Thursday, January 21, 2010

Amritsar...The pool of the nectar of immortality...

I was bursting with excitement as we slowly approached Amritsar on our Shatabdi Express. I had heard so much about this beautiful city, that I just could not wait to get off the train to experience it for myself. The train journey itself was very comfortable and pleasant without the usual crowds. We left Delhi on time, early in the morning, and 7 hours later, we reached Amritsar. The food and service on board the Shatabdi Express were top notch.

After a quick lunch at our hotel, we left at around 3.30pm to head towards the Attari-Wagah border. The drive to Attari was very scenic, and we got to see the bright yellow mustard fields that we see so often in Bollywood movies. An hour or so later, we arrived in Attari and quickly proceeded to the VIP sector of the stands. For those planning a trip to Amritsar, make sure you get the VIP tickets, otherwise you will be sandwiched in the crowds and won't be able to really see or enjoy much.

A sense of pride took over me as I saw the Indian soldiers neatly dressed in their khaki uniforms and red turbans. They were getting prepared for their routine "flag lowering ceremony". Across the border, I could watch the Pakistani soldiers in their dark green uniforms and turbans also preparing themselves. Much of the crowd on the Indian side consisted of Indians from different parts of the country and many European tourists. On the Pakistani side, however, there were far fewer people, but they were equally enthusiastic.

The parade started and the crowds got mad on both sides, cheering for their own countries. I, myself, got sucked into the atmosphere (you just cannot help it!) and started shouting, "Hindustan Zindabad!". The foreigners just stared at me as though I had gone crazy, and they did not seem to have any clue as to what was going on. Many found the parade very amusing and giggled away, but I couldn't help but think about how hard these soldiers fight to keep our country safe.



After 30 minutes or so, the parade finished and both countries closed their borders. We were then able to descend from our stands and talk to the soldiers and take photographs with them. I told a couple of them that my family and I were grateful to them for all their efforts and that we pray for their wellbeing. This was met with some very humble responses, which were indeed very heartwarming.
We then took off as we wanted to catch a glimpse of the Golden Temple glistening in the deep blue sky. I'll share that very special experience in my next post! In the meantime, enjoy my video montage of the parade!


7 comments:

DVD said...

Very nicely described, this was a fantastic experience along with your next post I guess. Keep up the writing it is great !

Appa said...

Very emotional experience, isn't it?

How does one get the VIP ticket? First come, first served? Do we have to pay for it?

DVD said...

We got the VIP tickets before, but it should be easy to get from the hotel. You have to pay for it, or you can enter for free with the crowd !

Ravipa said...

Absolutely thrilling. And humbling experience too...

SirBV said...

Really awesome video.

(Now we just need one of those 3d glasses, and it'll be a totally immersive experience.)

banoo said...

Great Experience and I am daily praying that our India/Bharatham should live long as I am proud of its richness and heritage! I simply quote Bharathiar's kavithai here....

"Bharatha Naadu Pazam Perum Nadu...Neer Athan Puthalvar...Inninaivu akaRRatheer!"

Good video wherein I could feel your true excitement...

Kalyanaram said...

Packed with emotional experience..... Appu

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