Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Golden Temple of Amritsar

Last weekend we went to Amritsar (location). On the top of our list there was a visit to the magnificent Golden Temple, the beating heart of the Sikh religion.

The temple at night surrounded by the holy pool of water where Sikhs have to go to get baptized. The temple is covered with REAL gold plating and looks nothing short of stunning when lit at night.

A close up of the temple. In my humble opinion this place rivals Taj Mahal as the greatest single attraction of India. It is also a sight of significant historical importance. In 1984 Sikh nationalist rebels had sought refuge in the temple. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi authorized the army to attack the rebels there, in the so called Operation Bluestar, which severely damaged the temple. That decision was to cost Indira Gandhi her life, as a few months later she was assassinated by her own Sikh body guards as revenge. In a reaction to this thousands of Sikhs in Delhi were slaughtered by angry Hindu mobs. Fortunately today communal harmony has been restored and the temple has been repaired.

A nearby tower stands next to the new moon.

As with Taj Mahal it really pays to come back at different times of day to see the Golden Temple. Here it is seen at early dawn.

And here I am posing for a picture in the afternoon. The reason for the turban on my head is that in accordance with the rules of Sikhism your head has to be covered when visiting here. This rule applies equally to men and women.

People line up on the narrow bridge connecting the main temple to the rest of the complex, in order to get inside the temple. Notice all the colourful turbans and head scarves.

Detail of the golden decorations.

Four Sikh men perform devotional music for all to enjoy.

There is always plenty of life by the large pool of holy water.

And Sikh believers bathe to purify themselves. Here a father is embracing his young son in the water. Perhaps his first time here? Unlike the rivers in which the Hindus bathe, this pool of water seems to be clean enough to purify both the soul and the body.

Not only humans like the quality of the water. Large fish seem to thrive here also, and they are very friendly. This one wants a kiss.

2 comments:

proud bhapa said...

Hi,

I am glad you had a nice time there in Amritsar and Golden Temple. Just one thing, I am a Sikh and would like to point out is that Sikhs Do Not have to Go to the Golden Temple and the Holy Pool to get Baptized. Following link describes how Sikhs are baptized.
http://www.allaboutsikhs.com/mansukh/110.htm

Udge said...

Hello Esben, I'm amazed by your photos and commentary. What a wonderful experience you're having. Lucky man!