|Our hotel (Urban Galaxy) is very close to the core of old Amritsar, which means that it is very close to the Golden Temple. As such we made use of our location by having our breakfast at the hotel (rooftop) and then heading out to see the Golden Temple in the daytime. Eleri and Marlys were suitably attired with not an inch of skin showing except their feet, hands and faces. Theo and I had purchased some head coverings the night before, so off we headed. Dropped off our sandals at the free shoe minders (even got a numbered token) and then walked to the Golden Temple on the smooth marble floor (or rough hemp mats that were rolled out). Walked through a shallow moat of water (I think to clean the feet before entering the temple area) and then did another circuit around the temple, taking more pictures and ignoring the Sikh guards with spears.
Afterwards we shopped for some cooler clothing for Marlys in one of the many small clothing shops and then headed back to our hotel (yes she did get something...I'm sure it will show up in a picture eventually).
For lunch we decided to check out Charming Chicken which had great reviews on TripAdvisor. One very hairy tuk-tuk ride later we were at Charming Chicken. It was about 3 kms away and cost us 100 rupees ($2.00). CC did NOT disappoint. Butter chicken, tandoori chicken and one other creamy chicken dish...all superb. Aside from bottled water the one drink we ordered was the LMG Special (Lime Mint Ginger) which was...pretty disgusting actually. A couple of sips by each of us and we left it...I still get shudders thinking about it. Somewhat bizarrely the owner came by our table afterward and asked us if we liked the food, after advising him that we did he asked if he could film us...so we did an infomercial for his Charming Chicken YouTube Channel. I don't know if we made the cut or not but you might see us if you look!
After Charming Chicken it was another hair raising ride back to our hotel by tuk-tuk where we cooled off and then met our guide for a ride to the Indian - Pakistan Border. Every day at the border they have a border closing ceremony which is a strange mixture of militarism, college football game, dance club and nationalistic fervour. Arriving at the border we were escorted to a VIP lineup (yup...we are VIP's...lol) where we had to show our passports (or in theory we were supposed to but at each checkpoint manned by military personnel they took one look at our pasty white skin and waved us through, except for one guy who clearly took his job very seriously) and then made our way to the stadium erected on the Indian side of the border. The stadium is on both sides of a road which leads to the border where there is a big gate blocking the border. The stadium must hold 3 or 4 thousand people and it was about half full. Anyway, chants, cheers, dancing (women only), goose steps, preening (some soldier on each side of the border twirling his pretend mustache), and full on weirdness. While we waited for the border closing (they first had to open it to close it...lol) on the Indian side the crown passed a huge Indian flag overhead and around the stadium. There were cheers of "Hindustan" on the Indian side, followed by cheers of "Pakistan" on the other side. The Pakistan side was waaaaaaaayy smaller and seemed kind of pathetic. The Pakistan stadium held maybe 500 people (it was full). The people on the Indian side were well dressed in colourful clothes, with Indian flags painted on their cheeks, waving flags and BSF (Border Security Forces) fans, whereas the Pakistan side was drab and dull. Very enthusiastic however (be enthusiastic or you won't see your family again!). Even the Pakistani military wore black uniforms, with a couple of female soldiers in full purdah. Anyway, very strange event (totally free). We got to sit in the Foreigner's Section which placed us closest to the border and fantastic viewing. If you are ever in Amritsar...
After getting back to Amritsar we headed to the Golden Temple for one last visit (since Marlys, Eleri and Theo hadn't seen it at night). Repeat of the morning but cooler (not substantially but at least no sun). Then back to our hotel.