Saturday, 6 June 2009

Amritsar, Punjab

I read this book "Shame" by a British Punjabi woman, Jasvinder Sanghera, talking about the force marriage and "live for the honour of the family", which are still existing in the Sikh/Indian/Pakistani community in Britain. She herself is borned and raised in Britain, but ran away from home to resist the force marriage at the age of 15, to a man in India who she has never knew or even met. She is disowned by her own family and been an outcast ever since. With her determination to help the other women who went through the same trauma as her, she set up Karma Nirvana, a community-based organisation to support the South Asian woman afected by domestic vilence and honour-based crimes. She araised my interest to see this holy place of Sikh, Amritsar.

I met with this young Hindu couple and visited the Hindu temple with them. There were on their honeymoon and were there to receive their blessing from the priest. They said, they had to run away from home due to the family objection for their marriage. They are from different caste.

What to see:

What else but the holy golden temple? The most significant place of worship of the Sikhs and one of the oldest Sikh gurdwaras. The temple is surrounded by a large Sarovar (manmade lake), known as the AmritSar (Lake of Holy Water or Immortal Nectar). All, man and woman, sikh or not, have to remove shoes and cover hair to enter the temple compound.

The worker or volunteer were preparing the chapati for all the devotees and visitors.

Go to the Indian-Pakistani border to feel the heat of the border ceremony.

What to drink: Chai!

Indian Chai is irresistable!

What to eat:

All are allowed to eat for free in Golden Temple. The atmosphere in the dinning hall was great. Queue up with the devotees and sit on the floor. Eating the simple rice and dal with hand. This is the generosity and equality preached by this religion.

What to do:

Shop for the cooked snacks, fresh fruits and vegetable from the small merchants!

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