We went to a friend’s wedding in Sri Lanka on our way home from India. The wedding was held in the capital Colombo.
Much of two days there was spent with other visiting friends (mainly eating glorious seafood), and then there was the beautiful Buddhist wedding.
Whilst brief, it was a really enjoyable side trip and end to our adventures – we’d love to go there again someday!
The following morning we visited the temple again, before heading to Jallianwala Bagh, a memorial garden for the 1919 massacre. There were many families and tourists strolling through the gardens, visiting the museum explains the tragic occurrences of that day.
We had lunch and then headed back to the hotel where we had arranged a trip to the Wagah border, the road that separates India and Pakistan. Each day, a border closing ceremony is held at sunset where the Indian and Pakistani security forces perform an aggressive but comical military ‘routine’ whilst the gates are closed. When we arrived on our bus, there were many people there already. Street vendors were selling drinks, food, Indian flags and all sorts of souvenirs. It was far more popular an event that I recall during my last visit. The gates were closed and it was sweltering. We lined up, packed amongst what seemed like zillions of Indians and tourists. A fair bit of pushing and shoving took place as everyone was anxious to get into the stands over looking the ceremony. Eventually, they opened the gates to let everyone in. Fortunately, there is a tourist entrance – we were security checked and allowed in. The tourist section was one of the better positions giving us great views of the ceremony.
The Wagah border ceremony started with children passing flags to one another, followed by an entertaining display of military might. The crowd support (in both size and noise) from the India side far exceeded the Pakistani side, which also seemed to be gender segregated (from what we could see).
It was an enjoyable event and by the time we reached our hotel it was nightfall.
After a long train ride from Udaipur to Delhi, and then another long bus from Delhi to Amritsar we arrived at the spiritual centre of the Sikh faith.
We checked into a hotel near the city’s main attraction – the Golden Temple. By then, the sun was setting so we decided to take a walk to the temple. It was a lot busier than I experienced during my last visit in 2006 – and we lined up alongside many Sikh families to put our shoes into storage, wash our feet before entering, and for Travis to collect a scarf for his head.
The grandeur and magnificence of the Golden Temple is breathtaking as one first enters the area. It is set on one side of a huge man-made lake of water. Whilst witnessing the temple’s dazzling gold exterior is amazing, seeing the many, many Sikhs make their pilgrimage to this sacred place quite a moving experience. Many were walking around the temple, as we were, others sat quietly and respectfully on the edge of the holy lake. The place was so alight with colourful turbans, and sarees.
After circling the Golden Temple, we went into the Langar canteen. The generous Sikh community offer free food for anybody who enters the Langar – and anybody can have a meal as often as they wish. The meal is simple – everybody entering receives a traditional thali steel plate and a steel bowl for water. Upon entering the canteen, people sit in rows cross legged on the floor. The volunteers who serve the food pass through each row, placing dahl, water, bread on each person’s plate.
Jodhpur was our next stop after Pushkar. We met a friendly rickshaw driver at the bus stop and he took us to our hostel, a really lovely quaint place which had some views of the Mehrangarh Fort. We had lunch and decided to wander around by foot to the old city and markets. It was an interesting walk, plenty of narrow streets filled with colourful houses, children giggling and shouting hellos to us, stalls selling sweets and sarees. The old city was centred around a clocktower with the Fort looming in the background. We walked around the markets which were very local, we didn’t spot too many tourists around.
The following day, we had breakfast at a stall in the old town famed for their omelettes (after spending a fair bit of time trying to figure which was, in fact the correct stall). I had a plain omelette (was still recovering from stomach issues) but have to admit, it was pretty good. We then walked up along a winding road to the Fort (located 122 metres above the city) for a visit. The weather was warm and while it was a long, sweltering walk, it was worth it.
The Mehrangarh Fort was one of the most spectacular forts I’d visited, filled with brilliant palaces. The view from the top of the fort to the surrounding city is marvellous and allows you to understand why Jodhpur is known as the Blue City.
Treasures of Mehrangarh Museum
Throughout the Mehrangarh Fort there are many galleries displaying priceless treasures including elephant’s howdahs, palanquins, armoury and paintings.