Location: Amritsar

Today we woke up in our beautiful rooms in Norbulinka, sad that we would soon be leaving. Fiona and I slowly left our Elephant-Dragon-Octopus themed room, packed in the taxi with John and Uttam, and left Norbulinka and Dharamsala. Unfortunately, we didn’t get too far at first. The taxi carrying Bryn, Maddie, and Julia took the smarter path, driving on the right side of the road, even if it was unpaved. Our taxi decided to drive on the wrong side, which might not have been the best idea since we got in a traffic jam and ended up trying to make a new road. We got through, but it took a lot of yelling in Hindi by our driver to make it. Then we started our long drive to Amritsar. In our car, we did a lot of talking and playing road games like I Spy and the Capital Game. Even I Spy answer ended up being a cow or a brick. We also plagued Wen with a bunch of puns including her name. It was a long drive.

We pulled up to our hotel in Amritsar, which was even more of an upgrade from the monastery. We had hot water and soft beds, so we were very excited. Soon after we had a delicious dinner filled with all the curry and naan, we could imagine. After some more free time to rest, we got ready to go to the Golden Temple, the holiest temple in the Sikh community. After learning more about Sikhism, we hopped in the taxi and traveled to see the temple in person. First, we had to take off our shoes, cover our heads, and wash our hands and feet before entering the temple. As we walked up the steps, I realized that the temple is even more beautiful in person. It was an amazing sight, and I enjoyed learning more about the history behind the Golden Temple. We got to see where they make and prepare the free meals that they give to about 80,000 people per day. All of those who prepare the food, serve it and wash the plates are volunteers, and anyone can join in. The whole temple radiated beauty as we walked around. Of course, we got some stares, and one family even asked us to take a picture with their 5-month-old baby. That made one interesting picture. We left the temple with an admiration of the Sikh religion as well as the beauty of the temple itself. Now we are settling down in our very comfy rooms, excited for what tomorrow will bring especially if it means sleeping in.