Thousands of photos are stored in my Google Photos account from the past year of travel. I selected the 10 best pictures, with the most interesting stories, to give a good impression of my journey. Sit back and enjoy!!
“How do you want the pumpkin to be cut?” I try to explain to the old lady next to me. She is dressed in a colorful sari typical for India. Her weathered dark skin reveals her age and connection with the harsh outdoor life. The woman laughs and starts to talk to the other women in her local language. I try again but this time with some instructions; I take the pumpkin in one hand and grab a nearby knife. It has the desired effect. The woman grabs the pumpkin out of my hand, starts cutting it in sizable blocks, and points her finger at it. I nod with a smile on my face; that is how she wants it!
A few big baskets of orange green pumpkins are scattered around the covered outside area located in front of the three story dining room. It is packed with mostly women, a few old men and some younger children attached to their mother. It is a complete chaos of sounds, smells you have never met before and colors a fest for the eye. A typical scene in India and one you can never have enough of!!
“Can you give me another pumpkin Marie” I ask her while she is stretching her tired legs. Marie is from Berlin. We met a few days ago in the capital of the Tibetan refugees, Dharamshala, home of the Dalai Lama. Higher up the mountain both his temple and the closely located Tushita Meditation centre are build. Both me and Marie had enrolled for one of the 10 day silent retreat courses but both didn’t got in. We started talking on the way back to the hostel. A friendship started to develop quickly and we decided to travel together to Amritsar, the city of the famous golden temple.
“How many meals are made here?” I ask Marie again astonished. “100.000 but only on special ceremony days. On normal days around 50.000, all for free!” Marie replied. I look behind me to the gigantic dining hall. “That explains a lot.” I softly whisper in myself. From our working spot we can just catch a glimpse of the shiny gold. It is a constant stream of people going in and out of the sacred temple complex. Small families, groups of men, and occasionally a lost tourist. It is a joy for the eye. Women in their decorative saris and the men wearing their colorful turbans, a clear symbol that they belong to the Sikh religion. Their long beards reveal their remarkable tradition of never cutting any hair on their body as it is considered to be a gift from god.
The Golden Temple is a truly remarkable place with its highly decorative temple in the midst of a pond filled with holy water, its largest kitchen in the world serving people for free, and its fascinating Sikh traditions considered one of the youngest religions in the world. A highlight of my travel!