Suitcase and World: October 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

One last lesson before saying "Goodbye India"!

Today was my last day in India and while I was sad my trip was coming to an end, I was very much looking forward to spending my last few hours here with Jyoti Agarwal. I had a full day with Jyoti which not only included cooking but also a shopping/dining outing.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Gurudwaras of Amritsar.

armandir Sahib (Golden Temple) may be the most well known of the gurudwaras in Amritsar and is what draws most Sikh pilgrims and tourists like me to the town, there are other gurudwaras that should no be missed.

I saw three others on my visit to Amritsar - Tarn Taran, Khadur and Goindwal.  Each has its own unique features and characteristics. 

The Golden Temple of Amritsar. Harmandir Sahib.

magine a building that is constructed of white marble overlaid with gold leaf and which stands in the center of pool of fresh water fed by the Ganges River. Well, imagine no more because that building exists and it is the Harmandir Sahib, otherwise known as the Golden Temple, in Amritsar.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Wagah Border Ceremony.

Ever find yourself in a situation where everyone around you knew what was going but you had no clue? Or have you ever been in an outdoor place that was so crowded that you were literally shoulder to shoulder and front to back with people all around you? If you want to have both experiences at the same time, then the Wagah Border ceremony is for you :-) In a nutshell, the Wagah Border ceremony is a 45 minute choreographed flag lowering ceremony, which officially closes the border each evening between India and Pakistan.  Troops of each country put on a show in their uniforms with their colorful turbans.  To witness the ceremony, you just have to get to Amritsar and from town, it's about 30-40 minute ride to border area where the ceremony takes place at 6:00pm every night. 

In memory of martyrs. Jallianwala Bagh.

Jallianwala Bagh is a national memorial commemorating the massacre of hundreds of unknown men, women and children that took place on April 13, 1919. The Hindi word *bagh* means *garden* in English.

In 1919, India was still fighting for its independence from Britain. Just days before the massacre took place, violent protests had broken out in the streets of Amritsar. Angry Indians were demanding the release of two popular leaders of the Indian Independence Movement. The protesters were fired on by the British military, killing several demonstrators. The firing set off a chain of violence that eventually culminated in the deaths of at least five Europeans, including government employees and civilians.

On the train. The Shatabdi Express.

When I booked my trip to Amritsar, I had two travel options on how I wanted to get there - either by private car or by train. Both journeys would have taken about the same amount of travel time - 7 hours each way. Car would have been a comfortable option. So, obviously I took the train :-)

Actually, I took the train not because I wanted to have a miserable, uncomfortable trip but I thought it would make for a good adventure. I wasn't wrong.