Friday, March 19, 2010
Weekend in Amritsar@ Day 1
We are on a two day trip to Amritsar- 5 adults and two small children. The Shatabdi train from Delhi to Amritsar departs on time at 7.20 AM for its 6 hour route. It has been long since I have been on a train journey and a large group always means more fun. And fun we have- switching seats, chatting and passing around an unending supply of snacks.
Carlton Inn and Suites, a newly opened hotel barely 5 minutes from the station. The lobby is pleasant and we are very happy with our rooms. The are large and modern with flat screen TVs and bright framed modern art on the walls.
However, we quickly shower and change as we have to be off to the Wagah Border last by 3.00 PM. Wagah Border, is a border gate between India and Pakistan. Every evening at about 5.00 PM there is a parade and ceremony while taking down the national flag before sunset.
Vande Matram”-the sentry calls out and the crowd roars back. “Hindustan….” he goes and the crowd bellows “zindabaad”. Soon they put on patriotic film music and many come down from the stands to dance away. I have never seen anything like this before. It is a spectacle on a scale of its own. The crowd on Pakistan’s side is much smaller.
There is a parade and both the sides together take away their flags. We have been here since over an hour and the heat is now getting to us. We head back towards the car and the city. Dinner is in order and a friend has recommended Prawah da dhabha. It is a completely vegetarian joint. Be prepared for large portions and dollops of ghee and butter! It is soon time to wrap up the day as we are going to the Golden Temple early next morning.