Brisbane2Bristol

On our great adventure

Golden Temples and High kicks…

We were very sad about leaving the peaceful town of McLeod Ganji, there was was still more that we wanted see, but time is getting away from us and we have Pakistan to get through yet.
Thankfully the rain had kept away for our onward journey, but then again it may have been nice to have some cooling rain as we descended, heading back down the twisting narrow roads, passing the army barracks along the way, we saw many solders out for a morning run… waving as we rode past.
As we headed towards the plains you could feel the heat rising …

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We needed to stop to take a layer of clothes off and get a drink.
The ride wasn’t too bad, just uncomfortable…riding through the towns slowed you right down, which In turn made us sweat like never before.
When we were about an hour away from Amritsar… which is the spiritual centre for the Sikh religion.
Suddenly I noticed some big black clouds… Great a Storm is coming it will cool us down!

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We rode on for a while and the storm got closer…
Then the heavens opened with sand not rain…
Yuk a sandstorm, making visibility hard we pressed on. We were now filthy, filthier than we were before, the sand was now stuck to us lol…

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Entering the blue-skied city of Amritsar we left the sandstorm behind, and headed for McDonald’s as by this time we were pretty hungry and we wanted some relief in the air-con…

Back on the bike we pulled up under a tree to make sure we were heading in the right direction, just then a car pulled up in front of us, an Indian guy got out the car and said he noticed our Queensland number plates and went on to mention that he’s a taxi driver in the area of Tamborine mountain (which isn’t too far from where we live) he’s in Amritsar visiting his family.
He asked us where we were staying and he kindly showed us the way to Cantonment!
Leaving us at the gate of Mrs. Bhandari’s Guest House .

Getting off the bike feeling exhausted and dirty, we rang the bell and were let in to a massive concreted yard, which was surrounded by what looked like old stables/sheds for animals… which was over shadowed by a magnificent ivy clad house amongst lush green lawns and beautifully tendered flower gardens.

Parking the bike we grabbed our bags and were taken to our room, there were rows and rows of rooms in an L shape, much like army barracks and beside the Barracks was a grassy area where the resident buffalos graze!
Our room was spotlessly clean and set up like ‘grandmas’ house, very cozy
and very old fashioned with a massive bathroom….

We were told that we wouldn’t need to turn the hot water on, as the cold water is hot…
He was right it was scorching hot.
We were left in peace to get cleaned up… Feeling human again we took a walk around the grounds of the Guest House.

The gardens were beautiful, with the most magnificent scented roses in the garden all being tendered to by the owner’s maids and two extremely cute puppies…
We thought we were the only people staying here at first then as we walked towards the swimming pool we noticed an old camper van from Switzerland…
A lovely couple (sorry guys can’t remember your name’s) and their lovely son Michel, a very bright boy of 4 years old who spoke very good English, much better than his parents…
His parents informed us that Michel talk to other people in English and not tell them people were talking about lol.
With the assistance of Michel we checked out the pool…
It was huge and spotlessly clean… Finally a pool we can use…. Back to our room to change and off for a relaxing swim…
Even though we had just had a shower the pool was just too hard to resist…
After a long relaxing swim we retired to bed for an early night.

The following morning we were up and out early got a auto rickshaw to take us to the Golden Temple, but before we follow the crowds, we needed a real coffee, with the coffee fix sorted we then walked the short distance to the temple you didn’t need signs to tell you where to go, just followed the masses of crowds.
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No shoes are allowed in the temple area, but you can leave them at a secure shoe locker room, staffed by lots of chatting women.
You then walk bare foot on a wet smelly carpet towards a magnificent entrance, but before you walk up the marble steps of the entrance you will then walk through a shallow pool of water, then once you have covered your head (men as well) your bags then get searched, now you can enter the Golden temple area, this temple attracts up to 100,000 people a week and was built by the fifth Sikh guru, Guru Arjan, In 1604.
The gold plated Gurdwara is surrounded by a large lake or holy tank, known as the Sarovar, which consists of Amrit (holy water or immortal nectar).

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Around the edge of the lake lay marble pathways covered walking mats so you don’t burn your feet on the scorching hot marble tiles, next to the walkways are pavilions with people sitting under the fans trying to keep cool, there were a few people in the holy lake…
There is no swimming allowed its purely for holy reasons, dunking yourself in the water and praying was what most people did, women have their own area for ‘dunking’ but you cannot see this as its in a private water pavilion located at one side of the lake.

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This place is amazing, once again we can hardly believe we are here, this has been another place in India that we have longed to visit, and now we are here, this is a dream come true for us.
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We again like most of our India trip were asked to pose for photos, the Indians get so excited when you agree to a photo with them, they are delightful people and so pleased that we are visiting their country.

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We succumbed to the heat and sat under a pavilion watching, listening people praying before heading back to the Guest House for a welcome swim, and maybe a little snooze before dinner.
The following day we needed some supplies and went in search of a supermarket, as the small local shops don’t offer much choice…so off to the mall (four in fact) we came out disappointed there only seems to be a few shops that had anything in them the rest were empty! Everyone must shop at the one of the many tiny local shops or markets…

That afternoon we had arranged to get a taxi with the Swiss couple and their son Michel from the guest house and go to the Wagah Border Closing ceremony.

The ceremony is a ‘lowering of the flags’ ceremony and is a daily military tradition that the security forces of India (Border Security Force) and Pakistan (Pakistan Rangers) have conjointly followed since 1959.
We left the guest house at 4pm, it was stinking hot and the taxis AC didn’t seen to work very well, once at the border we all got out the car and raced to the closest water vender lol

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This guy was selling ice lollies freshly made from this…

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Waiting for the gates that lead to the ceremony stand wasn’t open and we had to wait it out with the fast growing crowd, we were by the gates and people were pushing from the back and we were getting squashed, the guards didn’t seem to care though.
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Once let through it was a mad rush people pushing and shoving men and women were then separated as you have to be searched, myself and other tourists were a bit shocked at how the female soldiers were treating the females in the line, pushing and shoving them…
When it was our turn to be searched the females soldiers were very nice and welcomed us to the ceremony!
i’m not sure how many people the stadium held, but the place was overflowing… Tourists get to have their own area.

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People were still flocking in by the dozen even up to the last minute before the ‘show’ started, the crowds were all chanting ‘India is great’ the atmosphere was fantastic even if we were all squashed like sardines lol?

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We could see down the road into the Pakistan area that they only had a small crowd in their stadium.

The ‘Closing ceremony’ has begun the looks on the 7 foot tall guards faces were full of hatred and so serious…the speed that the ‘goose’ steps was incredibly fast and looked so funny that we found it hard to keep a straight face.

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Once the gates between the two countries get ‘slammed’ shut to show is over, to stop the crowds from stampeding the guards hold a rope across road and no one could go passed, but unfortunately the crowds from the back were pushing forward, so much so an old guy fell forward into a guard who then processed to knock him to the ground with a stick, we were gob smacked, I couldn’t believe what just happened, it left a sour note for the end of our fantastic journey of India.

We have had an amazing fantastic journey of India and met so many wonderful Indian people even though we have seen only a tiny piece of India… one day we will return to continue our Indian journey, India really is INCREDIBLE.

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Next country on our list is Pakistan…

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2 thoughts on “Golden Temples and High kicks…

  1. Rachel on said:

    Ollie liked your pictures, he wants to swim in the holy water too.

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