Day 3 (India Adventure): Sikhs & Streets

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This AM we went to the largest Sikh shrine, Gurdwara Bangla Sahib (aka The Golden Temple), in Delhi. The only thing I knew about Sikhs before was that the men wore turbans and never cut their hair.  I thought they were uber strict followers of Hindu.  More like Hassidics are with Judaism.   I was totally wrong.

The word ‘Sikh’ means ‘disciple’. The religion started 500 years ago in opposition of many Hindu beliefs and traditions. Sikhs believe in one god and equality for all, men and women.  They do not believe in a cast system or some of the terrible, old school Hindu traditions like when a husband dies, his wife is burned to death.  Eeeehhhh….Not cool!

We arrived at the white temple with a golden dome. Women and men have to cover their hair, take off socks and shoes and wash hands (since they most likely touched leather shoes- remember cows are sacred here) before entering the temple.  The shrine volunteers will give you a bandana to put on your hair if you didn’t bring anything. I brought my sarong/wrap.  A large, sacred pool is used to wash.

Hypnotic, traditional, live (Kirtan) Indian music filled the air. It made me want to break out and do some yoga. It was really nice seeing all the different colored attire and turbans. Many men walked around harnessing a Kirpan (sword).  The Sikhs were very nice and I had several men come up and ask me where I was from.  Most thought I was ‘Italian’…really?

We later toured the large, communal kitchen and got to see how they make the roti and other delicious Indian foods.  It made me hungry. I love Indian food and just know I am going gain 10 lbs on this trip.

After our morning education on Sikh religion, we were off on our 4-5 hour drive to Jaipur.  I am literally amazed we didn’t see any traffic accidents or anyone get hit.  These Indian drivers are CRAZY!!  I think traffic rules are more like a ‘suggestion’ here and seldom do you see a stop light.  Beat up vans, cars, trucks, packed ‘buses’ and mopeds carrying whole families weaved in and out dodging each other, pedestrians and livestock.  As we entered the state of Rajasthan we even saw camels pulling carts!

 

 

Hanging out with my new friend in the Kitchen
Avtar, our Exodus group leader talking about shrine
Communal Kitchen