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Cousins are your first batch of best friends, right? Do days go like minutes with them? Be it the good old summer vacation days, or a long-awaited trip! Here, I am taking you on such an amusing trip filled with laughter, lame jokes, weird dances, games, fights, teases and what not. I will show you how a random conversation among a group of cousins turns into a fun-filled trip to the Golden Temple.
So, we were a group of eight cousins, basically from Indore. Since we were all at different places, we decided to meet up in Delhi and then proceed. This was our first ‘only cousins’ trip, so we had only 3-4 days. Visiting the Golden Temple is on everyone’s checklist. So, we decided to spend time in this beautiful city.
Below is a brief overview of how we proceeded:
- 8th October: Delhi to Amritsar by Bus.
- 9th October: Visited Golden Temple, Jallianwala Bagh, Attari Border.
- 10th October: Return Train to Indore.
Bus Journey from Delhi to Amritsar
We had reached Delhi by the evening of 8th October. After initial rounds of laughter and ‘long-time no-see‘ sessions, we went to munch on some popular delicacies of Delhi like Chola Bhaturas, kulchas, parathas and chat.
To save our travel time, we opted for an overnight journey. We had our seats booked in advance to avoid the last-minute hassle. We boarded the bus from the ISBT Kashmiri Gate at 11 pm. Night temperatures during October are bone-chilling in North India. We realized it soon, as the journey started. Thanks to our parents who made us carry warm clothes and extra sheets.
We reached Amritsar on 9th October at 8 am. The bus got delayed and disturbed our timing a bit. The temple was less than 2 km from the bus stand. So, we hired rickshaws. The driver helped us in getting a hotel near the temple. We got freshened up and headed towards the temple. But seeing the crowds on the way, we decided to visit the Jallianwala Bagh monument first.
The newly renovated Jallianwala Bagh is very close to the entrance of the temple. British era monuments are mesmerizing amid the lush green gardens. The presentations in the museums gave great insights into the incidents that took place on 13th April 1919. There is no entry fee.
Every corner of the place tells an emotional and heart-touching story of the killings of innocent people. Bullet marks on the walls seem so fresh. The Martyr’s Well stands testimony to the ruthless killings of innocent. It was a very insightful tour of the Indian history that the common man of that time had faced.
Then we headed towards the temple. On the way, you’ll see many locals selling items like scarves, caps, goggles and even footwear. Inside the temple premises, there are various facilities available for the tourists, totally free of cost. These include shoe rooms, cloakrooms, water, and washrooms. There is also a facility of lodging at affordable rates.
On the gate, there is an arrangement of flowing water. Here you can clean your feet before entering the Gurdwara.
Having your head covered is a must inside the temple premises. You can bring a scarf or dupatta to cover your head. They also provide headcovers.
After entering, you can see the beautiful Golden Temple, shining bright under the sunrays. The Harmandir Sahib, or Darbar Sahib as it is known. The Gurdwara is surrounded by a large pool of water where devotees take holy dips and pay respect. There is a separate facility for women behind the temple.
We decided to visit the main temple at night because we were running late. So, we went towards the Langar hall on the left of the Gurudwara. The devotion of the people here was amazing. From serving food to washing the dishes, they were doing it so happily, reciting “Waheguru-Waheguru”.
We booked a cab from the Golden Temple and left for the very famous parade ceremony at Attari-Wagah Border. It is around 28 km from the Gurdwara. The Indian Flag at the stadium can be seen from a long distance on the way.
The retreat ceremony starts around 4:15 pm during the winter. We reached there at around 3 pm. Entry here is free. You can also book tickets online. But we didn’t know this earlier, so we had to wait in a long queue.
Around 3:30 pm, we entered the grand stadium, already full of people. The Pakistani side of the stadium is also clearly visible. Since we arrived early, we were able to grab good seats. This ensured an overall good experience of the ceremony.
Watching the disciplined and active army personnel in their uniforms is a feeling in itself. Their voice full of energy brings out the patriotism in everyone present there.
Overall, the retreat ceremony was a vibe, full of patriotism, energy, enthusiasm, and respect for the armed forces.
We left the border at around 7 pm. On the way back, we stopped for dinner at a Dhaba. Then we headed towards the temple.
Golden Temple at Night
Nights at the Golden Temple cannot be missed. We were really amazed to see the crowd at 9 pm. To enter the main temple, we had to wait for another hour in the queue.
Finally, we could witness the holy Granth Sahib inside the main temple. Then we rested for some time near the lake. The place has a different aura. Even with such a huge crowd, you can feel calm energy that soothes your soul.
We relaxed here for some time, clicked many pictures, and moved to our hotel.
The Long Journey Back Home
Our train to Indore left at 2 am. This was a 25 hour-long journey. But with your cousins, how can it seem long! Played cards along with Music, jokes and snacks.
On 10th October, we arranged for the food on the way itself. A friend delivered freshly prepared home-cooked food at Shivpuri station.
Reached Indore the midnight of 11th October. Nobody was in the mood to sleep. Cards, music and dancing continued here. Went out for an early morning tea at 5 am.
Some Tips to Remember
- Don’t forget to cover your head before entering the Golden Temple premises. And remember, your head should be covered properly. Else, the sevaks there may warn you. They are very strict on this.
- You should go for pre-booking of entry tickets at Attari border to avoid long waits.
- Be an early bird for the retreat ceremony. Getting an ideal seat is very important to have a perfect view.
- Shopping outside Attari Border. There are different vendors selling clothes, shoes, and handicrafts outside the border.
So, keep these points in mind when planning your trip to the Golden Temple. If you’ve visited, add your experiences in the comment section below.