Where's Malcolm? travel blog

The border ceremony from the Indian side at Wagah.

Entering the Golden Temple at Amritsar.

The Golden Temple at Amritsar.



Its over the border and into India. Wagah is the only official border crossing between Pakistan and India, and it was surprisingly quiet; I was the only one in the departure building on the Pakistan side. It was then a case of hanging around for an hour or so to see the border ceremony from the Indian side, and the Indians were noticably less passionate than their rivals. Whilst waiting for the ceremony to start, I got talking to an Indian couple who offered me a lift to Amritsar, and then bumped into them again that night at a restaurant in Amritsar.

Amritsar is the home of the Golden Temple and the axis of the Sikh religion. The sikh temples are supposed to be hospitable to strangers, so I stayed in the Golden Temple on my first night in the part designated for foreigners. The accomodation was basic of course but what I didn't expect was the level of noise which goes on the whole night; earplugs are definately required. The temple hands out free food to visitors so I had to try some with Erin, and American who had also just arrived. We followed that by looking around the temple and saw those two books which must be the equivalent of the bible for Sikhs.

After not much sleep on very hard beds (I cant complain, it was free after all) I booked myself into a hotel, and spent the next day looking around Amritsar and sorting out my move onto Pushkar.

I spent one month in India in 1999, and the one thing that struct me in my short time here is this thing called 'the new India'. Apparently its all about a new young Indian middle class spending all of their cash on western clothes and going out, and it was particularly noticable at the border ceremony as most younger Indians were in their jeans and shirts, and without that red mark on their foreheads. They probably won't admit it, but the New Indians want to be western.

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