29 Nov 2018

Amritsar Diary, Day 1.

A last minute decision to not be at home for 3 straight days, got me on a Punjab Roadways bus to Amritsar, I have been trying to be here for a year now,but the trains never have seats on a weekend. This being a long weekend, the case was similar, I moved to buses.

After a night of only vague attempts at sleeping in a surprisingly cold Volvo, I got down at Amritsar at 5:30AM, and walked towards my hostel a distance of about 1.5 kilometers. I wouldn't get a bed till 1PM, a usual practice at all Dorms/hostels, and since I am traveling at my lightest, I am not carrying anything warm except a down jacket.

The rooftop common area had good beds to sleep, but the open nature and the windy weather made it a tough place to sleep, I discarded the idea altogether and went on to make a time-lapse of sun rise, which I'd have to do again because the interval was too small between each shot in this one.

Around 8 AM I took a shower and left for the Harmandir Sahib, stopping for a Kulcha and Lassi for breakfast.

Candles lit for Gurupurab

Harmandir Sahib, better known as Golden Temple is one of the holiest places of Sikhism, and today being Gurpurab( Guru Nanak's Birthday) is full of colorful people from all over, a lot of them are volunteering, it's amazing to see a place so big, well maintained and managed when majority of its workforce is voluntary.

After walking a couple of rounds along the Holy Lake, I went for Langar, and then sat in one of the corners, and fell asleep. When I woke up, I had been asleep for 40 minutes in a public place! I came back to my hostel slept for another 3 hours and woke up by the sound of fireworks from the temple. A lot of people had gathered on their rooftops to watch them.

Harmandir Sahib on Gurupurab

When I went back to the temple, I went via Jallianwala Bagh, a memorial of the Massacre committed by General Dyer, and now a memorial of random names on walls, mostly lovers from the country.

The temple is even more beautiful at night with shining lights all around, and a candles and lamps on the side of the lake adding to the glory.

I later walked to Kesar da Dhaba, apparently the best place for dinner in Amritsar, lost in crowded narrow by-lanes, it took me 15 minutes to get inside, 30 more to get a seat, and then another 30 to get a meal, a delicious parantha thali with daal fry, chole, and raita, and two parathas dipped in ghee, a bit on the expensive side though. I walked back to my hostel, and at time of writing this my total walking for the day is 14.75 kilometres, I'll hopefully get up early to get the sunrise timelapse, and the cover the rest of the city tomorrow.


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