Amritsar is the home city of the Sikhs and the site of their main temple, the Harmandir Sahib (better known as the Golden Temple). We stayed there both before and after our trip by car to Dharamsala.
Amritsar  A friendly fruit seller near our hotel in Amritsar. The small brownish fruit on top of the pile are chikkus, not kiwis. We discovered them on this trip. They are the fruit of the sapodilla tree and are sweet and malty flavored. Delicious! in12 020510100 j a Amritsar  Street leading down to the Golden Temple, whose white towers are just visible at the end Amritsar  Monument to the thousands of Indians slaughtered in the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre on 13 April 1919. The Indians were meeting peacefully in this enclosed walled space when British Gen. Dyer panicked and had his 50 soldiers fire on them -- for about 10 minutes. Official estimates are of 379 killed and 1,100 wounded. Other estimates count over 1,000 dead.  Dyer had his men fire especially towards the dense parts of the crowds and towards the exit gates. On return to England, he was hailed by conservative elements as a hero, causing Rabindranath Tagore to renounce his knighthood. Amritsar  The rectangles indicated bullet holes still visible in this wall.
Amritsar  Two happy scarf sellers who have just sold Siv a happy scarf. Amritsar  Inside the enclosure of the Harmandir Sahib (the "Temple of God"), the Golden Temple of the Sikhs. The present Golden Temple dates from 1764 Amritsar  The temple sits in the middle of the "Amritsar",  the "Pool of the Nectar of Immortality" Amritsar  Swedish tourist with happy scarf Amritsar  American tourist with orange hankie on head
Amritsar  Street of once-nice houses and spreading electric wires, near our hotel Amritsar  Near the Attari-Waggah border crossing between India and Pakistan, these ladies have been frisked (behind the corrugated-iron screen) and admitted. Amritsar  Gentlemen are frisked in public, on a rickety stool, for all to see. Amritsar  Indian gate to the border area, with crowds of fans filling the bleachers Amritsar  Young Indians dancing in the street. For a more detailed description of this curious event, see John's blog,  Sunrise in Varanasi, sunset in Attari -- please click here.
Amritsar  Typical tall, headdressed Indian border soldier Amritsar  Holding out a long note for the microphones.. Amritsar  ...before strutting off to the border. Yes, these are ladies. Amritsar  Roost..., uh, soldiers strutting to the border Amritsar  On the other side of the gates, the black-clad Pakistani border guards sport headwear similar to that of their Indian counterparts.
Amritsar  As the sun slowly sets in the southwest... Amritsar  ... laborers carry materials on their heads as they have been doing for centuries Amritsar  Descending flags about to cross over each other Amritsar  Kilometers-long queue of Indian trucks waiting to send produce across the border Amritsar  Entrance to the Mata (Hindu) Temple in Amritsar
Amritsar  This is undoubtedly the silliest temple we have ever visited. It's as much carnaval labyrinth as temple. You go upstairs and downstairs... Amritsar  Siv coming out of a low tunnel which has to be crawled or stooped through (Look out, your preposition is dangling...) Amritsar  Swedish tourist admiring colorful, na�ve mosaics Amritsar  Mosaic linga with head of Shiva on top. The smaller lingas surrounding it may represent the zodiac. Amritsar  These mosaic hills reminded us of some paintings of Andrej Pagnkov.
Amritsar  Kitschy cockeyed Kali Amritsar  Pillared hall of mosaiced columns and lingas Amritsar  There's a passage you must wade through. Amritsar  The Mata Temple commemorates this 20th-century female saint with spectacles, Lal Devi. Amritsar  Wonderful noise machine. When activated, it bangs a drum, clangs symbols together and rings a bell. Quel vacarme! What a racket! It appears this is pleasing to the god(s).
Amritsar  The shrine to Lal Devi Amritsar  Not to be outdone -- much... -- the Hindus have their temple in a tank too, the Sri Durgiana Temple. Amritsar  In opposition to the Sikh Golden Temple, the Sri Durgiana Temple is referred to as the Silver Temple, because of the silver reliefs on the doors, like this one of Ganesh. Amritsar  The Silver Temple has its share of gold too. Amritsar  Hanuman in Amritsar - more kitsch
Amritsar  The Sri Durgiana Temple in its tank Amritsar  More cars and motorcycles Amritsar  Almost hidden behind some stores, we found a small mosque where some gentlemen chatted with us and nicely offered us a cup of tea. Amritsar  We had met a local at the Golden Temple the day before and again today in town. He was an off-duty guide who showed us around the artisans' districts in town. Very interesting. Amritsar  In the woodcarvers' quarter, this man is clearly pleased with his work.
Amritsar  Carving while listening to his mp3 player Amritsar  More wood-carving artists Amritsar  Horse-drawn carts are not that common in India. Amritsar  View of the Golden Temple from the roof of our hotel Amritsar  Meanwhile, back at the Harmandir Sahib, two young ladies wanted John to "take picture".
Amritsar  Evening coming on over the Harmandir Sahib Amritsar  A lovely, happy and very friendly family Amritsar  The Harmandir Sahib by night