Wagah Border Ceremony and Golden Temple
Packed into five white vans that scream tourism, we drive to the India-Pakistan Border. Across the barbed wire lies Pakistan. Every morning there is a flag raising ceremony and every night there is a flag lowering ceremony between the two nations. We enter a stadium like setting and take a seat on concrete steps. The crowd sparkles of saris and is spotted with turbans. Through giant brass gates we see the equally colorful Pakistan crowd.
The soldiers marched towards the brass gates while what seemed to be an Indian MC( dressed in a white jumpsuit)` chanted into a mike. The crowds on both the Pakistan and Indian side of the gates chant as the gates are temporarily opened. Not only is the ceremony a display of the extreme nationalism of both the Pakistan and Indian people; it is also celebration of the peaceful relations between the two bordering nations.
After gorging ourselves with delicious pancake-like potato bread, we meet our tour guide of the day. He is a tall lanky man dressed in light blue, topped with a navy turban, and completed with a long beard. His eyes are lazy, his voice soft, and his English is truly eloquent. He leads us into some random hotel and after hiking to the roof we enjoy a roof-top view of the Golden Temple. The Golden Temple is literally what its name describes. It is pure gold temple surrounded by a square pool of bright blue water. We learn that the water represents the movement and inconsistency of the outer-self while the gold temple represents the peace of one's inner-self. We walk to the temple and after removing our shoes and covering our heads in headscarves we enter the temple. We walk around the pool of water where men bathe and we end our visit by wading into the water ourselves.