Right. We're back from visiting the famous Golden Temple. What a beautiful thing at night. Covered in gold leaf and lit up. Our guide is a very personable young man named Shiv. Well his name is longer than that but he said, " call me Shiv."
Shiv used to work in call centres but left that to be a tour guide which he enjoys much more because "In this job people actually want to listen to what I say"
To enter the temple compound you first have to remove your shoes and socks and put on a head scarf. Then wash your hands and finally walk through a shallow pool. Amritsar is like Mecca for Sikhs and it is a welcoming place. How rare in this day and age to visit a place like this and not have to endure lines for bag checks and/or scans.its all taken on trust which is very refreshing. Sorry but going through my mind was the thought I hope the previous wearer of this scarf didn't have nits and how often do they wash these things anyway?
Shiv is knowledgeable and articulate and knew all the best vantage points to take photos. The mysterious ceremony was the putting to bed of the holy book. Every night they remove it from the temple in a gold palanquin and carry it to another building amid much chanting accompanied by blasts of a large curly horn which my googling tells me is a narsingha; a war horn. http://www.flickr.com/photos/teraroop11/1190403501/ The palanquin is festooned with garlands of flowers and carried to its sleeping place to be put to bed. Literally. Where it's kept looks like a room containing a bed and they even tuck it in with a white sheet and cover it with a cloth.
We spent some time after that wandering around the complex taking photos and even having our photos taken. We were approached by a man either a wife and little girl and asked if we would have our photos taken with them. No idea why, another of India's unexplained mysteries. Finally. We are exotic.
Upon return we discovered that Bernadette's bed still hadn't turned up. So off to reception. They duly installed it promptly. However we are concerned. We may get kicked out. Bernadette has developed this unhealthy compulsion to ring housekeeping for towels, coffee mugs and extra tea and coffee. After she hung up, she realised that there were 3 towels in the room and guiltily stashed it under our bed. So to sum up, the count is standing at 6 towels, 2 big coffee mugs and 3 tea cups along with 2 coffee sachets,5 tea bags, more creamers than you could poke a stick at and a partridge in a pear tree. Ok so I made that last bit up up. Oh and let's not forget her request for fresh milk earlier as well.
We don't have an early start tomorrow. Shiv isn't meeting us until 11 so we can have a lie in, take our time with showers and have a leisurely breakfast. Bernadette is pathetically keen for us to take showers, the more the better I suspect in order to assuage her guilty conscience over the surfeit of towels in our room.
Off On my way! to gave a cup of tea and another of those lovely cookies which were waiting for us in our room. Which is lovely by the way.