Amritsar was the most northern point of our journey around India. I had really wanted to go further north but the temperatures plummeted at the time of our trip and we were not prepared for cold weather at all.

We stayed within in the old town ( a few mins walk from the Golden Temple) and I remember the food in the tiny basic cafes surrounding us to be pretty awesome. There was an abundance of shoe shops in the area and I believe a pair of  pointed ‘Jutti’ (Indian leather shoes of various colours and embroidered) shoes were purchased by my very happy travel companion.

We had to cover our heads to enter the areas surrounding the Golden Temple (my pashmina came in handy for this as main picture). Within the complex there is the notably grand Amrit Sarovar pool from which Amritsar takes its name.The water is said to have healing powers and pilgrims travel long distances to bath here. It is beautifully surrounded by a marble walkway and at the centre of this is the golden temple. Yes there is real gold on it!  I believe the dome is gilded with 750kgs of actual gold. It is such a tranquil place to visit and it is free to enter even for tourists!

We could not travel this far without visiting the famous India/Pakistan border at Attari Wagah. We arranged to share a car journey with a few others staying in the same place although regardless of how you travel there is around a 2km walk to the border. I was aware there would be a military ceremony from both sides but was not prepared for quite how many people would be there and the theatre style step seating ready to sit us all on arrival. The ceremony happens everyday and I am led to believe it is always this busy.

The march is all very serious but with a hint of humour and it lasted around thirty minutes. There is a lot of high steps, legs everywhere moves (think Zorba on too many red bulls!) The observers were chanting and applauding ( I got the feeling many of them were regulars). It is all surprisingly good natured and it would be very easy to forget the tense relationship between both countries. I was lucky enough to get a photo with a few of the very well dressed guards right at the end.

A great experience unlike any other border crossing I have ever witnessed.

 

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