Celebrate India – Guru Nanak Jayanti with Yatra.comI have been to Harmandir Sahib, more popularly known as the Golden Temple in Amritsar,countless times since childhood and every single time it reveals something new about itself orhelps me discover something new about myself. I marvel at its unparalleled beauty but moreimportantly it’s the soul of the place that really puts my mind at ease. My last visit was duringGuru Nanak Jayanti and believe me, there is no better time to visit Golden Temple.Guru Nanak Jayantialso known asGurupurab,is is celebrated tohonour the birth of Guru Nanak Dev,founder of Sikhism. The festival iscelebrated on the full moon day, inthe month of Kartik (October,November) as per the Hinducalendar.The stunning beauty of GoldenTemple in the thin early morning fogcombined with the hymn recitationon the loud speakers is a unique,‘one of a kind’ spiritual experience.Celebrations are for a period of 3 days. During the first two days Akhand Paath (a non-stopreading of the Guru Granth Sahib, sikhs’ holy book) is held in all the gurdwaras. The day prior tothe birthday, a procession is taken out on the streets. The procession carries the sikh flag calledNishan Sahib and the Paalki (Palanquin) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. This is one of the culturalhighlights of this festival. The Golden Temple procession includes singers, brass bands, ‘Gatka’teams (martial artists) who display their swordsmanship and hundreds of devotees. The entirecity of Amritsar is decorated & lit up and Harmandir Sahib itself is transformed into a heavenlyabode. It is a wonderfully managed event - the streets and Golden Temple were kept absolutelyspic and span by both, authorities and devotees. Drinking & smoking are strictly forbidden, notonly inside Harmandir Sahib but also anywhere within the site.The best place to observe and participate in the festivities and rituals is from within the GoldenTemple itself. The day of Gurupurab started with Asa-di-Var (morning hymns) and hymns fromthe scriptures followed by Katha (exposition of the scripture). The rituals concluded with a hugeLangar(community lunch) at the gurudwara. However, the best part was that the meals were
free for all, like they always are around theyear in all gurudwaras around the world. Iwas astonished to find that on weekendsand festivals over a lakh people are servedmeals throughout the day. This is a strikingexample of the service and devotionshowcased by the sikh community.Amritsar is an extremely popular northIndian city and has a lot of historical andcultural significance. Apart from GoldenTemple the other star attractions are the Jalianwala Bagh and the Wagah(India-Pakistan)Border. Jalianwala Bagh is the site of the massacre of freedom fighters that took place beforeindependence. It has now been converted into a memorial of historical significance. The WagahBorder too, gets the people really fired up. Every evening a spectacular retreat ceremony called“lowering the flags” is held. The heavy stomping of soldiers’ feet, the disciplined andsynchronized marching and the calling out of loud commands witness the ceremony, all make itsodifficult to not be overwhelmed by the patriotic fervor. A couple of other places that I thinkare worth the visit are The Durgiana Temple (a Hindu temple built on the model similar to thatof The Golden Temple) and The Mata Temple famous for its labyrinthine like caves.Traditionally, women go there for pray and wish for an offspring.Last but not the least, there is one more thing about Amritsar that is famous not only in Indiabut throughout the world - FOOD. Almost everytraditional dish is cooked in makhhan (butter),malai or desi ghee. Some essential items that one should try while in Amritsar are kulche, chole-puri, dal-makhani, halwa, jalebi and last but definitely not the least the famous AmritsariLassiwith lots of malai. Some famous joints where you findthese items are Kesardhaba, Bharavan the Dhaba,Bansal sweets, Kulcha Land and Kanhaiya sweets.Trust me, if you do not indulge your taste buds whilevisitingAmritsar, you made that trip in vain.Irrespective of what religious community you belongto, do visit The Golden Temple at least once in yourlife. Its doors are always open to all.May the blessings of Baba Ji always be with you,
Wishing you all happy and safe travelling,Until next time,Ciao,JoyConnect with Yatra.com on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as well.