A day of Spiritual Rejuvenation!

There are times when all of a sudden you start feeling low. And there is no reason for this low ebb of your emotions. I was going through the same wave. I think it’s the traveler’s soul in me that gets edgy after a period of time. Nine hours of sitting keeps me in a cage where I’m always dreaming of opening my wings and breathing in an unknown destination. Well! This ‘feeling low’ was the result of the everyday dreams that wants me to move out of the daily regime and explore the unknown, make friends, write stories and gorge on delicious food.

The place decided for weekend’s getaway this time, was Amritsar. The spiritual center for Sikh religion. It is home to the Harmandir Sahib (an important Sikh shrine). And also houses the Sikh temporal and Political authority, Akal Takhat. Apart from that it is also known for Indo – Pak Border, Jallianwallah Bagh, and of course it’s food :). Since childhood I have been visiting this place, that now it is like a second home to me. My parents have always encouraged me for traveling but the idea of solo trip in India is a NO-NO for them. Still I managed to convince them for Amritsar.

Blue Hour at Golden Temple, Amritsar

Blue Hour at Golden Temple, Amritsar

There are many trains from Delhi to Amritsar. My journey started on Friday from Delhi on Amritsar Shatabdi. This train departs at 16:30 from Delhi and reaches Amritsar at 22:55. I always make a point to book window seat. So I was in my coach on confirmed window seat with only a book as my companion for the journey. As train started moving at speed, I started turning pages of my book, and also the day was slowly coming to retire. The feel of watching setting sun from the moving train with a book in your hand is amazing. The feeling of watching the retiring sun took over the feeling of clicking a picture of it. So I didn’t click any. I had a family sitting next to me who were on vacation. They were really nice and three kids in that family were very cute. But towards the end of the journey their jabbering was intolerable. Phewww! Anyways still they were not that annoying. There were two middle aged men in the train who did not miss a single chance of stare at me. At one point, I got little scared, as they were aware of the fact that I was traveling solo. The best way of ignoring their stare was to avoid eye contact with them. And I did exactly the same! In spite of the fact of men ogling at fellow female travelers (solo or with company), I support the idea of traveling because I feel traveling has made me learn the art of alertness, sensing the people with negative vibes and avoiding them. Anyways, train was little late and I breathed in ‘City of Gurus‘ at around 23:45. Quite an odd timing for a female! Parents and friends who knew about this trip were worried back at home. I too, was worried! Traveling has also made me learn the art of hiding my worries from my loved ones and taking it all alone with strength. I hired a rickshaw which charged 40 bucks. The distance from railway station to Gurdwara is approximately 2.5 km and it took around 10 minutes to reach the place. The area around Gurdwara is always bustling with crowd. So, food retail outlets like Subway, CCD, McDonald’s, Giani’s Ice cream and few other restaurants were opened till late at night.

Since it was not a planned trip, I had not booked a hotel and I had to spent a night in Gurdwara’s premises. It is very safe! There are hundreds of pilgrims sleeping on the Sarovar side and many more doing sewa (Service) like cleaning the floor, and reciting Gurbani (Holy Hymns). I decided to take a short nap before taking a dip in Holy water. I woke up at around 2:00 in the morning (you don’t feel that it’s 2:00 in the morning until you see the time in your watch as it is always full of people).  I got ready and headed to bow my head in front of Guru.  The aura of being inside the shrine (Gurdwara) with hundreds of other people who are dipped in faith is unexplainable. You need to be there to experience it! Tears automatically rolled down from my eyes. I experience it on every visit. After listening to Gurbani for some time, I came out to click photographs in blue hour and rising sun. It was only 6:00 in the morning and I was already so hungry. So before stepping out to search out a hotel, I decided to hop on some food. Punjab and Punjabi’s are known for their rich food. Food is not a problem in Punjab. Especially if you are in Amritsar. At any hour of time, you can get food, both inside or outside Gurdwara premises. I had heard about Giani’s Tea Stall on Queen’s road but never got a chance to pay a visit. So I hired a rickshaw to the place. It’s not very far from the shrine. This stall is years old and is famous for its masala cha(tea). Do not miss it if you are a tea addict! The creamy masala cha was sufficient to release the journey’s stress. I then  moved on to a hotel named Sita Niwas. It is a budget hotel. The room was very small and was not clean and I was too tired to search for another hotel. I slept for 2-3 hours before I started my food trail at Amritsar.

Immersed in yellow lights!

Immersed in yellow lights!

Breakfast @ Kanha Sweets

Breakfast @ Kanha Sweets

The first destination for breakfast was Kanha Sweets. It is in Lawrence road. Auto wallah charged 100 bucks for it. You can bargain till 80 bucks. If you are good at bargaining! Reaching there I got to know that this place is always crowded and one has to wait for sometime before getting a table. I got a table to share with two school girls, Manvi and Swati. Both of them were sweet enough to share their piece of information about the place. And I promised them to write about them in my blog. I hope that they read about it :). The poori chole at Kanha were tasty! After having breakfast I headed back to the shrine and devoured a much needed cup of coffee at CCD.

Mashaal @ Jallianwallah Bagh

Mashaal @ Jallianwallah Bagh

It was already noon and scorching sun was over my head. I went back to room to spend peaceful summer afternoon and cool myself. By the evening, I was ready to visit Jallianwallah bagh. This is a park which was built in the memory of people that were massacred on the occasion of Baisakhi by British Raj on orders of Gen. O’Dwyer. He was later assassinated by Sardar Udham Singh as the revenge of Jallianwallah bagh massacre. Late evening was spent inside the shrine again. The day had already retired. By now, Crescent moon had replaced scorching sun. I headed towards Langar Hall’ (kitchen) for food. The food served in Langar is simple. The best thing about Langar is that there is no discrimination. Everybody sits together in a row and waits for the food to be served.

It was 23:30, I then headed to my room. I had train in morning at 4:20. I left hotel at 3:30 and started my journey back to home.

It was a quick one day of ‘Spiritual Rejuvenation‘ at Amritsar. It filled me with positivity and I’m again back to my daily routine. Already feeling an urge to explore unknown.

The food joints that I missed out in this trip (but I have already visited in earlier trips) are:

1) Kesar Da Dhaba – for finger licking paranthas and lassi
2) Ahuja Di Lassi – for delightful lassi
3) Gurdas Ram Jalebi Wala – for mouthwatering Jalebis
4) Beere Da Chicken – for tempting non veg delicacies dipped in lots of butter

 

The place I missed is ‘Indo – Pak Border’ or ‘Wagah Border’. It is particularly known for the elaborate Wagah Border Ceremony that happens at the border gate, two hours before sunset each day. The flag ceremony is conducted by Indian Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistan Rangers.

People preparing food for Langar

People preparing food for Langar

 

Happy Clicking!

Happy Clicking!

People at Wagah (from previous visits)

People at Wagah (from previous visits)

 

Sunrise @ Golden Temple

Sunrise @ Golden Temple

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Niyati Misra
    Jun 08, 2015 @ 01:34:50

    My Beautiful Brave-heart sister, you inspire me to travel to unknown lands and to experience whatever awaits there…It is a pleasure reading your blogs… Right now I have this uncontrollable urge to go to Amritsar on my own (much like you) and feel each and every emotion in person penned down by you in this write up 🙂

    Reply

    • GurPreet Kaur
      Jun 08, 2015 @ 16:34:00

      Thank you my dear little sister. You are full of life! I’m glad that my posts inspired you to travel alone. I must confess that you my dear sister inspire me to be happy. Your infectious smile has taken my heart already. God bless you! Travel solo but be safe 🙂

      Reply

  2. theoldfellowgoesrunning
    Aug 15, 2015 @ 17:25:26

    Thank you for sharing!
    I have never been to India, and I loved reading this. You are so descriptive in your writing. Felt for your discomfort on the train, and how hard that must have been.
    My wife was born in India, and there till she was 9, so there is a bit of India connection. 🙂
    ~Carl~

    Reply

    • GurPreet Kaur
      Aug 17, 2015 @ 12:53:41

      Dear Carl! Thank you for your kind words. Glad to know about your Indian connection :).
      Sometimes it is difficult to travel solo. But that is what life is all about, “rising up from all our fears”. And there are more good men everywhere. I’m just back from Himachal in India. And the experience was incredible. Will soon come up with Himachal travelogue.

      Reply

  3. Dr.Rohith Reddy
    Sep 05, 2015 @ 23:48:36

    Beautifully written Kaur ji..:)

    Reply

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