The Gold of India

India is quite famous for its gold… or maybe it is that many women wear all their gold. But for me, gold will be always important because of the Golden Temple.

It’s all about Amritsar, a city close to the Pakistan border whose population is 65% Sikh.

The Golden Temple is a famous Sikh temple in the city. We went twice to get the full effect of the night and sunlight.

The Golden Temple at night

In order to enter, all must cover their head and take off their shoes. The reason for covering your head is to make you an equal among others, something that strives in Sikhism which is different from the caste system of the Hindu religion.

The Golden Temple and me

People praying

Before entering you must wash your hands and feet. Which ends up being a good thing as many worshipers kiss the ground when they enter, and the doorways of every single room of the temple.

Cleansing of the feet

Every night, they have a ceremony to bring the Holy Book back to its resting place.

At one point, the line waiting to get in all sat down and sang Holy songs

Bring the Holy book - led by orange flags for peace

During the day, many people visit the Temple.

The Golden Temple at day

Bare feet in India

All religions are welcome to pray and take in a meal. The kitchen serves around 40,000 meals a day, double that on weekends.

The line of people getting handed dishes for food

Making nan

Volunteers cutting vegetables

Making Soup

We also visited a Hindu Temple that day.

The Hindu Temple

Making carvings into marble

When placed around you, these flower necklaces bring good luck

My sister Brittany and I with one of the Hindu gods

As well as Jallianwala Bagh public garden which was the site of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. In 1919, Indians held a non-violent protest against British rule but found themselves locked in the park and getting fired on by British troops.

Some of these pictures were taken by my sister as I went shoe shopping. Seriously.

The garden

Bullet Holes

Telling the stories

Monument in the garden

Reminders of the massacre

My sister Brittany also really wanted tea.

Sacks of tea

Shoeshine boys who would not stop bugging us at the tea market

Our final Amritsar adventure was a trip to the Waka border between Pakistan and India. Every night they hold a closing ceremony where Pakistani and Indian soldiers meet at the middle of the border, look each other in the eye and close the gate. It is to symbolize the peace between the two nations who have a history of violence.

You could not bring in anything but a camera and cell phone, hence the handy lockers

Monument at opening

People in the stands

Indian border guards

The kicked high

Kicking at each other

Marching toward border gate

Lowering of the flags

We were seated in the foreigner section which is nice because they are trying to be accommodating but a huge pet-peeve of mine.

Foreigners section

Sometimes I think that people forget that foreigners are just people not from India, and lots of countries in the world do not like each other. Start: yelling match between an American and French man.

Some other tidbits/observations about India:

  • No one thinks my Mom, is in fact my Mom. They keep referring to her as ‘your friend’. I think she may like it.
  • Since Cows are sacred to Hindus, they roam the streets like gods. I mean in other countries cattle roam the streets but it’s usually to transport them. Here, they just roam, sit and eat what they like.
  • People always want something from you. I felt like in other countries I’ve visited, people do answers your questions with the intent of helping you. Here it is generally because they want your money.
  • People love taking my families’ photograph. At least five times a day, someone comes up and asks me to be in their photo with them. I’ve been in like, large extended family pictures where they kept rotating who was taking the photo.

3 thoughts on “The Gold of India

  1. alyssa it looks like you are having a beautiful adventure! Sounds like you are learning a lot about peace and serentity! mixed in with crazy! I can’t wait to hear more stories!

  2. Well we will miss you on Christmas Eve, but you are having an experience of a life time and that is great. I am busy shopping and cooking, and thant God I have Susie to clean my house. Not too much snow and the weather has been absolutley beautiful. Nice you are taking laits of pictures, enjoying them very much. Have a Merry Christmas. and you are in our hearts. Lov mom and Grandma.

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