2nd Oct 2015
Day 1

After a month of cajoling, the college authorities finally gave in to our demands of organising a trip to Amritsar. It was our final year in the college, and so, the whole idea of visiting Amritsar with college friends seemed fascinating. We chalked out an interesting itinerary for the trip, got it approved from the authorities and were all geared up to enjoy the trip to the hilt.

The most awaited day came and I, along with my friends, was standing at the platform desperately waiting for the train to arrive. The chaotic vicinity of Delhi's Railway station never failed to enthuse me. Scores of people moving back and forth, porters carrying heavy baggage and monkeys, jumping over the railway tracks were hilarious sights to watch. After a few minutes, our train stamped in, creating a lot of noise and Commotion. At its halt, we rushed to enter the compartment and started vouching for opportune seats to sit. Within a few minutes, the train started moving. The excitement in the train gradually built up. The journey was a joyous one as everyone was busy singing songs, dancing and gorging on home cooked delicacies. Eight hours elapsed and we reached Amritsar-the city synonymous with patriotism and spirituality. The narrow lanes of the city reminded me of Chandni Chowk in Delhi. We stepped out of the railway station and hopped in the buses to reach our hotels. We were asked to freshen up before visiting the pious Golden Temple. Traditional attire was preferable there and so we all were ready in our suits with dupattas tied on our head. Our bus stopped a kilometre away from the temple. We had to cover the distance on foot. There was a guide along with us who briefed us about the ins and outs of the temple.

After half an hour of walking, we reached the temple. I was stunned seeing this architectural marvel. Illuminated with lights, The temple's exquisite beauty and its blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture. The clear night sky was the icing on the cake. We were told that it is a symbol of brotherhood and humanity.

Photo of Golden Temple Amritsar - Tour Packages - Sightseeings, Ram Singh Colony, Kotatma Ram, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Charvi Kathuria

With unparalleled faith in heart, we found our way inside the temple only to get mesmerised by Hari Mandir adorned with tonnes of gold. The sight of the temple spelled relaxation.It is infamous for the Blue Star Operation that happened in 1984 by Indira Gandhi. It was followed by a lot of violence among the Sikhs and Hindus. After acquainting ourselves with the history of the temple, we encircled the Amrit Sarovar. The Sarovar is surrounded by Marble walls covered with some beautiful fashion from floral and animal motifs. I requested my friends to leave me in isolation so that I could sit quietly near the placid sacred water. I sat there for a few minutes trying to absorb the peace that prevailed in the atmosphere. It was a soul stirring experience.

Day 2

Thereafter, we were offered the sweet Prasad. I couldn't go inside Hari Mandir because of the lengthy queue. A few fortunate friends of mine could, however, enter it. The spiritual epiphany of shabads filled the entire temple with divinity. There wasn't a shred of dirt in the temple complex. The kindheartedness, hospitality and manners of Sikhs amazed us.After some time, we left from the place with indelible imprints of the enthralling temple we had just seen. We slept early that day as our itinerary demanded us to reach Jallianwala Bagh by 9 am.The place is at a stone’s throw from Golden Temple.The visit to Jallianwala Bagh was of monumental significance to us because we were studying the whole concept of Indian Nationalism those days. It witnessed some of the biggest massacres during our Independence Movement and is considered to be a “dark episode” in the Indian freedom struggle of our country. We entered the place with grim faces but a lot of pride in our hearts for all those martyrs who chose to jump into the well over getting killed by bullets. We were also witness to bullet holes on walls and adjoining buildings. A painting portraying the harrowing tales of the unfortunate day was hung. The scene was horrifying enough to send chills down my spine. A memorial was standing inside the park to pay homage to the martyrs. The visit made many of us go teary-eyed. Such places remind us of some great sacrifices that Indians made to free themselves from the shackles of foreign rule. We came out with a heavy heart.

Photo of Jallianwala Bagh, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Charvi Kathuria
Photo of Jallianwala Bagh, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Charvi Kathuria

Some girls wanted to go shopping and so the tour operator took us to a local market. There were stalls selling everything from roasted sweet potatoes to jootis to handicrafts like Phulkari , jewellery ,Patiala salwar. It would definitely prove to be a delightful experience for avid shoppers. The road was dotted with food stalls. It is best place for an epicurean like me. We spotted a stall selling Kesar Wali Lassi which we gulped down quickly. It brought a lot of relief to our parched throats. Lunch was served to us. We ate to our stomach’s fill. We, then, left for the last but the most exciting part of our excursion.

I had been waiting desperately to visit Wagah Border lying between Pakistan and India.There is a Flag Raising and Lowering ceremony at Wagah Border done with pomp and show. We reached there in time but we're astonished to see the assembled crowds in both sides of the border. Seating arrangements were made for spectators. The ceremony commenced with young girls from both the sides carrying the Indian tricolour and running towards each other propagating the message of women empowerment. The cheering crowd at both sides added to the patriotic fervour. The energy exuded by the people was palpable.

This was followed by a lot of tall soldiers in big turbans goose stepping about and slamming gates. Both sides had synchronised their parades. As the sun set, the iron gates at the border opened and a handshake between soldiers with imposing stature from both sides.

The ceremony was a spectacle to behold. Incessant travelling had enervated us. We returned home, returned to bed and left for Delhi the next day. The trip was definitely an informative and rejuvenating at the same time. Every Indian ought to visit Amritsar at least one to experience those winds of patriotism that have been blowing in the city since decades.