Monday, 15 December 2014

Back by Popular Demand

Ok, we hadn't planned on running a blog this year - partly because internet access is not always possible without drinking gallons of tea in Starbucks.  As a number of you have asked for an update we will run a blog albeit the format will be a bit different - mainly more photos and less chat.

So our first post sees us in Chandigarh after spending four fabulous days in Amritsar.

Things didn't start brilliantly on our journey to Amritsar.  At Delhi check-in the computers went down and we queued for an hour to check in for the flight, then we got hit for excess luggage - us!  People were carrying onboard as hand luggage more than we had in the aircraft hold but we got hit with a bill then the pre-booked taxi never arrived at Amritsar and the replacement had a driver who did not speak English nor understand sign language or as a last resort speaking slowly and loudly. His taxi looked like a stock car the end of a race and after getting lost he eventually dumped us at a roundabout because he couldn't find the hotel.  A friendly rickshaw driver took us the last few hundred yards but not before a wizened old hag tried to flick my eye out because I declined to purchase an orange scarf from her.  Anyway, here we are and it is worth it - the Golden Temple is exquisite, the people are friendly and the food is good - only down side - no beer!

Everyone visiting the temple has to wear a head covering.

The Golden Temple

We visited a couple of times and at night the Temple looked stunning

This Sikh warrior was armed to the teeth

I'm the one in the middle!

The kitchens at the temple provide 80,000 free meals every day to pilgrims.  Volunteers peel the mountain of veg for the meals.

Food is produced on an industrial scale

Making the chapatis is not as easy as it looks.  John and I both volunteered and it took some time before I could get the chapatis round and of the right thickness - John was relegated to rolling the balls of dough.  We reduced the other chapati rollers to howls of laughter and we ended up covered in flour.

Every day at the border with Pakistan the gate is closed and the flags are lowered - on both sides thousands turn up to cheer on their impressively moustachioed, foot stamping fist waving heroes.

The Indian Border Security Force is immaculately turned out.  Although we didn't have the best of views the following clip gives an idea of the antics.  I'd recommend checking out the Waggah border ceremony on youtube.

The impassive Pakistani guard in baseball cap and shades looked particularly intimidating in the outstaring contest

Walking around Amritsar on our last day we spotted some colourful sights

And we briefly gatecrashed a wedding celebration.  The groom is festooned with cash

We heard the band - the groom can't have parted with much cash based on their musical accompaniment

We leave Amritsar on a 230km drive to Chandigarh - the capital of the Punjab.  We decided against using a 'hog'

And the local bus!

If Chandigarh isn't twinned with Milton Keynes maybe it should be - a city built on a grid system with many roundabouts.  One thing MK can't boast is a surreal rock garden originally the creation of one local with a strange sense of humour.  La vache qui rire Indian style

Figures made from discarded bangles

And homage to One Direction

That's all for now, tomorrow we head for Shimla and possibly snow!


  1. Very good. Like the bangle people and the chapati making. You'll probably see more snow than us. Stay safe and keep up the good commentary. Ttfn xx

  2. \\\Great blog and great pics.Good to have you back,Looking forward to
    Shimla and a wee bit of snow!! Take care love mum xx