Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Golden Temple: Lost in translation

Amritsar and its Golden Temple are one of the most important places for the Sikh religion. Since the majority of the Sikhs calls Punjab their home, we could not miss out on the opportunity to visit this sacred place. After 140 km and 2.5 hours on a bumpy road, we arrived in the city.

Embarked on a horse rickshaw, we realized that it is being driven by a 12-year old. I don't think that I should check his driver's license.

On our way to the temple, we had to fulfill two prerequisites: cover our heads and take off the shoes (and socks). While the former does not present a problem, walking on a marble floor barefoot is indeed an interesting experience.

An interesting fact about the Golden Temple that its real name ("Harmandar Sahib") does not really mean "Golden Temple". According to our local consultant, Jaspreet (and various travel guides), when the wife of a British Officer saw the temple, which is indeed covered with gold, she gave it its English name. Literally, Harmandar Sahib means the Temple of God.

The sacred place is a beautiful complex, which has the temple itself in the middle of a pool, surrounded by a square wall which hosts various important and myth-enshrouded buildings.

Amritsar derives its name from this pool (Amrit Sarovar means "The pool of Nektar") and the water of the pool is believed to have miraculous powers.

In order to visit the Golden Temple itself, we needed to queue up for an hour with thousands of Sikhs and curious visitors.
Each Sikh temple has a community kitchen, where one can have food for free and all service (be it washing dishes or cooking food) is voluntary. Since the Golden Temple is visited by thousands of people every day, the community kitchen the community kitchen has the according size. Never in my life have I had lunch with so many people at the same time, and I have to admit that it was quite an experience.
The day had one more exciting event for us - the largely famous flag ceremony at the Wagah border between India and Pakistan.


  1. Hey you look awsome with the yellow cap. Everything looks very interesting. Looking forward to a long session on your CSC experience

  2. Isabella, thank you for your comment! We will definitely need more than one coffee for the stories :-)