To read the series from the start please click here.
Golden Temple to Hotel
After completing the visit to The Golden Temple , at 12.30 PM, we were heading back towards the parking place where our rented vehicle was parked. Again after our visit, heat started bothering us a lot. Aarya was again getting annoyed . In the meantime we saw some toy shops on the way to the parking lot. We bought one toy for Aarya which will keep her quiet atelast for sometime . And similarly Manu bought something for Anushka .This made both the sweet girls happy for the moment. This happens on everyday in every trip. After completing the tour she has a collections of around 8 – 10 toys . So yes that means her purpose of going to the tour is served. Anyways we headed towards our vehicle and then rushed towards our hotel to relieve ourselves from scorching rays of the Sun God. I and Manu’s family already had Poori Bhaji at Shree Durgiana temple , so we were not feeling that much hungry. Aa soon as we reached our hotel we all rushed in the bathroom one by one for having shower on top of our hot head. After having shower all of them dosed off. After having shower when I saw my hands they were all covered with innumerable boils due to heat. Manu told me this was normal temperature in this areas in summer. He felt real heat in Puri tour this year where his skin was covered with boils. He told me not to worry as everything will vanish when I reach Kashmir.
We had told Mr. Gill our driver to come around 3.o0 pm , so that we can go to Vaishno Devi Temple and Wagah Border. All were very tired and we had continuous journey of 32 hours in train with two nights already sleeping in moving train. And then roaming in 45 degree C scorching heat of Amritsar . When I had planned my trip I thought this time it would be time for rains in Amritsar and maximum temperature would be around 31 – 32 degree C , referring to climatic conditions shown in MSN weather. But to my surprise this time Lord Indra and Lord Varuna are very upset and are bothering to shower with their all might. But anyways thanks to them because it had rained three days back heavily before our arrival which brought down the temperature from 49 C to 45 C otherwise we would have been roasted in the furnace like city. Moving further we all got ready at 4.00 and decided to move. I was inclined to go first at Wagah Border and book my seats first so that we can watch full parade with a better and clear view. But my friend Manu was favoring more towards visiting Vaishno Devi Temple first. His main intention was to get the pictures of the temple in light. So what more he knows better than me because he has already been to Amritsar before. So my job was to obey him. And the decision to obey him turned out to be true.
Hotel to Lal Devi Mata Mandir( Vaishno Devi Temple, Amritsar)
We headed out towards the temple in our car and in the mean time we reached a crossroad where a army war tank was displayed in the circle. Mr. Gill our driver said that this was a Pakistan tank was captured by Indian soldiers in 1965 war against Pakistan. This tank was displayed in the crossroad in the front of gate of Military Academy of Amritsar. So I was very keen to click its picture. But due to many army officers present near the gate all of them in our car said it won’t be possible to click since those officers were present. But I was inclined to click it and said that if it were to be a secret than they wouldn’t have displayed it on the crossroad where all civilians are allowed to pass. So I told Mr. Gill to stop the car , went outside clicked 2 pics of this war machine in front of our military officers. Look at this old war machine from Pakistan which must have killed lot of our soldiers and civilians. After this within 5 mins we directly headed towards Lal Devi Mandir which is also called Vaishno Devi temple.
Something about Lal Devi Mata Mandir (also famously called Vaishno Devi Temple).
Lal Devi Mata Mandir is dedicated to female saint Lal Devi and located around 2 km away from the Amritsar Railway Station. This Hindu temple is situated within Rani ka Bagh and is similar in appearance to the Mata Vaishno Devi temple at Katra (Jammu). Lal Devi , a bespectacled 20th century female saint developed this temple along the lines of the famous Vaishno Devi temple in Jammu. Women who wish to have children come here to pray Vaishno devi. The temple has a series of vivid shrines, grottoes and deites.
The temple draws crowds of devotees from far and near. Festivals are celebrated here with great pomp and show. This temple is to the northwest of the railway station 2 kms away.The temple displays all four dhams , 12 jyotirlingas , Navdurga, some glimpses of Lord Budhha, Lord Brahma and Vaishno Devi as main shrine .
Lal Devi Mata Mandir from my point of view
This temple does not have any typical kalash or gopuram type of struture. When we went inside in the front we saw a huge golden lion staring towards the idol of the saint Lal Devi Mata in the centre .The shrines of Ganpati and Chamunda were located on the left and right of Lal Devi Mata respectively. Now from the left side of this main shrine we have catch a staircase where series of shrines and caves start.
The most interesting part here when you enter this temple. It would somewhat seen as you are entering a mirror maze. The whole walls are covered with small colorful mirrors pasted to it forming an image. Along with image the lights add to beauty making them bright along with flowers and vases. At many points we have get down and crawl through the artificial cave made . Aarya and Anushka were the ones who enjoyed this the most. Deities had wonderful , bright and clear facial expressions. Just look at the deities and specially walls. This is called Sheesh Mahal.
As you crawl and move forward you see many deities , I saw many Shivalingas, Statute of Lord Brahma, Navdurga , Lord Buddha all four dhams etc. It took around half an hour to completely see this temple and the best part was that you are allowed to click pictures . Also apart from Vaishno Devi temple there was no priest in any one of the shrine. So all you have to do is to pray yourself and move forward. I had so much fun going from one point to another with a new type of spiritual feeling experienced. From any point inside the temple , wherever you turn you see a God or Goddess watching you either from idols , shrines or images made on walls by small mirrors. Best of all, there were not so many people with us , so we found some time to be peaceful rather than being always in a hurry at many temples. Now you should know that this is a must visit for those who all visit Amritsar.
Below are the just a few images and idols of Lal Devi Mata Temple , Amritsar. There are many more.
After coming out of the shrine,we were feeling hungry. I saw a shop selling snacks in the premises. Manu and family had already gone to the car outside the premises. So I thought to have a small snacks in the meantime to relieve our hunger as now we were heading towards Wagah Border now and we will not be in a position to have something after occupying the seats. So there were lot of items to have , but I thought what is more better than having a Punjabi Samosa in Punjab. I packed around 10 samosas and went to parked car and had them with Manu and family. Samosa’s here were served with a juicy and spicy sabji called “Usal” ( white peas) in Mumbai . Normally in Mumbai samosa’s are served with 3 different type of chutneys . But those samosas were thoroughly delicious. Samosas were followed by fresh lime juice.
Towards Wagah Border
Now after having samosas we headed towards Wagah border.Wagah Border is around 28 kms away from Amritsar. When we crossed Amritsar’s last gate we started on the highway ( The Famous Grand Trunk Road) to Atari , India’s last town near the Border. Both sides of the highway were covered with fields with yellow coloured flowers as seen in Bollywood movies. Wonderful sight. Mr. Gill was continously sharing facts about India Pakistan duals , things happening in Amritsar city, Indira Gandhi, Operation Bluestar, Samjhauta Express etc. on this freeway. He showed us Atari railway station also from distance where Samjhauta Express from Lahore stops. Then after 30 – 35 mins of continous drive we came to Wagah Border at around 5.oo pm. Now after a certain point on GT road ,cars are not allowed .So we have to get down and either walk or take manual cycle rickshaw towards the border. You will find small boys selling mineral water for rs. 20 , convincing that we won’t get anything near the border. But actually in military shops on Wagah Border , mineral water bottles are available for just 8 rs. But we were not knowing this and bought 3- 4 bottles for our purpose. Anyways we headed on cycle rickshaw for rs. 20 till Wagah Border.
Then comes a gate where Wagah Border starts, and Cycle rickshaw stops here . We had tight security check through army men and proceeded towards the Swarna Jayanti Dwar.
At Wagah Border
When I reached this place , I was amazed to see , that still it was 5.20 pm and all the seats were full, in fact no place to stand . The parade was about to start at 6.30 pm. We thought we were early but too late and by the way still more people are going to come . OH ! No, the place was full of madness and excitement. I now knew that this was impossible for me to visualize the soldier’s parade, So let me try for Sonali ,Lavijee and children whether they can watch or not. So I and Manu went near the gate and requested the soldiers to let go our wives and children , which they readily agreed. Once they had gone inside, I felt atleast they would see the fantastic parade.But it was not about parade but also patriotic songs. I could feel the enthusiasm , shouts , fervour and pomp outside the gate , But ALAS ! couldn’t enter. Then there were lot of small shops with TV and DVD player showing the parade. I decided to watch lowering of flags ceremony on the TV itself . For 15 minutes I watched that amazing parade on TV . And in the mean time I saw Manu climbing on the stands on the left. He managed to get inside that tight crowd which I didn’t dare to go due to heat . My father in law had seen that parade 4 years back , so he was not to bothered. Now it was only me who is not going to see this parade. Rest everyone is going to see or has already seen.
It was 6 oclock and I don’t know suddenly what happened to me , I said I was going in the crowd. At 40 – 42 degree c it was impossible for me to survive the crowds heat and pespiration , but still I managed to peep inside somehow. I have habit of travelling in local trains in Mumbai. So this was not going to be new for me. While getting into the crowd the most pathetic thing which I felt was many people were drunked. I don’t know why people drink alcohol at the first place and then come here at the place where feeling of patriotism can be felt supreme.Even a person like me who has negligible patriotism quotient feels like I am the soldier of this country and can fight and die for it even if the enemy sees my country with a sworn.
Atmosphere at the Wagah Border stands
But let us continue on the positive part what I saw when I was in crowd, I saw as massive crowd jumping dancing to patriotic songs played by the army man. Many people were waving flags, shouting slogans of Vande Mataram, Bharat Mata ki Jai, Hindustan Zinadabad etc.Indian ladies and children were allowed to dance on the Grant Trunk road where actual parade was going to happen. One Indian soldier dressed in white uniform was motivating crowds now and then. The whole crowd around 10000 people were controlled by him. Then I had glance at Pakistan Gate and its stands which were almost empty. I was too far from the gates because of crowd and so what is going to happen at flag lowering ceremony was going to be seen from the distance only. I also saw Sonali , Aarya , Lavijee and Ansuhka also dancing . I took their pictures zooming my camera to full as the distance was too long. But Ialso tried to get as closer to them as I could to take pictures. It was wonderful moment one of the most enjoyable days of my life. I again was so engrossed in that fervor that I forgot the heat and temperature once again.
Due to full Zoom the images are light.
1. Aarya 2. Sonali 3. Lavi Tyagi 4. Anushka Tyagi
Beating Retreat Border Ceremony ( Flag lowering ceremony).from BSF India and Pakistan Rangers
At 6.30 pm the blustering parade from the soldiers starts from both the sides with perfectly coordinated lowering of flags. One Infantryman stands on attention on both the sides . As the sun sets the flags are lowered simultaneously . The flags are folded and ceremony ends with a retreat and brusque handshake by two soldiers from both the sides, gates closed. Many foreign tourists were also present to see this spectacular display of patriotism, coordination , aggression , madness, zeal and passion from soldiers and civilians from both the sides.
Feel the glimpse of real atmosphere by watching at the wonderful video by BBC below.
After the ceremony is over around 7.00 pm, we were allowed to visit the Indian gate where we saw Pakistan land within few steps and had few clicks with Indian soldiers.
Finally it was time to leave this amazing place whose memories will be etched in my heart till I die. We went to our hotel which took an hour. It was time for Manu Prakash Tyagi and his family to leave us and proceed towards Delhi. Manu booked his bus tickets from our hotel itself. He got a AC sleeper coach for 600 rs. to Delhi. By 9.00 oclock he left us. I went to drop him near bus stand. We did our final packing .
And for our dinner we went to the Langar of Golden Temple which I had described in my earlier post.
After the dinner we had rest for sometime as our train was scheduled at 1.10 am to Jammu. ( Bhatinda – Jammu Express ). There in the train we had a great verbal fight with one of the passengers. But that one in next post . Till then,
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