I reached the Golden Temple in the evening and a receptionist-cum-security guard at the international dorm said no beds were available there. As I was about to move away, he said: “Will you sleep on the floor?” After a few seconds of hesitation, I said “yes”. He put a thin mattress on the floor as I could see all beds were occupied by colorful people assembled there from different parts of the world. As evening passed by I started talking to some of them. By the time everyone slept, there appeared to have one empty bed. I quietly jumped over that in the darkness and occupied the same for the next two nights. It was a pleasant stay in the Golden Temple compound. Food, the Langar, was served to anyone for free. So was the dorm (this one for international tourists). But you can’t eat that food daily, you want something different to taste in Punjab. So I tired some other varieties in restaurants in the market not very far from the temple. Clicking on a photo will bring descriptions in some cases. [Related post: Langar: The Gurudwara Community Lunch
As I reach the Golden Temple, the rickshaw-wallah ties rumāl, that I bought from a vender on the street for Rs. 10, on my head to cover my head.
As one rickshaw-wallah ties the rumāl, another rather awkwardly clicks from my camera. I thanked both of them.
A girl from Hong Kong, with Mehndi on her hands, shows her and her mainland-Chinese and Taiwanese friends passports in the international dorm of Golden Temple.
Depending upon how you count, you will see two to three countries represented in this photo. Clockwise from left: Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and Nepal
As I was roaming around the temple compound, I saw this family of pilgrims who wanted to be photographed with me for they found me strange.
At Golden Temple
They were attracted to my camera than anything else..
Using tripod and self-timer, I take my own photo with the Golden Temple at the background.
As I was taking photos of myself using tripod, this security guard came to tell me that I wasn’t allowed to use tripod to take pictures inside the temple complex. Then I asked him to pose for me. He did.
Golden Temple, Amritsar
Felt good while touring around the temple compound
A kid runs after taking a dip into the sacred pond
A bowl-full of tea being served at a langar venue in the temple compound
Here comes Mr. Xu Jie, the Chinese traveller I met in the international tourist dorm inside the Golden Temple complex. We would travel to Rajasthan together for a week before going back to Delhi.
Tea @ the Golden Temple
People from all faiths and geography come for Langar
Langar is also an amazing work of volunteerism.
And the fact that people are so much willing to volunteer and the perception, I assume, that volunteerism is also a form of devotion makes the Langar process even more beautiful.
The process of cleaning is managed to well and efficiently.
A pilgrim at the Golden Temple smiles for my camera
Look at his eyes! Gurdev seems to be happy :)
Wagle enjoying the delicious Langur, the community food served in the Gurudwara.Pic by Bikas Rauniar
After the Carter press conference, I went to a Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) located near the Thapathali bridge with Bikas Rauniar. Shikhs were celebrating the birth anniversary Guru Nanak and Bikas wanted to take photos of the celebrations. Since I was in his car, he asked me to come along with him for possible stories. Yes there was a story. I talked to a Sardar, original and from Punjab, India, as he was taking part in the musical celebrations. That was a pleasant conversation which I have included in a story about him and the celebrations that appeared in today’s Kantipur. Then there was a surprise for me: They serve food (the Prasad). Shikh devotees sit cross legged on the floor in several lines- male and female have separate lines- and eat the food that is cooked by the volunteers (which I found delicious and well served.) That was my first experience with the Gurudwara food. Continue reading