Monday, November 08, 2004

Golden Temple

I moved on to Amritsar where the Golden Temple resides.After being whisked off to the hotel in a auto-rickshaw, I was knacked after sitting on a train for the 7 hours from Delhi. I never quite understand why the actual travelling is so tiring can you don't do anything!

I arrived in a hotel where they had subtle air-conditioned units.

The next day I got a rickshaw to the Golden Temple, eventually. The rickshaw driver seemed to be taking me for a tour through the markets and bazaars. Literally taken for a ride! At the end I asked him the price and he asked me how much I though I should pay him. I said 30rps and he seemed happy enough!I then got a bright orange headscarf and deposited my sandals at the shoe collection. Then you have to walk through a bath of water to cleanse your feet before entering the temple complex.The acutal temple is an amazing sight. The traffic horns die away and there is a quiet peaceful atmosphere as you would expect in a place of worship. The Golden Temple is surrounding by a large shallow bath of water, connected by a single walkway, and in the centre stands the actual temple. Reputedly gilded in some 750kgs of gold!

I then went for a free meal! Inside the temple complex lies a full working food factory serving 30,000 people a day. You collect a tray, bowl and spoon and you go in and then sit on a mat cross-legged. I just copied the guy to the left of me! Then I held out my hands and the worker dropped a couple of jappatis to me. Shortly a guy comes round with a large bucket and a spatula which he slops down your lentils and something like a small bit of ginger?? Then somebody says a prayer repeated by some of the attendants and then everybody tucks in!

After that I had another walk round the temple and realised why their are carpets on the marble especially near the foot baths. I walked through one and then done my best Chaplin-esque running on the spot before recovering and quickly back on to the carpet.

Then I wander out on the street and tried to look for a quiet moment to whip off my turban! No t quite sure what to do with it I just shoved it in my pocket.

Although I'm finding it very easy to get lost in the cities, as I have no sense of direction, it's at least easy to get your wait out as auto-rickshaws are everywhere.
Or so you would of thought.....
I tried to get back to my hotel which bore the very unhelpful name of Tourist Guest House. This was met with a blank stare by the taxi driver who drove about for 5 minutes looking for people to ask. At a taxi rank about 5 people were all trying to work out where I was wanting to go!
I got there in the end! I though the map on the back of the card would of been helpful for the driver, but I don't think they use maps!

My fingers hurt from having to whack this old keyboard now, hardling touch typing but aleast all the keys work!

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