Words like ‘amazing’, ’beautiful’ and ‘spectacular’ are becoming redundant by the day with each place that we visit. Today we saw that The Golden Temple and The Jallianwala Baghs are certainly no exceptions. The day began unusually early for me with the ramblings of my stomach acting like an alarm clock without the much loved snooze button. Only four hours earlier we’d been pulling more shapes on the dance floor than an octagon on a certain ‘E’ intoxicant. Six hours, countless open mouth photos and an Immodium later we had finally arrived to the site of the Golden Temple.
Domes of gold awaited us as we navigated through the tightly packed Indian streets that lead the way to this much anticipated monument. The mid day sun shone through the hussle and bussle of everyday life to reveal a treasure that could only be appreciated through experience. Excitement was in the air as we quickened the pace towards a man who would store our footwear before entering the sacred Sikh Temple. Headscarves brightened up the girls faces while the guys and I went for a more Summer Chic look of sweaty faces under homeless-esque bandanas.
Over a hot entrance of marble paved with brown rags we entered the Temple to the sounds of religious chanting and a Golden Structure protected by a large pool of water. Upon entering I felt a strange sense of calmness, which was counter acted by an eeriness among the devoted worshippers. Tropical fish leisurely swam in the pool alongside men and children who would submerge and bathe in the holy water. A tour guide led us around the different components of a place that provides much more than a location for prayer and spirituality. Amongst these extra facilities we were shown hidden kitchens and dining areas that would cater for one hundred thousand people on a daily and voluntary basis. Inside the main temple sat three prominent men whose religious songs were amplified to the masses outside. Gold covered every nuke and cranny of the roof, poles and various other pieces of the overall architecture. Not one to miss a great photo opportunity before we left, I stripped to my underwear and dipped in the cool of the pool along with some of the guys.
A few minutes walk from the Golden Temple we entered The Jallianwala Baghs. This historical site stood like a reminder of the often violent episodes that took place in colonial India. Just under a hundred years ago in 1909, the British had carried out a massacre on some of the most influential leaders in the Indian independence movement. Walking through the site I couldn’t help but recreate the horrific events which were engraved on several monuments on the grounds. The sounds of gunfire. Screams. Wails. Inside a small shelter, a vivid artist’s impression visualised dead bodies and blood at the hands of men in dome-type hats (the British). Bullet holes on brick holes painted a picture of the frenzied movements of those who tried but failed to escape.