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|India – Spring 2007
Amritsar’s grandeur was temporarily hidden from us on our arrival as rain had followed us on our journey from Dharamsala. With the rain clouds gone, we set off the next morning for the city’s main attraction: the Golden Temple. This temple is one of the most holy sites for Sikhs, making Amritsar somewhat of an unofficial capital. The Golden Temple is basically a rectangular box with the inside space taken up by a pool. Jutting into the middle of this pool of holy nectar is the actual temple structure, plated in gold (hence the name). Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, believed in equality across castes, genders, vocations, etc. Thus, they express this with free meals for all at the temple, soup kitchen style. We, as frugal Mennonites, obviously embraced this opportunity. The only problem was that it displayed to all present at the meal my inability to sit cross-legged comfortably.
Afterwards, we had the opportunity to talk to some knowledgeable Sikhs who informed us about what Sikhism is. Sikh doctrine stands for one God, often stating that all are welcome. I found myself agreeing with most they had to say, yet they couldn’t hide their warrior caste background and militaristic history.
The following day we stopped at an art museum and a summer palace before heading out to Delhi by train in the evening. We said goodbye to the cold, the North, the beautiful mountains, and an awesome restaurant that served amazing Italian food.
- Greg Blosser