The new day brings not packing and riding but the pleasure of not knowing what do. Breakfast? Perhaps the chance of the first real coffee since the suprisingly good coffee (long black with extra shot) I had in the KGH? Sadly, it was not to be. I’m pretty sure I ordered a coffee. But what I got bore no resemblance to any caffeine beverage I have ever had in the past – and that includes the infamous third-attempt coffee at the McCafe at the Lakes back home! It was, however, quite a pleasant drink after the removal of the skin/scum off the top and the addition of copious amounts of sugar. I still not sure what it was though.
No matter! Suitably energised and eager to seize the day, I venture onto the streets of Amritsar and am immediately seized upon by Bawa – the autorickshaw driver who, for a small fee, will take me to the Golden Temple and anywhere else he feels like taking me. Bawa is young and desperate to succeed so I willingly give myself over to him for about 3 hours and enjoy not having to make any decisions about where I am going or what I am doing.
Architecturally, the Golden Temple is really just one part of a truly remarkable complex of structures. At the centre is the Golden Temple itself which is surrounded by a shallow moat/artificial lake called the Sarovar. This is filled with holy water or “immortal nectar” (and giant goldfish half a metre long!). Around the outside of the Sarovar is the wide marbled pathway which the Sikh pilgrims circumambulate in a clockwise direction. Surrounding the entire complex is a collection of impressive verandahed and balustraded buildings in variety of colonial styles dedicated to various aspects of the Sikh religion.