We planned to go to Amritsar on the bus the day after arriving in the temple. And Baba Ji’s helpers/temple keepers insisted on helping us get there, we were relieved. Travelling in India is to quote the locals ‘not possible’.
We ended up getting a car to Amritsar and back to the temple for the equivalent of about £50. Expensive but worth it. The journey was so easy, it saved us time (so we could get down to the beach a bit sooner) and we didn’t have to pay for accommodation in Amritsar, a dirty town with little to do.
We arrived at about 10am and went straight to the Golden Temple. Thousands of pilgrims make the trek to this impressive monument each day, alongside hundreds of tourists like us.
To be honest, whilst it was a big temple made out of a lot of Gold, we felt a bit awkward being there. This is a working temple. This is a place where people come to pray for their loved ones. And we were just having a look. Somehow our being there felt a little intrusive.
We didn’t spend long there and headed to the museum just down the road. It’s a tribute to hundreds of protestors who were murdered there by a British officer. Just before the British left India, he ordered his men to shoot down thousands of protestors, just because they wanted independence.
If you’re in the area I recommend you take a look… although if you’re western you might feel a bit awkward inside the museum. Once you’re in the garden though, you’re back to being a celebrity and having your photo taken by many Indian tourists.
After that we hit the road again and headed north to the India/Pakistan border. Here we would see the greatest border closing ceremony in existence*.
Soldiers raise their legs as high as their heads and bring them crashing down to the ground in a powerful stomp. Arms are saluted, legs are raised and cheers rise from the audience.
It’s The Ministry of Silly Walks. It’s a sight. It’s a really funny sight. We were ushered in a special tourist section, I think in case we made a joke about supporting Pakistan (Tim!) and got mobbed by the crowds.
All in all it was a great day out followed by some terrifying driving back to the white temple where we knew we weren’t intruding. We’re glad we didn’t stay longer in Amritsar though, because Amritsar itself is a bit rubbish**.
**in our humble opinion.