Hearing that we were to do an 11 hour bus trip day from Chandigarh to see one of the most beautiful temples in the world loomed as one of our most anticipated days on our India tour - to see the Sikhs' holiest shrines. A really special place to see, and take in.
Stepping down to the marble walk all along the holy water tank and drinking in the stunning view of this temple square was breathtaking. So beautiful, and unique. A feeling of peace, and a hustle of prayer, reverence, with the contrast of the chants and songs of prayer broadcast constantly floating across the complex.
Given the eventual timing of our trip, and the plan for the whole day, many of us used the time of our visit to this special place by wandering around this holy pool, and taking in the view, the feeling and the significance of the site. Observing families in prayer, and visiting this most important temple to them, was incredible, and a lesson in a religion that I know little about.
One of the other features of the Golden Temple - and one which Fi and Dave made a concerted effort to experience in our short visit - is the meal served every day to 60,000 to 80,000 pilgrims and visitors alike. The notion that the Sikh's invite one and all to eat together, as a mark of unity, to people of all religions, creeds and nationalities, is a beautiful idea, and surely one the notion of religion should be about.
This special visit drew the envy of so many people for the rest of our time in India, and will always be etched in our groups' collective memories as an amazing moment of our travels, and a powerful lesson in the people, peace and humanitarianism of the world.