We cross the border from Pakistan to India at Amritsar. When we leave immigration we ride on an empty road. But something is wrong here... Where are the people? We always hear that India is overcrowded. The only traffic that we see is an old man on a donkey and a boy on a bicycle. But after a kilometer we come into the city Amritsar and BAM! CHAOS! Yes, this is what we expect...The road is blocked with bicycles, rikja's and tuktuks. Slowly we zigzag on our bikes through the traffic on the way to the Golden Temple. In the middle of the street cows are standing and blocking the traffic. We move on, but it is faster to walk... In the center we get stuck. Nothing moves and everybody horns. Two dutch travellers, that we met earlier on our trip, come to us and tell that they are watching us from a restaurant. We decide it's time for a tea break and leave our bikes in the middle of the chaos and go to the restaurant. From the second floor of the restaurant we look down over the street and to everybody that tries to move around our bikes. Cool!
Later we visit the Golden Temple. This is the most holiest place of the Sikhs. The Sikhs are easy recognizable with their long beards and coloured
turban on their head. They take their turban only off when they go to sleep.
In the GoldenTemple is the Adi Granth. This is the holy book for the Sikhs. The whole day they are reading from this book with spiritual music as background. It creates a relaxed atmosphere. It is impressive to see. Slowly and barefooted we walk clockwise around the temple. A warm, calmness feeling rise from our inside, making your heart go slowly...going into meditation...this is amazing. What a difference with the chaos on the street.
From Amritsar we ride north into the Himalaya's. The Kashmir district is still unstable and therefore we see a lot of militairy vehicles on the road. Every 300 meters militairies are checking the roadside for mines. We have only a few policechecks and feel no threats. Recently the government leaders of India and Pakistan had a meeting about the Kasmir issue (Agra convence). But no improvements were made. We however notice not much of the problems, only the present of a lot of militairies. At Srinagar we stay 2 days on a floating houseboat at Dal lake. From the boat we watch the people how they live on their boats. How they prepare for fishing, smoke the waterpipe. They even have a floating supermarket. We make a tour on the lake in a shikara (little boat) to see the floating gardens full of lotusflowers.
Life on lake Dal
Living on boats...