Following Eric
Took off in September 2013 for round two in Asia. 6 month internship in Beijing. Two months Nepal and now in India Travelling for the foreseeable future

Wandering Through India: Amritsar

Amritsar

From Dharamasala I had to chose between heading north or south and I chose south. I wanted to see more of India and all the big spots in India are south. The plan was to work my way south and catch a flight to Sri Lanka before my visa expired. Amritsar is famous for the Sikh Golden Temple and it was a great experience and my first time into a real Indian feeling city. The hustle and bustle outside the temple gave me a good feeling of being in a land that was not mine. The Golden Temple, however was amazing. The real gold plated building and the surrounding holy water around it was architecturally beautiful, but it was the place, the people and the idea behind the holiest of Sikh temples that made it special. The whole temple is run by Sikh volunteers who donate their time when they can or once in their lifetime. They cook meals almost 24hrs a day in a huge two floor dining hall for over 6000 people a day and they constantly cleaned the place and polished the gold every night. You could also sleep in the temple complex for free. Foreigners got their own small dorm to share but the other Indian visitors or Sikh Pilgrims would sleep in any space they could find. They slept in every chair, they slept on the grass areas around the complex, around the temple, in the hallways and in the courtyards. Literately in any available space was filled with families sleeping on hard marble so they could visit this temple. For me this really showed me something. Think back to when you were a kid going on a family vacation and your parents told you would be sleeping on the floor with no blankets, surrounded by strangers and no private bathroom, all to visit a temple. You would have thought they were crazy. If I gained anything from the Golden Temple it would be the importance of faith and religion to their lives and how they will sacrifice all comforts to take part in it, and for the most part don’t complain. A Place definitely worth experiencing. Sunrise, sunset and night time the temple is Golden.

Also worth checking out is the Waga border where they dance off every evening for a closing ceremony. The only land border crossing between India and Pakistan. They dance show pride and cheer on their countries in what appears to be a friendly dance off. A must see if you’re in Amritsar

Wagah Border Crossing (Amritsar) - India/Pakistan

A prideful display between to countries and the only road crossing between Pakistan and India. Show takes place every evening and involves huge cheerful crowds, strange animal like stomping and dancing and some loud long yelling between announcers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagah

I noticed that you tagged some of your IG photos with #lonelyplanet. Are you affiliated with them in any way :O

A question by qtds

I wish! I use that tag to try and spread my travel pictures. If you see this @lonelyplanet im available for work haha. Keep the questions up.

do you speak hindi or urdu or mando/canto or anything?

A question by warmdintherays

Even after living China i learnt very few Chinese words. Enough for some laughs but not a conversation. In two months in India i have learnt a few Hindi words to get by, but mostly use English since most Indians speak it very well.

Ask away if you got more questions.

Wagah Border Crossing (Amritsar) - India/Pakistan

A prideful nation displaying its colours and national flag cheering on the India side at the famous border crossing show between Pakistan and India.

Golden Temple, Amritsar - India

May 2014

Golden Temple, Amritsar - India

May 2014

Golden Temple, Amritsar - India

May 2014

Wandering Through India: McLeod Ganj

Dharamsala (McLeod Ganj)

I ended up spending ten days in McLeod Ganj, although not all by choice. I had to have my bank ship me a new credit card and I had to stick around for that. But looking back I am glad I was there for ten days and not somewhere else. The place is amazingly laid back with a mix of half Indian half Tibetan refugess. McLeod Ganj is home to his holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and the exiled government of Tibet. The town is filled with friendly monks, Tibetan food and fresh mountain air. McLeod Ganj is another popular place for foreigners to do their yoga teaching courses, multiple week meditation courses and the study of Buddhism. I tried to do a condensed version. My plan was to do loads of Yoga, meditation and learn about Buddhism, but I found the place relaxing enough I didn’t really end up doing much. I took a yoga class but didn’t like the teacher so I didn’t go back. I did one meditation class but did not feel like I gained anything from it and thought I was finding a good groove on my own that I didn’t feel the need for more meditation. I did however take a Tibetan cooking class on making their signature momos and I read a great book on Buddhism. I had a good day trekking up to Triund and getting amazing views of the valley and I had some unexpected social days where all I did was hop from one cafe to another running into monks, Tibetans and other travellers. One of the friendliest places I’ve visited. The highlight of my stay in McLeod Ganj was getting a rare audience with H.H the 14th Dalai Lama. He decided to host an audience to foreigners and Indian tourists. A rare occasion and amazing timing since I was there anyways.

He discussed so topics from religion, faith, human nature, drugs, sex and all sorts of normal topics. But his message was simple. It does not matter where you come from and what faith you follow. You should be a good person and be good to other people. A simple, uncomplicated way to make the world a better place. 

Another one of those rare things where I was in the right place at the right time to get to see him.

We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.

Jawaharlal Nehru