With limited time in Amritsar, we were up at 6 am the next day to watch the sunrise over the Golden temple. My strongest memory though is not of the glistening gold in the gentle morning light, but my icy cold feet, since as with most other religious places you must remove your shoes and socks before entering and the marble floors were freezing! Men and women also had to cover their heads, but given the temperature thpis wasn’t so much of a hardship! The Romans had under floor heating all sorted out, so why in this day and age do people have to suffer so much for their religion! Anyway enough complaining, as you can see from Geoff’s great pictures it was worth the early start and cold feet, especially as the haze obscured the view once the sun had fully risen.
So that was our first tourist attraction of the whirl wind tour in the bag and so far so good. Next on the itinerary, recommended by Jo and Andrew, the Ozzies we met in Manali was a trip to the Pakistan border at Attari to watch the closing ceremony. I expected a few people watching, but
there were hundreds. The crowd was held back until just before the main event and when ‘released’ everyone ran the half mile to the border to get the best seats - a highly amusing and unexpected international fun run. Once seated both ‘sides’ had a compeer to get the crowd going, some of public took turns in rushing up to the border gate with their country’s flag and both groups tried to out-chant the other side, with more gusto meaning more patriotism. That was all before the main event, an amazing performance of foot stamping and high speed funny walks by the guards accompanied by high volume encouragement from the crowd, with H-I-N-D-U-S-T-A-N shouted another 50 times by the Indians. With a simultaneous lowering of the Pakistani and Indian flags and a final slam of the gate, the border was closed for another day… amazing to think they do this every night. The closest I can imagine England coming to this sort of patriotism is at football matches.
With another early train the next morning it was time to head back to Amritsar, pack the rucksacks AGAIN and get some sleep.
I’m sorry to have to mention this,
but Geoff came up with what he thought was this incredibly witty cartoon idea and insists that I include it in this blog. He reckons that it would be easy to come up with some great storylines about an Indian called Stan who has moved to Midlands and he would obviously be called ‘Hindu Stan’.
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