Disclaimer: Please don't get carried away by the headline. I take onus of what I write and not what you understand. Still wondering what is in store down below? Read on.
Amritsar (Ambersar as the city is locally termed), is a peace loving and a God fearing city. With Lahore as its neighbour, this was the least one would expect. Its ancient and victorian feel takes you back in time and flashes a very predominant pre-independent persona. Culturally rich and famous, this city moves at its own pace.
The month of August saw a flying visit to the historic city of Amritsar. Flying visit in the true sense of the term. In the sense, I landed on August 24th 1400 hours and was back to pavilion the next day, same time. (Economic insensitivity at its best!)
Though the single point agenda was the Golden Temple, on reaching the city I learnt that Amritsar had more than what met the eye. I learnt it was home to the historical lane of Jalianwalah Bagh (where the then British Commander-in-Chief, Gen. Dyer fired at thousands of innocent unarmed Indians causing tremendous bloodshed), thanks to self discovery by my husband who landed there the previous day. And then there was the hair-raising Wagah Border! And we also had to catch up with our good friends, Amit and Navjot, who were in the 'Just Married' league. (They got married on Aug 22 which we had conveniently missed owing to our social insensitivity!)
So complimenting my not-so-restful nature, there were too many things on the plate, the most important one being the Golden Temple.
Others were the 'by-the-way' ones. So we did do a touch and go at Wagah Border, managed to shed a tear at Jalianwalah Bagh and spent the whole evening till sundown at the temple. We also managed socialising with Amit and Navjot, the newly weds that very night. Indeed did a lot in less time, much to my satisfaction. Not to miss, the four of us also rang in my 16th birthday that same night (Yeah, 16 till I die…you are smarter than I thought)
As Pluto correctly mentioned, a city is what it is because its people are what they are. Full marks to the earnestness, truthfulness and integrity of Ambarsariyas. You could get away with a haversack or a backpack without an iota of doubt on its contents during the visit to the Golden Temple. (Remember the late Kasab?) No electronic security surveillance, no frisking, nothing. Just plain and simple trust. I think that is a WOW the city exudes. A sort of a delight for visitors.
The next on the mention is the Amritsari hospitality. We stayed at Country Inn (20 kms from Guru Ramdas Airport) when I almost gave up hope of the real authentic Punju culinary delight. Earlier we had decided to stay at the Radisson, a hotel which was known to be at least 2 levels higher than Country Inn where the finger-licking Punjabi food was a given. But having said that, for a less than 8 hour in-room experience, we settled for Country Inn as that made more economic sense. Believe you me, we were in for a big surprise. At just 3500 a night, this hotel is an affordable luxury! And not only did it serve authentic Punjabi food, but also an almost-authentic Tamilian cuisine. This cosmopolitan multi-cuisine spread won brownies making it 2 WOWs in a row for the city and its citizens.
What we missed was the Parade at Wagah Border, the Langar at the Temple and the Bagh (Seems there was actually a garden there) at the Jalianwalah Bagh, the authentic Punju cuisine and shopping of the Phulkaari Dupattas. But no regrets at all. As I wrap up this post, the Punjab experience still lingers green in my memory. I think it's the best Birthday I've ever had. The best in the last 16 years, if you know what I mean