I must say that it took quite a bit of cajoling, request and some serious threat from my friends to write this blog on the trip to Amritsar which we had went way back on 20-21 Sep 2008. So the story goes like this...one fine day, frustrated with our daily routine office work, we 5 friends decided to take a break and head to any place to recharge our batteries.
After a lot of heated discussions and arguments,it was decided that lets check out Amritsar as it was quite close to Delhi and economical also. You see software engineer are not quite well paid :( Anyway our epic journey started from New Delhi railway station on board the Shaane Punjab Express (2497) on a 2nd sitting class (fare - Rs125).
Choosing 2nd Sitting turned out to be quite a big mistake as it was quite hot and crowdy and the journey from New Delhi to Amritsar is of around 450 kms. The train left Delhi at around 7 in the morning. It turned out to be quite tiring journey when we finally reached Amritsar at around 3:30 pm.
We had reached Amritsar but there was no time to relax as the lowering of Flags event at Wagah border starts at around 4 PM and gets over by 6 PM. Also it was quite a distance from main city. Quickly we booked room in a nearby hotel and rushed off to Wagah border in a auto-rickshaw. Had some refreshments in the midway and finally we reached the border in around 45 minutes.
Wagah is a small village situated on the international border between India and Pakistan with electrified fencing along the border.Its quite close to Lahore than Amritsar, only 13 kms from Lahore compared to 23 kms from Amritsar city. Its main attraction is the 'Swarn Jayanti' gate where the "Beating the Retreat" ceremony is held everyday by Indian Border Security Force and Pakistani Rangers.The main ceremony i.e. lowering of the respective national flags at sunset is short and quick. Rest is followed by songs and dance by children and others performers.
It was time to return to city and by 8 we were in the main city.The next important place was The Golden Temple, the holiest abode of all Sikhs, also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib.Built around 1588 on lake Amrit Sarovar, it is made up of white marble with gold paint on the main temple where the holy book The Adigranth is kept.It was quite a moment of peace for all of us as we just sat around the lake enjoying the cool breeze and the reflection of the temple on clear waters of the lake.
It was really a heavenly experience listing to the devotional songs and prayers which goes on day and night.I still miss that peace of mind which seems to have been lost in the our daily life.We also visited the monument dedicated to the innocent lives who were killed in Jallianwala Bagh.
It was time to retire to our hotel as we had a train to catch in the morning. But destiny seems to had other ideas. After reaching station we came to reason that train is late by 4 hours and we have ample time to waste. The software engineer in ours waked up and we sat discussing what to do in this time.
Lets head back to Golden Temple.Yes that's what everyone wanted.The temple seems to had a different beauty in the daytime.The reflection of the Golden Temple on the clear blue lake water was casting a magical spell on everyone.The true beauty of the whole temple premise can only be enjoyed in the daytime only.We were offered the prasad, halwa mixed with the purest desi ghee you have ever seen or tasted.Time just flied and we were getting late for the train.It was a very short trip but nonetheless very satisfying one.We all wish to visit it sometimes again. For now goodbye Amritsar...