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Published: February 5th 2007
The Golden Temple
By night, highlighting the glow of the golden dome, gilded with 750kg of pure gold.
Ive made my way through the state of Punjab (and i can't get that sonf out of my head, Punjabi...!!!) to the sacred town of Amritsar, the beating heart of the Sikh religion. Here sits the Golden Temple, a beautiful compound shielded from the grimy alleys and streets surround the temple outside. The Golden Temple is the most holiest of shines in the Sikh religion, visitors must remove shoes, wash there feet and wear head scarves (orange isn’t really my color but is the most sacred color), and walk around the marble walkway surrounding the pool in a clockwise direction. What you notice hear compared to many other places is the spiritual natural of the location, everyone is welcoming and for the first time in India, no one asks for money, no one. What’s also amazing here is the fact that the temple has a kitchen that feeds up to 30,000 people a day, free! All people that eat, are required to work some part along the kitchen line, weather its cooking, cleaning or supervision, the idea is that everyone works as a community. During the day I turned up on an extremely overcast day (or just highly visible pollution), so
the photographs of the temple are too impressive, but the night shots really highlight the golden dome to the Hari Mandir Sahib. It is believed that the dome is gilded with 750kg of pure gold, and is representational of an inverted lotus flower, probably worth a few bucks!
Other than the highlight of the Golden Temple, the city didn’t have too much else to offer, and I was slighted disappointed and expected more. But really the city was dirty, polluted and lack general interest. The biggest difference here is the changing in faces, you really start to notice a difference in the Punjabi people, their a damn sight taller and broader than their runty little cousins down south (must be the Pakistani in them….not sure if that’s politically correct or not). The other noticeable difference is that everyone is wearing head scarves, turbans something covering there heads , while this little, baldheaded (shaved thanks) white fella wanders the streets. I sick out like a saw thumb. I may as well have a sign on my head saying circus freak. I think it’s a rare sight here as the kids (especially) point look, laugh, they don’t know what to think.
Also got to experience Indian nationalism, that being the display of masochism and pride at the closing of the boarder ceremony in Attari and Wagah (Pakistan). Here the Indian and Pakistani military meet on the boarder at their prospective gates, the audience equally divided in stands, to watch a stomping display by the military. The drill is to parade up and down the gate, stamp you feet like a peacock on heat, huff, puff and march around trying to out-do the opposing guard. And the crowds love it. They go absolutely mad. Signing, chanting, clapping all trying to spur on their military guards and out-scream the opposing Pakistani crowds. Its hard to describe, but some what call it national pride, others hooliganism, and trust me this Indian crowd is wild. I wouldn’t want to get in the way. Anyway, different.
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