Ever since my last travel to Himachal Pradesh, i promised myself to travel at least once in a month. But being jobless, penniless and aimless served me no good. So i decided to find myself a decent job; however this time i wasn’t looking for a handsome earning, ergo i took up a job which is more about what i like doing. With my new job, yet another time i had very less leaves to travel. My short weekend trip to Amritsar was not something planned though i always had it at the back of my mind. It all happened on the spur of the moment. One sleepless night when i was just fondling with my phone thinking, life is such a waste when you have a weekend ahead and you have nothing to do. It was then a thought of making a short trip crossed my mind and i could think of no place better than Amritsar. The charm of Golden Temple and the spirit of Wagah Border always fascinated me. So next thing i know is, i was making a call to my friend to pack his bags. Then i called up my friend in Amritsar whom i met just once in my previous trip. I know its difficult to trust people you just met but always follow your instincts (like i do), it will never let you down. An overnight bus ride and i was in the state of Punjab. It had rained all night and the aroma of wet soil was so distinct. Just a moment after we got down from the bus, we were surrounded by Rickshaw drivers, all offering us a ride to the Golden Temple. Some 5-10 minutes rickshaw ride and we were already in the premises of the temple. Small shops filled with prashad, souvenir, garlands, scarfs and accessories guided our way to the main entrance of the temple. The street vendors were offering me guide books, manuals and what not assuming me to be a foreigner. Because of my mongoloid looks, people mostly confuse me with the tourists from South-East Asian countries not knowing that i’m very much of an Indian; though i like the attention sometimes. 🙂
Upon arrival at the temple i realized that we had picked a completely wrong day as it was jam packed. The queue was never ending and it took us 2 hours just to reach the main shrine, moving at a snail’s pace. When i finally reached the holy shrine, i was blank. Everytime i visit a holy place, i have a list of things to demand from God. Surprisingly, coming this far to a temple worshipped by people of all faith, i had nothing more to ask (my last trip did teach me a lot; contentment being one of them). After a brief visit to the temple followed by Akal Takht we came out searching for some good food. I was so keen on having Langar but the crowd made it quite impossible. Serving 50,000 to 1,00,000 people a day is indeed something fascinating about the Golden Temple. By the time we came out of the temple my friend had arrived and he took us to ‘Brothers Dhaba’ where we had a scrumptious brunch and headed for Jallianwala Bagh.
Being a history student,i vividly remember the brutal massacre of hundreds of people who had gathered for a meeting during the British rule. Visiting the site today reformed the imagination into a harsh reality. While the martyrs are all gone, the bullet hole still remains, displaying the bitter truth of that black day. After Jallinwala Bagh we visited the Durgiana Temple which has similar structure to that of Golden Temple. Then we headed towards Wagah Border. We had to collect our passes on the way and i was already half dead, travelling all day long under the scorching sun. We still decided to visit Pul Kanjri. The story of this place is no less than any other Bollywood cliche. Legend goes that this place was built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh for one of his most favored dancer named Kanjri (hence the name). They say Kanjri lost her show here and disappointed over loss she refused to perform, hence a bridge was built by the Maharaja. We also found a visitors book where visitors had scribbled their travel experiences.
I decided to pick a corner and rest, on arrival at the Wagah Border; tired travelling all day long. But the moment we reached there, the spirit of the crowd was so zippy that it made me forget how sleepless i was for the last 24 hours. The energy of the crowd; some positive and some provocative yet so full of life was indeed the best part of my Amritsar trip. Further more, i met this young man who was also from Darjeeling and had been serving the BSF (Border Security Force) for 4 long years. It is indeed a delight to meet someone from your place when you least expect. And not to forget how much keen he was on telling me how he helps people from Darjeeling to secure passes. Never before in my life have i grooved to an old Anu Malik patriotic songs. The ceremony is indeed once in a lifetime must watch. Its not everyday you get to see so many Indians and Pakistanis come together in such a patriotic yet friendly atmosphere.
And before we boarded the bus on our way back to Delhi, we had our dinner at ‘Kesar da Dhaba’. I’m not a foodie as i eat just for survival but i must say that the food at this dhaba was too good to be unnoticed. It is appetizing yet budget friendly. So if you plan for a trip to Amritsar, ‘Kesar da Dhaba’ is much recommended. After a long days travel we hit the road for Delhi, reached next day early in the morning and then again, back to our daily schedule.