The first time I went to a ‘gurudwara’ (a sikh temple) was in 2005. The guru himself had invited me to his divine home, a new journey had begun. A journey within. It’s been 11 years and I have been to the Golden temple about nine times since then. It still doesn’t fail to mesmerise me with its tranquil and peaceful aura. Sheer devotion seen in followers, with the music of hymns and simplicity in the food has this kind of humbleness and joy one doesn’t see often.
Most influenced by the ideas of Guru Nanak about communal living and humanity had affected by ideas towards religion in the early years. I studied the holy books of Sikhism and learnt about the unconditional love and trust in god. This is the feeling I hold, in this shrine, of gratitude.
Amritsar as a city is very busy like most small cities in India, but very charming with its architecture and great history of battles during the colonial Raj. Amritsar shares its border with Pakistan, something that really excited me when I visited it the first time. My folks grew up in Punjab; hence the culture is very familiar to me, yet a bit foreign.
We usually get a train from Delhi to Amritsar that takes about six hours, which halts in Patiala, Ludhiana, and Jalandhar. From an Indian railway breakfast to a rickshaw ride from the station to the temple – it is an experience! I also love shopping for ‘phulkari duppatas’! It is the traditional hand embroidery of Punjab done on scarves for women and ’jutis’, which is the handmade shoe worn by both men and women. Later snack on ‘chola kulcha’, a dish of spiced chickpea with stuffed sour bread, which is a traditional meal in Punjab.
In the Golden temple, we leave our shoes behind and cover our heads. Post around the pond and a dip in the water to wash away our sins, we took some sweet ‘halwa’ dessert to offer in the temple. I bowed to the holy book to pay my respects and pray for the prosperity of my family.