Home > Travel > Peace and War – Amritsar

Peace and War – Amritsar


Once upon a time I went to the sacred city of Amritsar…Here is how when and where of the trip.

Neha, my sister, was going for an official trip to the city of Gurudwaras – Amritsar so me and one of my cousin sisters Tarang hitchhiked with her.

We went on a Friday evening in an eventful train journey. Though we had tickets, but they were not confirmed so the travel agent told us to go back as there was no chance of getting seats. But something was beckoning us & God was supporting us, so we just got in the train & stood by the pantry area (after cajoling the pantry boy!) and waited for someone to not come – praying silently to almighty…

And as they say “when man proposes God disposes “

We didn’t have to wait long & got seats and then it was a blissful journey with enough to eat Indian Railways generous service in Shatabdis. Reached there in night and spent the night in a luxurious hotel room with prompt room service. In the morning we had a not so good breakfast (cold milk bad service dingy dining area…I guess the staff were also night people like me!) with Sudesh Berry (the Mr Serious of romantic soap opera Kashish; recently seen in Left Right Left) & his group of friends.

Anyways we left the hotel & checked in another one (for various reasons) pushed our luggage in a new room & set out for our adventurous trip.

P.S.: Our trips are always adventurous coz we manage to do the normal things in quite abnormal ways. Like on this one we did the first thing last and last thing first. Read on u ll get it

We (from now on its me & Tarang as Neha went to her office) set out and in spite of the Hotel Staff’s attempt to scare us did manage to first find an ATM, then a “Ring” (rikshaw) and then the famous market “Jaman Katra” full of only suit pieces & dress materials.

We bought enough to empty our pockets (& ATM’s) & empty our heads while trying to understand” Thet Punjabi” & explaining what we wanted. But we were successful in both.

With shopping out of the way we had lunch and then we negotiated with a taxi driver and with deal settled on Rs. 300 we set out for the historic “WAGAH Border” – the border between India & Pakistan. We reached there in about 45 minutes and it was after a wait of another 45 minutes that we could finally get a glimpse of the Pakistan Soil.

It’s amazing how a line on paper (map) can divide people!

There were around 500-600 people on our side & a measly 200 odd people on PAK side.

Now I must say they were seated much before than us and were more disciplined or so it seemed. On Indian side, the situation was bad because of 2 reasons – one the number of people was 3 times & then celebrities (read Sunny Deol) VIPs always need more attention.

So we were all herded like unkempt and useless uncountable sheeps & made to run for almost 2kms in the hope of getting better view- only to realize in the end that better places have already been filled in by the VIPs & the families of Defense forces.

Anyways, patient people that we are… we quietly sat down in the stands for women.

From our vantage view, we saw the historic change of Guard ceremony. What actually happens is that the flags of both countries are brought down, folded properly and kept inside. That’s the complete ceremony.

But it has been made much bigger…patriotism has been added so has been some drama and performance… It’s become more like a charade of cheering for our country, clapping endlessly. The scene though repeated every day still holds a novelty and exciting anticipation comparable only to India Pakistan match!

The entire ceremony (experience) is too colorful, charged with patriotism, electrified by the emotions of people on both sides and saddened by the apparent hatred between the 2 erstwhile parts of the same country though they are separated by a small distance of few feet

We have a history – a common one though – to blame. A history which is written at enough places for it to be forgotten or left alone!

Considering I have lived in a place which has quite a large Muslim population and been exposed to various Islamic customs and traditions, the mere sight of our neighbor country made me even more curious to at-least see Pakistan once- to breathe in the air & try & feel the difference if there is any. I do hope I am able to do this some time in this lifetime!

With a heart filled with mixed feelings we came back to Amritsar and straight away went to Golden Temple. (this is what I meant … people first go to temple and then do other things but we…!!!)

Amazingly beautiful peaceful calming meditative solid…there maybe a lack of superlative adjectives in my dictionary but this temple can render anyone speechless.

The entire atmosphere is so calming & so peaceful that we wanted to sit there for long time – which we actually ended up doing. The temple has beautiful colored Meenakari (intricate carving) all over inside ceilings, walls, pillars and every inch of it. It is very well decorated; spick & span clean & is always full of devotees.

It is an experience in its own. We went to the temple twice & each time it looked different but emitted the same rays /vibes of love, soothing calmness & peaceful coexistence.

It was all worth it.

Before leaving Amritsar, we did a quick round of Jalianwala Bagh and the markets around it buying the famous Badiyan & papads (& a few more suits & dupattas)

All in all Amritsar is a city which all should go at least once in life time…Jalianwala Bagh talks of blood, the Wagah Border tells the tale of hatred and wrong politics but above all The Golden Temple which spreads the message of love, care, calmness and peaceful coexistence.

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Categories: Travel
  1. Tarang
    May 25, 2009 at 09:27

    Actually down the memory lane.

    It is great to read it and remember it. It was an awesome time we spent and this blog makes it more memorable. Lets plan again soon.

    But am I one of your cousin siters? 😦 sad I thought better.

    • saloniz
      May 25, 2009 at 12:44

      Dear Cousin sister…its for people to understand and not for you to feel bad!

  1. May 23, 2009 at 20:45

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