We caught a cheap flight from Leh to Amritsar with a short stop in Srinagar. We would have loved to have spent some time in Srinagar but unfotunatly the city was experiencing political issues and wasn’t deemed safe. When we arrived in Amritsar there was a significant cultural difference due to the state of Punjab having the highest population of people that follow the Sikh religion. The appearance of many consisted of wearing a turban to take care of lengths of uncut hair, a dagger ranging in various lengths, a wooden comb and an iron bracelet. These form a part of the five Ks to represent the ideals of Sikhism. There were not many tourists there at the time and there were a lot of renovations happening in the area but we were made to feel very accepted and welcomed by locals.
The Harmandir Sahib (Golden temple) is one of the holiest places for Sikhs to visit. We went during the daytime and needed to cover our heads and remove our shoes. The place itself was very intriguing with many devotees bathing in the waters surrounding the temple and free food was being offered to all. The architectural qualities are a beautiful combination of Hindu and Islamic style and when up close to the main temple you can see the sheer amount of gold it took to cover the building. It’s a truly stunning temple you can spend hours admiring.
I think we got lucky when visiting the temple as for the rest of our time in Amritsar, when it rained it poured!
We took a night bus from Amritsar to Jaipur which is what I can only describe and imagine it’s like to sleep in a fish tank. Surrounded by huge glass panels that slide open either side, one covered by a curtain and the other directly to the outside. The bed itself was a plump piece of fabric that was covered in stains and grease which had a rancid smell. We used our backpacks as pillows and my sarong as a blanket to distract our minds from what we were really being rhythmically rocked around on. To say the least it was an uncomfortable journey with the only upside being that we could stretch our legs flat out (just about) which I suppose is a bonus compared the cramped seater buses.