amritsar and her golden temple
let me begin by saying that i am a confused atheist. my parents never really took us to temples; no childhood memories of peeping over those bars for the ‘darshanam of shiva’. my mother prayed fervently till i was around 14 – she bribed god, begged god, gave up chocolate in exchange for better marks in exams for her kids… you know the stuff. and then one fine day, she stopped. she felt that her praying was not making us do any better or worse. we fared depending on how hard we worked. she stopped just before my brother’s exams and he did really well! that was the acid test and she never prayed again. my father always his daily namaskaram before god… and that’s all i have seen him really do. ok, i deviate. (i can hear you say as usual!) the main point here is that i am not really religious. i visit temples for architecture. i had a civil marriage because i believe in the constitution more than in god.
there are really few religious places that make me think about religion, think about faith and belief and all of those things. and the golden temple at amritsar is one such place. the sheer size and space with which it just envelopes you, and makes you feel rather safe in the centre there… it is very calming. and isn’t that what religion and spirituality are about (ideally)?…calm the mind, give you peace and silence all those thought-monkeys!
the first time i visited the golden temple was more than 6 years ago. my memory says that it was empty and that is what i carried with me when i visited in october last year. it was not as empty, but i still loved it. in terms of religious places – this is one of my favourites! here are a few pictures to take you through the sea of calm, that is the golden temple at amritsar.