Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

First visit to the Golden Temple

From Hotel Ista, MBM Farms  in Amritsar: I arrived in Amritsar today morning from Delhi. This is the first time I am visiting the historic city. Hotel Ista, where I have put up, is at par with any of the five star deluxe hotel properties of Delhi or Mumbai in terms of service, standard of rooms and facilities.
This Hotel is owned by the same gentleman who owns the world-famous Ananda Spa near Dehra Dun. No doubt it reflects a certain class and efficiency especially in spa service.
From the Airport, I straight headed for the Golden Temple. This trip wasn’t planned and did not feature in my itinerary. A good friend of mine from Kolkata was en route to Amritsar via Delhi. It was just a spur-of-the-moment decision to accompany her for a day to visit this historical city and the Golden Temple.
The morning visit to the Golden Temple was a unique experience. The gurdwara looks so beautiful surrounded by water and especially when the sun’s golden rays falls on the resplendent golden dome of the temple bathing it in a golden halo. I find everything very organised, neat and clean. Starting from tying a cloth on my head outside the gurdwara, to washing my feet, to buying and offering prasad and and finally praying at the Guru Granth Saheb.
Within the Temple precincts, so many images and scenes from the movies and television of Bhindranwale and others flashed across my mind.
Whenever I visit any religious place from Balaji temple, Tirupati, Ajmer Sharif Dargah,Kali mandir, Birla temple in Kolkata or St Paul’s Cathedral, I feel a great inner peace. I don’t know whether it is due to the peaceful atmosphere that prevails at the religious centers. It is a fact that our religious centers, namely mandirs, masjids, gurdwaras andchurches, are the strongest pillars of our faith and inner strength. It is the faith that moves millions in this country to go on and on.
I spent quite sometime observing the queue that presented a panoramic view of faithful who had come to pay their homage. There were village folks and farmers from the rural areas, newly wedded couples, parents with their newborn babies and NRI Sikhs from the United States and Canada accompanied by their Western friends in
 Punjabi attire. But the common thread that brought all of them together was – faith.
I also visited the Jalianwala Bagh and the Old Kotwali from where General Dyer had given the orders to shoot the innocent at the Jalianwala Bagh.  I had lunch at the famous Bharwan ka Dhaba. The Dhaba was established in 1912 and is famous for its mahan ki dal, chana and Amritsari parantha. The third generation of Dhaba owners is running it successfully, catering to the religious tourists.
 Wagah border is just about 30 kilometres from Amritsar and then a further 30 kms away across the border lies Lahore. Thinking about Punjab, Amritsar and the great history of Sikhs and their sacrifice from the times of Maharaja Ranjit Singh to Udham Singh, I had a feeling that the Partition had caused an irreparable loss to the state.
I recalled that it was mentioned in the novel Freedom at Midnight that how Lord Mountbatten took a pencil in his hand, due to paucity of time, and drew a line that became the India-Pakistan border splitting Punjab into two. That was the reason many villages and few houses were half in India and half in Pakistan.
I wonder if both the countries would have been better off without the Partition.
ess bee

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