From Delhi to Amritsar and the Golden Temple.

We were still in shock of being in India when we had to leave the most horrible hostel I have stayed and traveled at night to Amritsar. My sister, who was living in that country for several months booked four tickets bus with “bed” for two but in that space only one person could sleep properly. So that night we slept between elbows, suitcases and Thai hats, with raised legs and my cousins dying of cold because their window did not work and it opened all the time. They were definitely not happy. We came to this desolate town and we everyone started to talk to us, we run away from there and we start looking for a hotel or somewhere where we could leave our bags to enjoy the Golden Temple of Amritsar. At the end we realized that in the same temple were options and we leave them there. It was very cold and to enter we has to take off our shoes, my cousin did not want to do this and chose not to enter, at that time he was the most reluctant to India, so he sat in a wrapped bench with his teddy bears blanket. We did not think twice and took off our shoes, the floor is marble so it is very cold, I began to shake a little, but with every step the cold was less. We enter the courtyard where we already could see the temple and I remember thinking about how silly it was my cousin because loosing the chance to see that was crazy. Its beautiful.

This temple is the most important for Sikhs and, as I understand, those who practice this religion go at least once in their life. I remember everything was white, it was a building of that color with a “courtyard,” in the middle there was a lake/pond and in the middle of it was the golden temple. You could go to him only by a straight road and you had to wait in line. Before entering the Golden Temple there were some people who offered food, it was something sweet I never knew it’s name, I did not like it much. I could hear music coming from that place and when I entered I saw why. They had some people playing some of instruments that I had never seen. Everybody was surrounding them and singing with them and they were also praying. At that time you could not speak, You felt an immense peace and every song, every note in there was majestic. We all witnessed it in silence and I’m sure we all felt the same, it was impossible not to feel it. When we left there we saw men and women put some water in his hands and drink it. I did it too. Then they said they did so because they believed that this water is sacred.

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Another thing I remember was that at one point I saw a man in a small wooden boat in the water, there was something about the light that made him look even more mystical than it already was. I also remember the silence, one that was at times and then ebbed and it was there when we could hear music. At one point, shortly before we left, we saw men with microphones and instruments like the ones we saw inside the temple but smaller, they were there singing. Everyone who passed remained with them, standing, in order to listen and appreciate. Then we walked and watched as some people went into the water and dived, we were told they did this to cleanse their souls (women had an awning that can not see them as they do this).

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I know I was not long in India and I missed seeing much but I’m sure that what I saw was worth it. This temple is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been, and that thing I felt between prayers and songs, that calm, it is very difficult to find. And I found it in Amritsar.

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