Friday, January 6, 2012

Amritsar; Golden Temple, Jallianwala Bagh Garden, the Grand Wazoo

January 6th, 2008

We got up early and headed back to the Golden Temple, were we spent the entire morning.

It was more serene in the early morning setting than the carnival atmosphere of the night before, but equally enchanting.

Before noon, we left for lunch, and explored the town a little, walking through dilapidated alleys, dodging scooters and rickshaws. One rickshaw brushed passed and the carriage got caught on my pants pocket, tearing the pocket down the front, and carrying me along with it. Out of reflex, I quickly reached out to grab a hold of the frame of the carriage but accidentally grabbed the young woman sitting in it. In my panic, I didn't even realize I had my hand on her, until she let out a screech. The good thing was, it caught the attention of the driver and he stopped. I got unhooked and apologized to the girl then quickly checked to make sure my underwear weren't exposed! Thankfully, they weren't, the way the pants were designed, the pocket was an extra piece of material sewn over the leg.

We found a small garden that Masumi wanted to visit and it was a nice place to catch our breath and relax for a while, before returning a final time to the temple. It turns out that it was the Jallianwala Bagh Garden, the site of the terrible massacre depicted in the 1982 film, Gandhi:

Once again, we passed through the small, mandatory pool of gritty water to wash our feet, and I started to worry of the shape my feet would be in later and wondered who the water that thousands of people were splashing their feet in was supposed to make my feet any cleaner? Once inside the complex, there was no mental capacity left over for concern. The sky had begun to clear and the sparkle of the gold-plated temple consumed my attention.

Once again, we walked around the perimeter of the lake, admiring each angle. Every time I looked at the temple was just as thrilling as the time before. Eventually, I encountered a man who I thought might have been the possible guru from the night before, except his turban, and costume in general, was border-line ridiculous. He already spotted me taking his photo earlier, and motioned for me to take his photo with the Golden Temple behind him. He puffed up his chest in a dignified pose, and I thought I'd have to get out my wide angle lens to fit all of his turban in, but turning my camera sideways, I just managed to get it. I dubbed him "the Grand Wazoo" and swore I would never forget him as long as I lived!

Frank Zappa · The Grand Wazoo

Patiently enduring the 40 minute queue along the causeway, we visited the temple once more, admiring the view from the outdoor balcony on top and getting an up close look at the gold-covered roof that looked like an inverted flower.

All good things must come to an end, though, and it was time for us to head to Delhi. Masumi's time is just about up before she was heading back to Japan, and I will continue my pilgrimage through Varanasi, after seeing a few sights in Delhi.

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