Monday, September 20, 2010

Amritsar – Where Spirituality and Patriotism comes together

Long awaited plan to Golden Temple materialised in Sep 2010, when I decided to go there alone as most of my friends showed their inability to join me. And I started off on Friday 17th Sep 2010 from Gurgaon. The mode was our great Indian Railway, Train Muri Express from Old Delhi Railway Station at 9:15 PM. I left Gurgaon at 6:00 PM, a Big thanks to Delhi Metro that it took me exactly 50 minutes from Gurgaon to Old Delhi Railway Station. I reached much earlier than what I had expected so nothing much to do other than waiting at the Platform watching people moving here and there, hearing the repetitive announcements “The Train No.......... coming via..........will reach on its time and will arrive at Platform No.........” the same gets repeated in Hindi as well, After sometime it starts bugging like anything, moreover voice of the lady is also not so melodious that one would wish to hear it again and again.

It was 8:30 PM when announcement lady announced “Muri Express Train No 8101 is running late by 2 Hours from it standard time, Inconvenience is deeply regretted.” Bloody it would be now 10:35 PM and I would start from Delhi at 11:00 PM only, that too subject to further delays. Finished off Paying Guest packed dinner, finished off watching people here and there, exhausted with boring announcements, what next? Of course FM Radio! Retros and Gazals on FM ate my extra time, but why can’t these reality estate advertisements can be banned at least in the evening. You are listening to late nineties song sitting in open with really pleasant weather and suddenly a boring advertisement spoils the entire mood. Yes we do have a choice of flipping FM channels from one to another.

Finally Train arrived at its so called committed time of 10:35 PM. Got into Sleeper Class, Non AC as I did not get booking for 3 tier or 2 tier. Keeping in mind the weather I had no problem travelling in Non AC. I slept immediately and got up in the morning at 6:00 AM when the train had reached Ludhiana Station. Still there were long 3 hours which I spent by starring at greenery everywhere in Punjab.

Golden Temple

I reached Amritsar at 9:00 AM on Saturday 18th Sep 2010. My enthusiasm to reach Golden Temple at the earliest made me overcome my tiredness. Soon I was outside Golden Temple; last I went there was year 2005 and no major changes till now other than the fact that in 2005 you could take your vehicle much closer to Golden Temple but now Traffic Police would not allow to do so and you will have to walk half a mile approximately.
Yet another thing which has not changed is the Shining Golden Temple. I really admire the administration of the Temple for that. Unlike TajMahal, Its beauty is well valued by people and has been given the right treatment which this piece of architect deserves. From entrance itself the view of Golden Temple standing firm in the middle of water touches your heart. I was wondering whether I had seen Golden Temple carefully in my last two visits couple of years back. It was all together a great feeling of comfort as if I have comeback home and I am completely safe here. As I reached relatively early in the morning I did not have to wait long in the queue. It took me hardly 15 minutes for my turn for Darshan inside Golden Temple. The faith in God can be seen on the faces of people, so many devotees spends hours and hours reading religious books on 1st Floor of Golden Temple and I saw a very old & adorable Sikh who had book in his hands and had slept comfortably. It reminded me of Examination days.

I came across a touching story of immense faith people have in God and in its divine powers. I saw a Lady in her late forties with her son (should not be more than 16 years old). Unfortunately the young boy did not seem to me a normal child. This mother was guiding and holding his hand so affectionately as if she wants to give him all the happiness of this world. I remember how she was telling him all the rituals and importance of the place. It touched my heart when mother held his both hands to receive prashaad and how she moved his hands full of prashaad to touch his eyes. I had tears in my eyes and I just went away from them.

An honest confession, perhaps I never thanked God from bottom of my heart for whatever I have been blessed with. But this day I would remember lifetime that this Mother-Son couple made me realised that I am so blessed and rich and I must thank god for the same. I could not do much other than praying for the little boy who has just started his life.

Unlike Manimahesh Lake, the water here was of normal temperature so dip in holy water was not at all a difficult thing to do. I spent around 2:30 hours in the temple.

Durgiana Temple

After Golden Temple, my plan was to go to Durgiana Temple which is also situated in the middle of the city and not too far from Golden Temple. Durgiana Temple has been made as per the format of Golden Temple which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna. Although it has been made as per the format of Golden Temple but smaller area as compare to Golden temple makes it completely different. Moreover nothing much and exciting here but still lot of people visit this place.

Met a group of five ladies whom I provided my photography services. All were very decent and wanted me to click more and more pictures for them. They chased me in the temple for getting pictures again and again, that too in two different cameras. They asked me to join their group but their next destination Jallianwala Baag Memorial was not in my agenda.

Jallianwala Baag

Board Showing Bullet Marks
As I had enough time, I decided to go to Jallianwala Baag Memorial. There is no specific reason why I did not want to go there. The entrance of Baag is really small and I think that is what made the difference in 1919. In normal course not more than two people can walk together in the entrance so think of the situation when innocent people were fired. You can see bullet marks, Martyr’s well some paintings, a small museum and those who have read books about this memorial can correlate few more places probably. This place seems overcrowded because of its compact size.

A painting kept in Baag
A funny thing I spotted in the museum is that they have kept a note written by some media wherein it is mentioned that one of the British group came in 1996 to this place to express their apologies for what their ancestors have done in Jallianwala Baag in 1919. I felt that it was an insult of martyrs and bad joke cracked by those jokers who came to say sorry.

While coming out I did see those five ladies but I was hungry so I thought I will prefer food than joining this group of ladies. Though Amritsar is known for great Cuisine I had good food but not great food near Jallianwala Baag.

Bagha Border

Time was flying away. It was 3:00 PM and I got a deal in Rs 70 (to Bagha Border and back) in sharing Auto Rickshaw. The driver overloaded Auto and took many breaks for different reasons before we reached Bagha Border. There was a long queue and I had no option than to stand there in queue and wait. It was so crowded as if entire Amritsar has come here. Thankfully weather had turned cool by this time and queue started moving slowly. We crossed three Gates when we reached the great Bagha Border. It looked so calm and beautiful around. Full greenery everywhere, and Pakistan side no more were different.
Soon the entire stadium was full of people, surprisingly no one on the other side. Once I reached in the Stadium where I could see the Gate of Pakistan and flags of both countries at one place, I said standing in long queue was really worth. BSF plays all patriotic songs to keep audience busy. There is nothing but two simple Iron Gate divides two countries and those gates can be opened easily. Slowly the crowd on Pakistan side also had started gathering. They exactly looked like our Punjabi people, there is nothing different that there is a need of sitting on different sides but we human beings are the only culprits to create such differences. When people were sitting on different sides there were few who had privilege to fly everywhere. Yes birds, for them this event was nothing more than a Crowd and noise of people, I wish I could also do so.

Volunteers go onto the road and run with Tricolour till the India Pakistan Gates and come back. People dance, people shout, people clap and what else you want to do there you are free bird as long as you don’t fly. BSF and Pakistani Rangers perform parade for half an hour before Flag are taken off by both sides for the day before sunset. During this time only one can hear is “Hindustan Zindabad”, Bande Mataram” and “Bharat Mata ki Jay”, When Indians are making so much of noise how can Pakistan be quite.

The noise reaches the peak when flags are taken off. It is done in such a manner that at one point both Flags get merged and looks like one. That is the time when people make really huge noise and noise for being one and not separate countries. Claps from both sides support this fully. For me also this was the defining moment, after that everything looked so artificial and small that I decided to leave the Stadium. I was going back with a question, how big India was before partition? If this partition would not have taken place we definitely would have become number one by now.

Entire road outside Stadium was flooded with vehicles, so I could not find out the Auto in which I had come. Luckily I got another one who told me to drop me at Railway Station.

For Amritsar Delhi, the travelling did not bring any surprises unlike Delhi to Amritsar. Golden Temple Mail train started on time and reached Delhi on time at 7:00 AM on 19th Sep 2010.

However Delhi Metro gave a surprise when all passengers were asked to get down of the train for 10 minutes for Mock Drill, just one station before my destination. Soon we were told that there is some problem so it will take 2 hours. I started walking rather than looking for some other mode to reach home and guess what ? My favourite ! it started drizzling. What else I could have asked for? Another trip ended with sweet memories and beautiful experiences.

2 comments:

  1. Nice trip. Thanks for sharing your trip experience. You can also get complete information on Amritsar Express - 11057 running status and also loads of information on places to visit in Amritsar. The Amritsar Express is one of the most popular and classy trains in the country.

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