The Golden Temple in the city of Amritsar in India, it is the spiritual and cultural center of the Sikh community . Unlike Hinduism or Buddhism, they practice a monotheistic religion. The men wear turbans under which they hide their long hair because they are forbidden to cut it. I traveled to another world, as if I had entered another country, with its own habits and customs.
My arrival in Amritsar
It’s at seven in the morning and with only two hours of sleep that I arrive in town. Yes, I did Agra / Delhi in one go by train, then Delhi / Amritsar by plane. I had planned to spend a free night at the airport because my flight was at five in the morning. But that was without counting the three and a half hour delay of the train.
Anyway, so I arrive at the hotel at seven in the morning. Of course, at this hour there impossible to have my room but that, it was envisaged. So I leave my big bag at the reception, take my camera and a bottle of water, and off I go to discover the golden temple. First very pleasant surprise, all the surroundings are pedestrians, it’s dead calm, no horns. So much the better because having slept only two hours, I would have had a hard time supporting it.
Visit to the Golden Temple of Amritsar
I arrive at the entrance of the temple, first you have to take off your shoes and socks because inside the religious site, you walk barefoot (there is a free locker). Then you have to cover your hair. So I use my fabric multifunction neck warmer to make myself a pirate-style bandana. It’s a change from the adventurer’s hat. Then, you have to wash your hands , and finally go through a foot bath, which must harbor bacteria from another world because there are so many feet passing through it.
The interior of the enclosure
I go back. The building covered with the yellow precious metal is there. It is built in the middle of the Amrit Sarovar, a holy pool. The whole is surrounded by a complex of immaculate white buildings which form a surrounding wall. The floor is marble, it’s cold marble, especially early in the morning. But the Sikhs have thought of everything, there are rugs all around the place so as not to get (too) cold feet.
More than the beauty of the place, it is its atmosphere that arouses my interest. There are religious songs and music all around me. Men and women pray, bathe in the pool and perform rituals that I have never heard of.
On giant screens, the lyrics of the songs parade like a karaoke. Many people walk with folded hands praying. There really is a pious and peaceful atmosphere. It’s hard to describe. I suddenly feel sucked into a totally unknown world.
The sun is rising, it adds a little more to this special atmosphere.
The golden temple of Amritsar dates from 1764. It is in fact the second because the first was destroyed in the 16th century by the Afghans. Inside the temple are the priests and musicians that are heard. They sing the prayers from the sacred book of the Sikhs without stopping. The rest of the buildings are administrative places and common rooms such as the canteen or the dormitories. If I had to compare this place to something more famous I would say it’s a bit like the Vatican.
Eat for free when visiting the Golden Temple in Amritsar
It’s breakfast time. Luckily, there is a free canteen that runs 24 hours a day. They serve ten thousand meals a day! Volunteers do the cooking and washing up all day in a deafening metallic din. To eat, just take a tray, sit on the floor in the room and wait for someone to come and serve you. It really is something to live for! a great moment of cultural sharing. And besides, it’s very good.
I stayed a few hours on the site to enjoy the atmosphere of the place. It’s really a place where you have to take your time and watch everything that happens around to make the most of this culture. And above all, don’t hesitate to eat there, it’s an extraordinary experience .