Monday, April 21, 2014

Golden temple-Harmindar Sahib, Amritsar

It was my long standing wish that I must visit a Gurudwara and I am extremely happy that I could make my first one to the Golden temple also known as Harminder Sahib in Amritsar. I feel everyone must visit this temple  at least once in their life time as it would be a great experience. This temple was built by Guru Arjan Singh in the 16th century.

Sikhs from all over the world converge at this place for worship and the temple doors are open to anyone  irrespective of their caste,creed or religion.

The Golden temple is well fortified and one cannot have  a glimpse of this temple  from outside. It is situated at a  lower level from the main land  and one  has to climb down a few steps to reach the sprawling grounds of the temple .The temple is surrounded  by a holy lake. The circumambulation path is well laid with marble and as soon as the devotees enter the temple they prostrate on the ground paying respects to their Guru.

  Everyone entering this temple has to cover their head, and there are people to remind you if the hair is visible . The temple surroundings are  absolutely clean, serene and radiates  divinity.

I made my first visit to the temple in the evening  and the first sight of the temple  and its reflection in  the surrounding lake took my breath away.

There was a mood of festivity around and I could see orange flags flying atop on tall flag masts. Was it a regular feature or was that  a part of a festival season, I am not sure.

There is a bridge to go across to the temple and there is richly decorated arch at the entrance.When I reached the main entrance of the temple, we saw people lined up for a great spiritual experience. I could see many devotees chanting silently. There was no jostling, the crowd was behaving quite well and that itself was a welcome change for me as it was unlike many other temples where  I have experienced many unpleasant situations. All seemed to be at peace, which I think every one can emulate. All were waiting patiently to enter the main temple and only  Shabad Keertan was ringing in the ears which was emanating form the sanctum of the temple.

Once I entered the sanctum ,I had to wait for a few seconds before I could take in what was inside. As this was new to me I was curious to find out what all things were inside.There was a   medium sized hall which  decorated very well.  There was canopy of sort on the ceiling and colurful carpets were spread on the floor . In the center of the hall was the Holy Guru Granth Sahib kept covered with  a richly decorated silk.

I bowed down and offered my prayers. I could not stand for long as there were devotees standing behind me for worship. We were offered Sweet halwa from the temple as prasad.

I also visited the temple during daytime and just relaxed for about an hour watching what was happening around the temple. On that day, the  turn out for worship was heavy and we didn't go inside the temple. What fascinated me was Sikhs were very much involved in Kar Seva; a voluntary contribution of their work for a good cause.

I loved the visit and I am really happy I could add one more temple to my Pilgrimage.
I do not think I have explored the temple quite well . If I get an opportunity once again I would certainly make it.

How to reach- Amritsar is well connected by rail , road and air.

Good hotels are available near the temple itself and there is accommodation facility inside the temple itself. 
Find more details here.

A  tour of the temple through my lens. Enjoy:)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

My Pilgrimage, North India.

I set on a pilgrimage cum sight seeing tour of some of the North Indian temples and covered Amritsar the Golden temple,  Mathura and  Brindavan, the birth place of Lord Krishna and where he spent his childhood;  Sarnath, the place where Gautham Buddha gave his first sermon , Varanasi, one of the char dhaams where every Hindu devotee likes to visit at least once in his/her life time, Then  to Allahabad, we followed the  Ganges and Yamuna and  met them at the confluence of Triveni Sangam where river Saraswati flows as Gupt Saraswati. Shall be giving details when I post about these places separately. I Could visit colurful Rajasthan -Jaipur and Jodhpur. The Pink city- Jaipur and Jodhpur transported us to the era of great Rajput rulers . The visit to various forts was a great revelation of the life and culture in the days of yore. The workmanship in stone was awe inspiring and the love for precious artifacts still displayed in the great palaces threw some light on the kind of life lead by the then rulers. Among all this we also visited Jalian Walah bagh and  could participate in Wagah - Attari border closing ceremony-  the highly charged atmosphere made me realise how much I worship my motherland, really a great experience.
I shall be posting about the temples, I visited in various cities  and here are a few glimpses of what is in store. It was a well spent vacation and every minute spent was really worth, something to savour for the rest of my life.
There still more to see and that is proposed for yet another trip.
I feel so refreshed and rejuvenated.