Reached Amritsar at about 9 o’clock at night – the sky was clear, the hotel was really nice and just round the corner from Harmandir Sahib. We went to the Temple at 10 o’clock for a couple of hours. The peace was almost palpable – thousands of devotees, no noise, no shouting, just a murmur of quiet conversation.
More than 370 Indians were murdered only about 50 metres from the Golden Temple; the official number was 379, while the Civil Surgeon indicated that there were more than 1,500 casualties.
The garden is now a memorial – the old building from where the firing took place, and the well into which many people jumped to try to save themselves have been well preserved.
The Durgiana temple, also known as the Laxmi Narayan temple, is another beautiful place to visit in Amritsar. When we went the walkway was covered with a shamiana to protect devotees from the summer heat; so we didn’t get to see the temple in all its glory. The temple has been built on the lines of the Harmandir Sahib.
The battery-powered rickshaws that we saw in Delhi and Amritsar were really cute and comfortable. Great for moving around to catch your lassis, kababs, and visiting the local markets.
Having come all the way to Amritsar, it is incumbent upon all tourists to visit the Wagah border; I mean to say, if we went back without witnessing the ceremony of the changing of the guards, we’d probably get ostracized. So we went, and it’s unlikely that I’ll go again.
I just wish the authorities had made better arrangements for tourists, like putting up shamianas to prevent us from being roasted in the summer sun, better crowd control, and suchlike. As it was, our enjoyment of the spectacle was rather severely diminished by having to brave the sun, wiping off the sweat which flowed from us in unending streams, batting off people who thought they could fit their copious seats in the couple of inches of space we’d left between ourselves and our neighbours, and looking at our watches to see why time flowed so slowly.
The ceremony itself is best seen on TV. The amateur pics below just give a very faint idea of what really happens. The most impressive thing about the spectacle is how the soldiers manage to hit their noses with their boots. The dancing in the streets by tourists like us is a nice touch.