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28th July 2012, Saturday
I had nice 4-5 hour sleep and it was around 5.00 am, I woke up in the morning and ready to finish my railway journey to Amritsar.After getting fresh, I woke up everyone to get ready to get down at platform. We arrived at Amritsar Junction platform. At that time Manu suggested me that we better stay in hotel near railway station because I had to go to Jammu via train in night itself after Amritsar sight seeing and he had to go to Delhi. So Hotel near railway station was best destination. We took luggauge out of the bogie and were waiting till one Sardarjee came and introduced us a driver to drop us to any place. Manu started conversations with him asking him regarding hotels near railway station. He said that he would show us hotels near stations in his car charging Rs. 50 and drop us to the Hotel. But instead of that I thought if we have to stay near railway station then why not stay in railway retiring room as we have tickets at night. We checked for railway retiring rooms but alas only 3 rooms are present on this massive station and all of them were booked by railway employees.
We had no choice but to go with Sardarjee and he showed us few hotels in which we booked one of them just adjacent to backside of railway station at Rs.600 till midnight 12.00 am. Sardarjee had a very good Toyata Qualis in wonderful condition. While dropping we also booked him for full day for Amritsar-Wagah Border visit for Rs. 1200 and told him be ready after one and half hour. I have never used a car while I go for traveling trip for whole day. But I liked this concept from Manu Tyagi to book the car for whole day. It saves time, can see more places and is less tiring although little heavy on budget.But this booking of car continued in J & K also. . We went to hotel , had bath and then breakfast with delicious watermelon brought from Mumbai. It was a big 4 – 5 kilo watery and juicy piece which satisfied our appetite to full at that moment.
Before proceeding a small information on Amritsar
Amritsar is one of the most important and largest cities of Punjab. It lies close to Wagah – India Pakistan Border just 32 kms from Lahore. It is home to Harmandir Sahib ( Golden temple) and religious , spiritual and cultural centre for Sikhs.It had suffered heavily on India – Pakistan wars during partition in 1947. It was here only where killing of more than 300 Indian people were killed in Jalianwala Baug Massacre by a British Officer Reginald Edward Harry Dyer on 13 April 1919. It also houses some of the very important Hindu temples. It is very well known also for its delicious punjabi cuisine. Majority of the business include tourism, carpets, light and engineering, agricultural products, carpets , handicrafts etc.
Shree Durgiana Temple Complex
Then at around 8.00 am we started our journey. Still in July end because of scanty rainfall, there was terrible heat in Amritsar. It was already 40 degree C at 8.00 AM which Mumbaikars are never used to. I was feeling scorching heat and was pespiring like anything. Before leaving again from hotel for sight seeing I again had a good 10 minute shower on my head. But of no use , within 10 minutes it was all the same. We started our journey with Shree Durgiana Temple which is look alike of Golden Temple. The temple is 16th century temple dedicated to Goddess Durga ( Shitla). It also has major idols of Ram Darbar , Laxmi Narayan and Radhe Krishna. Situated near Amritsar railway station , this temple has peace surrounded by water from all sides with fountains sprouting above . The temple doors are made of silver and the main shrine building is half silver ( bottom ) and half gold ( top) in color. If looked via photo not many people will recognize it different from the Golden Temple. When we went bhajans inside the temple were on which are very famous.
Inside Durgiana temple complex and nearby there are lot other wonderful legendary temples. One was artistic 700 year old Shitla Mata temple . This whole temple is made up of small pieces of glasses and white marble stone. The beauty and colors make your sooth calm and pleasant. The idol of Shitla Mata is small but beautiful and you can feel spiritual energies while having her darshan.
Bada Hanuman Mandir , Amritsar
Besides beautiful Shitla Devi Temple , There is one more temple called Bada Hanuman mandir which is largest Hanuman Temple Complex in the world.
Small legend of Bada Hanuman Temple
Lord Rama let loose a Ashwamedha horse to stake claim of territories, while his wife Sita was living in exile.
Sita Devi who was under the care of Sage Valmiki had given birth to twin sons namely Luv and Kush. It is said that Luv and Kush had challenged the Aswamedha horse not knowing that it was set out by none other then their own father Lord Rama. Once challenged fight started and Lord Rama’s brothers were knocked off and left unconcious. Then mighty Hanuman the humble devotee of Sri Rama came to confront Luv and Kush. The sons of Sri Rama had tied Lord Hanuman to the banyan tree.
It is said that it is the same banyan tree couples are tying thread wishing for a male child, where Hanuman was tied by the Luv and Kush. The Hanuman mandir and this tree is said to be very ancient. When Luv and Kush came to know about their relations Amrit was brought from Devtas. With the help of this amrit Shatrughna, Lakshmana and Bharata were brought to conciousness and remaining portion of amrit was dumped into the soil, hence the name of this city is Amritsar.
If you wish for male child then come here
Here at this tree below couples come to have wish of male child. When their wish is complete , they come during Navratra along with male child and observe fast eating just one time that too fruits and vegetables and tie thread on the tree.During these nine days they sleep on floor and recite Ramayana specially Sunder kand. The male child is dressed in Langoor outfits specially of bright red and golden coloured. Along with face smeared they attach a artificial tail which makes complete appearance of langoor. After Navratri they come with male child near the tree and untie the thread and break the fast.
The idol of Lord Hanuman here is in sitting position next only to the one in Ayodhya.
Besides that there is large hall to recite Ramayana. The walls of the hall have frames arranged according to dohas of full Hanuman Chalisa. Each frame has painting related to meaning of that doha in Hanuman Chalisa.
Delicious Poori Bhaji
One more thing I wanted to tell our viewers is besides Shree Durgiana temple, there is a shop which sells P00ri Bhaji which is very famous. Our driver Sardarjee Mr. GILL insisted that we eat Poori Bhaji here telling us that its very delicious. But we already had watermelon in our hotel. So we were not that much hungry. But when I came near the shop and saw people eating Poori Bhaji ,and smelled its aroma, my mouth started watering and I thought well if its that much famous then why not eat, specially for Aarya since I found that hygienic. So myself Aarya and family of Manu Tyagi had that delicious Poori Bhaji. Sonali and my father in law had fast. And I insist my readers that whenever you go to Shree Durgiana Temple please go in the moring and have that ultimately delicious , mouth watering ,aromatic Poori Bhaji. I reckon you must have never had that sort of dish in your life. Poori Bhaji Plate here is sum of two large pooris, chhole, juicy potato bhaji and delicious spicy pickle. The charge here is Rs. 25 / plate . Extra Poori is rs. 12 and Bhaji unlimited. You can have as much as you want till your appetite satisfies. Apart from this, in nearby shop Maaza and Mirinda 200 ml are available at just 5 rs. So Enjoy till you lick your fingers.
To Jalianwala bagh and Golden Temple
After that our car headed towards Jalianwala Bagh and Golden temple. Golden temple is around 2 kms from Durgiana temple . There our car driver Mr. driver parked his car in massive car parking place specially made for golden temple and told us to visit both the places and come. Both Jalianwala Bagh and Golden Temple are nearby each other may be just 300 – 400 m apart. From parking we went first to Jalianwala Bagh via walk and we found typical cycle rickshaws which i first saw in Kashi.
After having Poori Bhaji stomach was full and from parking Jalianwala Bagh was atleast 700 m . Now the time was 11.00 am and sun was scorching hot with temperature reaching 45 deg C which I was not used to and not at all for travelling. Somehow we reached Jalianwala Bagh.
It is a public park is in Amritsar and houses a memorial of national importance. Before Independence It was a 6.5 acre gardern full of fruit trees with lot of empty spaces . Post Independence in 1951 a memorial was established to commemorate murder of peaceful celebrators on the ocassion of Punjabi New year on 13 th April 1919 in the Massacre.
The gardern is in the vincity of Golden Temple which has a memorial in it. Still lot of walls , construction and many remains in a museum ,of the massacre in 1919 are preserved here for public view.
This memorial is managed by Jalianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust which was set as per Jalianwala Bagh National Memorial Act passed by Govt. of India in 1951.
As you can see below still the old wall with bricks is preserved.
A little history about Jalianwala Bagh Massacre ( I read the history again and wrote it in my own words)
It was before independence on April 13 1919 when India was under British rule this following incident had happened. On this day, General Reginald Dyer was convinced that a major insurrection was going on and thus he banned all meetings. On hearing that, to oppose 15000 – 20000 assembled on that day along with women and children in Jalianwala Bagh and also it was traditional festival of Vaisakhi. So people from all religions had gathered including Hindus,Muslims and Sikhs. After an hour when the meeting began at 4.30 pm General Dyer came along with group of 65 armed Gurkha men of 25 armed Baluchi soldiers. He ordered them to fire on that crowd without giving prior warning. Jalianwala Bagh was surrounded by houses and buildings from all sides with few narrow entrances which were permanently closed. Dyer ordered his troops to begin shooting towards the densest sections of the crowd including women and children.Firing continued for approximately 10 – 15 minutes. Cease-fire was ordered only when ammunition supplies were exhausted, after around 1,650 rounds were spent.
Many people died in stampedes at the narrow gates or by jumping into the solitary well on the compound to escape the shooting. Many people jumped into the well to refrain from getting hit by the bullet. A plaque in the monument at the site was set up after independence. It says that 120 bodies were pulled out of the well. The wounded could not be moved from where they had fallen ,as a curfew was declared and many more people died during the night.
The number of deaths was 379 as per the official figure of British inquiry. The number of deaths caused by the shoot is still disputed . Indian National Congress gave the figure of more than 1000 deaths and more than 1500 wounded.
Here while roaming in this park I felt sad and depressed for Indian martyrs and angry with British Empire. General Dyer was immediately forced to retire and sent back to Britain where he received a heroic status, fame and money. But his death was terrible with series of many diseases with loneliness. Dyer suffered a series of heart strokes during the last years of his life and became increasingly isolated and alone due to the paralysis and speechlessness inflicted by his strokes. He died of cerebral hemorrhage and arteriosclerosis during 1927.
Michael O’ Dwyer, the Lieutenant of Punjab at that time endorsed General Dyer and said his action was correct. Many believed that he premeditated the massacre and set General Dyer to work . He was killed by Sardar Udham Singh in 1940 in London.
The above and below ground was hallowed by the mingled by the blood of about 2000 Hindus , Muslims and Sikhs who were shot by British bullets on April 13 , 1919. The ground was acquired from the owners on public subscription.
Lot of people tried to save their life by jumping into the well below when shooting was on. But then many of them died due to stampede of more and more people jumping in it .
While going through the garden we came across the wall which was preserved from 1919 where bullet marks are still present marked with rectangular boxes. Also I saw many visitors smiling in front of this wall and taking photographs. What a shame! I can’t imagine.
Anyways I was not feeling that easy in that park and within 15 minutes I came out of that place and started to Golden Temple which was nearby.
May all souls of Great Indian Martyrs in Jalianwala Bagh Masscare rest in peace. Next we are going to Golden Temple.
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