Published: July 28th 2012July 18th 2012
We woke up really early, got in a taxi and headed to the airport. As were far too early to check in (and because the airport was tiny) we were asked to wait outside at 6.30am until 8.30am. Throughout this time, bus loads of Monks arrived dressed with their ceremonial hats and musical instruments etc to welcome the Dalai Lama. One Monk sat next to us and Nikki had a little chat with him, he told her that no one knew what time the Dalai lama was supposed to arrive - a surprise, i suppose. More people arrived and the whole area outside of the airport was filled with Buddhists, it was getting really hot because the sun was directly above us, but the whole atmosphere at the airport was amazing.
At 8.30am we were allowed to go inside the airport. We weren't allowed any hand luggage due to security issues, so we checked everything in. After that we saw two Finnish guys in the airport who we'd travelled with from Delhi to Srinagar at the beginning of our trip. They were getting on the same flight so we had a little chat as we waited/ The flight was delayed
- which we'd already anticipated, but we eventually got on the plane and had a nice and quick one hour flight.
We arrived at Jammu airport and as soon as we stepped off the plane the heat just hit us - like it had when we arrived in Delhi. We were back in India. Hot. Dirty. Loud. Hectic. It was over 40 degrees, so we rushed to collect our luggage and got a taxi to Jammu "bus station" - a random, unorderly queue of buses half parked on a main road. It was utter chaos. After eventually finding the bus we thought would take us to Amritsar, we were told that the bus ticket that we'd already paid for was actually for a bogus bus that didn't exist. PERFECT. To be fair, the guys selling bus tickets really helped us out. They called the place that we'd booked our tickets through, but conveniently they didn't pick up. We found out there were spare seats on the bus that was heading for Amritsar and also found out they were the equivalent to around 2.50 each for a 6 hour journey. We bought more tickets and eventually the bus left for
It was a pretty rubbish journey to be honest, compared to the others we'd had. But after a couple of stops along the way we reached Amritsar at around 7pm that evening. WE WERE BOILING. So we got a Cycle Rickshaw (after getting a little lost) and made it to our hotel. It was a basic place. but we had our own bathroom again and a really strong fan haha so it was fine. On the way we'd spotted a Domino's pizza place, so we treated ourselves to a massive pizza each with stuffed garlic bread - it was amazing. And we didn't feel guilty - at all!!
The next morning we headed out to see the Golden Temple. After trying to find something to cover Graeme's head, we handed our shoes in at the entrance and had to clean our feet by walking through pools of water before we entered. We were amazed when we saw it. A Golden Temple surrounded by water, which was surrounded by white pillars and grand white walls. A lot of men were taking a little bath in the water. We walked around twice just because it was so beautiful. On
the way around we were again asked (about 10 times) for "One snap, please?". The weird thing was, some people didn't have cameras, they asked us to take a picture with them - on our camera. We didn't even attempt to queue to see inside the Golden Temple after we'd seen the length of it and also the ridiculous stampeed that happened every time the barrier was raised for more people to enter. It was crazy, people were having to climb over the barrier because they were getting squashed.
We'd booked a shared Jeep for later that evening to see the ceremony for the closing of the border between India and Pakistan. We were a few minutes late for our driver because we were waiting for our butter Roti's to be cooked, only to have to wait another 15 minutes in the heat for a really rude Indian family to take their time ordering Chai from the tea stall down the road. We set off around 3.15pm and the driver took us to two Temples on the way, but we decided to explore the areas and walk around. The family took aaaaages. It was boiling and we weren't impressed.
Especially when the driver was speaking to them so politely and they didn't even look at him, they were horrible and rude. Anyway, we set off for the border which took around one hour. Everyone had to walk down to the ceremony area and for some reason tourists were given V.I.P seats - we didn't complain! It was like a huge stadium, with a gate between the Indian side and the Pakistani side. It was packed with people chanting and dancing and waving flags. The actual ceremony consisted of soldiers from each side marching up towards the gate, opening it and shaking hands with the soldiers from the other side, before returning to their side and closing the gate. It was all done in a very silly way, exagerrated marching and saluting and the crowd all laughed and chanted along. It felt like a cross between a football match and a pantomime. It was really good fun though, it's amazing how something serious between 2 countries who don't always get on was done in such a light-hearted way.
We left the border and headed back to the hotel. The car couldn't go all the way as the roads around
the golden temple are closed, so we had to walk a bit. Unforunately we had to walk past Domino's to get back, and we joked about going in and having pizza for the second night in a row.
Then we went in and had pizza for the second night in a row.
There are more photos below