It was the second time I was visiting this sacred place of Amritsar . I was accompanied by my parents. The first trip was with my friends in which we had visited Amritsar and Chandigarh . The plan was my parents were to join me at the Delhi Airport and all three of us would then travel together to Amritsar by the next connecting flight.
As scheduled I reached on time and waited for them at the gate designated for the Amritsar departure flight. It was almost boarding time and they hadn’t reached. With every boarding pass getting scanned at the counter, my anxiety was soaring. There were two passengers left to get their passes scanned , when I could spot my parents coming and standing in the queue. I heaved a sigh of relief. All three of us boarded the flight and after settling down , my mother told me how the Air India officials were standing near the gate to guide the passengers for domestic transfers. They said they were utterly confused where to proceed when the sound of one of the officials shouting ” Flight to Amritsar” fell on their ears and they turned towards him. There were few other passengers as well with their next connecting flight to Amritsar. The flight reached on time and we boarded a cab to take us to the hotel . I had wisely selected the location at a walking distance to the temple. We had dinner and a good night’s sleep . We got up in the morning to visit the sacred ” Golden Temple”. Every time one visits the temple, a wave of calmness engulfs the person.
There were numerous counters outside for keeping the shoes and people were diligently offering services. We took a cloth to cover our heads and then proceeded towards the entrance. The most surprising thing about this place is that there is no security check for the visitors. We washed our feet at the entrance and queued up to visit the shrine. It was less crowded as compared to my previous visit and the weather was pleasant as well. There were many devotees serving water to the visitors standing in queues for the “darshan”. Gradually the queue moved forward and after some time we entered the divine shrine where the holy scripture of Sikhism , the “Adi Granth” is preserved . After the holy darshan we spent some time in the calm surroudings. The premises are very well maintained with devotees cleaning the place. Its actually a marvellous scene to see the cleanliness being maintained all around. The white marble underneath shines all the time. Every corner of the temple premises had adequate drinking water facility. We proceeded towards the Langar where lunch is served.
The Langar is another surprise to see. It is said the food in Langar is cooked so to not let any devotee remain hungry . This is one of the best examples of the generosity of human civilizations. We waited there for a few minutes and our turn came. I guess one hall has a seating capacity of around 100 people at a time. After all were seated, the devotees started serving food. I could see people holding both their palms joined together to receive the rotis. This symbolizes that one is being offered food on humble submission to the God. After Rotis, we were served Dal and then came the turn of Kheer( sweet porridge). Meanwhile a small boy was navigating the drinking water container. It was moving on wheels and he pressed the pedal on one side to let the water fill up in the glasses. It was an interesting example of basic science(principle of levers) being put to use . In 15-20 minutes, the batch of people had a sumptuous lunch and we all proceeded with our plates to the hand wash section. There were people designated to receive the tray, spoon and bowls and they were then collected in containers which was sent for cleaning.
After lunch we sat in the temple premises for a while and then visited the Jallianwala Bagh. It is just next to the temple. The historical site shows where and how the bullets were fired on the gathering of innocent Indians by the English soldiers on the direction of General Dyer . The garden has grass structures in the form of armed soldiers firing bullets. The martyr well where many people jumped to escape the bullets is preserved. That day was a black day in history. Time and again we come across incidents where humanity was crushed to death. There is a museum in the premises which has the complete history of the events . We bought a few books throwing light on the events.
As we came out of the place, the autowallahs were calling the people for Wagah Border. We were there for another two days and so we decided to take it up the next day. We returned to the hotel room and then took a nap. In the evening , we visited the lighted temple again . The beauty multiplies in the evening with the shimmering gold decorating the temple. A soothing breeze blows across the steps leading to the pool of water surrounding the temple. As we came out we could see multiple stalls on the verandah of the temple and they are very well organized. They sell various thing related to the Sikh culture. We bought a photo frame showing all the sikh gurus. The shopkeeper shared the history of all Gurus and how they have contributed in preserving humanity against all the obstacles. I was pretty impressed with the knowledge he had.
All three of us had dinner at one of the restaurants nearby and retired for the night. The next day my father got up early and went to the temple. Me and Mamma stayed in the room. He came back after two hours getting us the morning prasad served there . He had also got the Guru Granth Sahib ” the holy scripture”. He said the book is highly revered and before packing it , the person bowed his head with folded hands . This action shows the utmost respect the devotees have.
We had lunch at one of the restaurants and went to the temple. After coming out we could see autowallahs calling on the top of their voices for passengers for the Wagah Border. We decided to go. We were accompanied by 4 other co-passengers and it took almost an hour to reach. The auto stops at a distance of 1 kilometer from the border . All tourists walk up or take a rickshaw to the place. The auto stand looks like a mela. There are vendors selling balloons, India’s flags, snacks etc. We covered the distance of 1 km on foot and then got a seat at the seating arena. The seating arena was indeed huge. Indian patriotic songs were being played on full glare. That music raises your spirit. While the preparation for the parade was going on , the bus to Lahore passed amidst cheers. The parade began and both the sides raised their flags, shook hands and concluded for the day.The environment creates an experience which is unforgettable.
The next day we visited the Durgiana temple. It is a Hindu temple whose architecture replicates the Golden Temple . After spending some time there , we returned and packed our bags to depart from the holy city of ” Amritsar” ; the literal meaning is ” the tank of nectar of immortality”. My parents were awed with the way the temple premises and the administration activities being carried out flawlessly. I loved the trip as it was the first trip with my parents after joining the workforce.
With sweet memories, I thanked Sri Harmandir Sahib for providing a platform to appreciate the humanity on earth.