the golden temple by day

the next day, we went back to the golden temple to tour it properly.

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that same first view in the daylight. more people walking around the tank. more views of the temple from across the tank.
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“you are there” – in line to enter the temple. the exterior is covered in gold, with inlaid marble reminiscent of the taj mahal. you can’t photograph inside, of course, but the interior is even more splendid: gold, intricate painted designs, and a copy of the adi granth under a brilliantly embroidered canopy. a sikh meditating on the top level of the temple. if it weren’t for the green plastic bag, this shot would have a timeless quality, but bags and water bottles are ubiquitous these days.

in addition to temple offices, the compound contains an enormous kitchen that feeds tens of thousands of people every day, around the clock, for free – sikhs and non-sikhs alike.

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volunteers preparing vegetables. there were well over a hundred people peeling onions and garlic, shelling peas, and so on. the stove. the pots were enormous. women rolling out chapatis. the kitchen produces 50,000 chapatis daily – 20,000 by hand and 30,000 with machines.
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artisanal chapati-making, by the women … … and by the men. this man is doing a final quality check by hand … … while these women checks the ones coming off the machine.


the golden temple at night

just after thanksgiving, we went up to amritsar, to visit the golden temple, sikhism’s holiest site. our visit coincided with guru nanak jayanti, the birthday of the founder of the sikh religion, guru nanak dev ji, so we were treated to the temple lit with fairy lights, and fireworks.

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the exterior of the golden temple, which is under construction. even with the lights – an unexpected decoration which gave the whole thing a las vegas feel – the exterior didn’t prepare us for this amazing view. it was quite crowded. visitors to the temple walk clockwise around the water tank. the temple itself sits in the middle of the tank.
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worshippers were lighting candles along the water tank’s edge
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a chakram, one of the symbols of sikhism the golden temple itself. the adi granth, sikhism’s holy book, is kept in the sanctuary. fireworks above the golden temple compound and, to the right, above the entrance to the temple itself.

(if i got any of the details wrong, please send me an e-mail!)

the indian museum in kolkata

back to kolkata: on my last day there, i visited the indian museum, which was founded in 1814. to me, the indian museum is the quintessential old museum: the type of place you can just wander around and peer into ancient cases. if you’ve ever needed to know what a lump of quartz-magnetite-actinolite-schist or a pseudolioceras fossil looks like, the indian museum is the place for you.

the ancient stone carvings are well displayed and comprehensively labelled; once you leave the hall, things become a little more haphazard, and when you get into the natural history and geology sections, it becomes wonderfully arcane.

next: either more animal photos or amritsar.