Follow us on Blogger Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow  on Google Plus Follow us on Linkedin Follow  on Instagram
Travel is Oxygen
Long Overdue Visit to Amritsar


Long Overdue Visit to Amritsar

I had planned to travel to Amritsar in 1984 but the situation was tense in Punjab and I did not go. Subsequently Operation Bluestar happened. I left Delhi in 1984 after spending four years in the city as a student at Delhi College of Engineering. Subsequent visits to Delhi were either for work or as a transit point for traveling further into Himachal or Uttarakhand.

Finally it was 2010 when we could plan a trip to Amritsar. Charanjit Singh Mehta was generous to drive us to Amritsar. Golden Temple was as magnificent as we had imagined. Apart from being grand, it was clean and pious. It has glorious history having braved terrible assaults and desecrations. One could see deep reverence on the face of every visitor entering its premises.

The gallery on the first floor narrates the remarkable history of Sikhs through paintings. I was surprised and pained to see portraits of the assassins of General Arunkumar Vaidya along side portraits of great Sikh martyrs who fought the Mughals and the British. Picked up several interesting books on Sikh history from a book shop in Golden Temple Complex. This included two volumes on Sikh history by Khushwant Singh, a book on the great artist Sobha Singh and an unusual and controversial book which has a completely different take on Operation Bluestar than the official version.

Amritsar is a place for the foodies. We explored the old city and had a fabulous lunch prepared in desi ghee with lassi.

Jalianwala Bag makes your blood boil. All of us have read about the massacre of innocent people carried out here on the orders of a British officer. To live and feel the horror and anger about something that you read about as a child, has to be experienced. Till date, India has not received a formal apology from England about this ghastly act. I saw at the little museum there a private apology letter from the descendants of Gen. Dyer.

We also visited old friend Manish Goenka's home and met with his parents who were exceptionally warm and fed us with all kinds of snacks and sweets apart from good homemade chai.