Welcome to a city that is bound by traditions. But then, you are equally welcome to a city that sets you free from the imaginary clutches of religion, fanatics and culture. A free-spirited yet committed, a highly-heritaged yet humble and a flashingly-coloured yet sober ‘Ambarsar‘ (or Amritsar as it is called now), is a cross pollination of assorted ideologies and also is a home to India’s greatest historical moments.
Though passionately Punjabi in every aspect, I am sure every soul will find his / her niche in this very dichotomic yet diverse diaspora.
Sh(r)ining alongside the outskirts of the lake, Amrit Sarovar (yeah, that’s how the city got its name perhaps!), the city shines and swells with pride as it takes us back in time as you pass through the Jallianwalah Bagh to go to the Golden Temple. The wounds of the massacre seem to have healed over the years but the scars and stains of innocent blood still pour a thousand words, that’s bound to get your eyes welled up. A silent monument stands tall at the entry to the historic wall and captures this in a way that is unimaginable.
The temple attempts to calm the tempest in every soul with its beatific carvings and scriptures which are unique masterpieces themselves. Add to the glory, the Guru Granth Sahib rests in supreme sublimity and peace as mortals across the globe assemble through and are prepared to stand in serpentine queues to catch a glimpse and pay respect. And this happens right through 3 AM to 12 AM (that’s like 21 hours!). The subdued chanting of live vocals in the temple adds a brilliant touch to the melancholic ambience.
And we are not yet done as the best is yet to dawn! The city presents another side of pride at the Wagah Border (or the Sarhad). Even if you are not the patriotic kinds, this place will transform you into one as patriotism, pride and valour assume a different meaning here. Despite the scorching heat at play, you can’t help but dance to the highly nationalistic tunes of the daily military march parade! And you will witness a mixed bag of emotions (exhilaration, vanity, spite and honour in particular) as you watch the ceremonial lowering of the flags from either sides during the dance-like parade moves.
Adding more to its kitty, the city also depicts a rising mall culture with an exponential dose of shopping, entertainment and food – all of these obviously with the sprightly Punjabi Tadka!
By the way, did I mention the city’s fetish for art is as fiery (if not more!) as Mumbai? An artist (Bollywood or a home-grown actor, Sufi singer, a painter and the likes) is seen almost every third day at an inaugural or a new launch or even a marathon run opening. Randeep Hooda was spotted at Hyatt where we stayed (like I said, you don’t have to go far to sight an artist!). The actor had apparently come down to embark upon a marathon kick off.
So guys, if you are the spry and agile types, watch out for this multifaceted and sh(r)iny city! Worth a visit or two, if not more 😉