about India like this, made me think that it’s not like I had thought. Super thanks for linking up with us for #SundayTraveler

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    • Thank you, SJ! It was great to catch up with so many awesome people on #SundayTraveler :)

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  • Hi Elena….Its a nicely written blog with awesome pictures…just one correction, in fourth paragraph you refer to the Taj Mahal as a temple, its not a temple its a monument built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

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    • Hi Dhaldar, thank you so much for pointing that issue! Probably, lost my thought when I was writing that sentence. Just corrected that!

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  • Gorgeous photos….I’ve never been to that part of India. It looks just beautiful.

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    • Corine, thank you! Guess, you need a life to travel all around India and see all the amazing places it has to offer you :)

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  • Amritsar and the Golden Temple is one of my favourite places on Earth. I really hope I get to go there again one day – I’ve been three times but it’s not enough.

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    • Three times?! Lucky you! The temple has this unique charm that makes you come back again and again :)

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  • Just stunning photos! Thank you so much for sharing. I admit I’m a little intimidated by India…but your photos certainly inspire me! I think I will make it there, someday.

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    • Thank you, Amy :) India’s definitely worth a visit, but my advice is to travel with someone who’s been to the country already for the 1st time or at least ask to help planning your itinerary and recommend a few nice guest houses.

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  • Thank you so much, Camille! It’s so pleasant to know that my stories and pics inspire someone and make discover new things and places! Thanks much for your feedback, again :)

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  • I just love your blog, I’m always learning and discovering new places that I didn’t even know about!and that picture of you at the temple is gorgeous! …actually all your pictures are beautiful! Thanks for sharing :)

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  • Wow – how amazing. I would love to go. That's really interesting that there is a free canteen.

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  • Your portraits are just stunning! They look like something you’d see in a travel magazine.

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    • Thank you, Sophie. The locals don’t mind being photographed. Just ask politely and thank afterwards :)

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  • Wow the picture of the temple at night, beautiful. I love how you describe the individuals and the culture, such an interested post thanks for sharing!

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    • Thank you, Kiki! Yes, the place is beautiful at any time of the day…and when the illumination lights up it gets absolutely stunning :)

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  • Your pictures look unreal, so stunning!!!! I also love how you describe the local culture. Very informative! I always wanted to go to India but the more I got to know of the country, the more I became afraid of visiting, especially as a solo female traveller but maybe one day…..

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    • Thank you, Van! Well, I’d say India is safer than it’s often talked about. Though I’ve been traveling in a mixed group of guys and gals, we often hanged out as girls-only even late in the evening and it was safe. As for traveling solo to India – the country can be overwhelming at first. Cows walking in the streets, crazy traffic of cars, rickshaws and motobikes, all honking, crowds and people always paying attention to you because you’re European. (and often asking for pictures with you). Most people have these love/hate relationships with the country and you really need a few days/weeks to get accustomed of the local lifestyle.

      In case you haven’t been anywhere to Asia yet, I won’t recommend going solo to India at first. Try visiting Malaysia or Indonesia or find a travel mate to accompany you, watch your stuff and help coping with all sort of adventures you’ll have :)

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    • yeah I definitely imagine India to be overwhelming but I’ve heard multiple times now that Malaysia is a good destination for Asia newbies. I definitely keep that in mind for when I have the money to finally visit another continent ;)

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  • Wow, these photos are absolutely stunning. I love the photo of the man with the light turban who is sitting on the orange blanket. National Geographic material right there. :) This looks like such a great experience. xx Jen @ Food, Love, Life Blog

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    • Thank you, Jen! Wow, National Geographic – sounds pretty ambiguous to me :) What was interesting about that man is that he had pale blue eyes. It’s an uncommon fact for Indians, yet I’ve seen a few people like that in Amritsar. Thank you for stopping by!

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