During our time in Amritsar, we saw many amazing things. I had three favorites.
My most favorite was the “Crazy Temple”, which is actually very convenient because it told about every Hindu temple in India. In one part you have to climb inside a lion’s mouth. Later you come out of a crocodile’s mouth. I also learned a lot about the religion. I was told many things by our guide and companions, whom we had met in McLeod Ganj. We learned about why Ganesh, the elephant god, has an elephant as a head and why Hanuman, the monkey god, has puffed out cheeks and why cows are holy.
Ganesh has an elephant head because he was very good at guarding his mother. He had been born while his father was gone, so they did not know their relationship. One day Ganesh’s father (Shiva, the most important Hindu god) came home while Ganesh’s mother (Parvati) was taking a bath. Ganesh didn’t let Shiva see Parvati, so Shiva cut off Ganesh’s head. When Shiva realized that Ganesh was his son, he grabbed an elephant head, which was the closest animal head around, and put it on Ganesh’s neck. Fortunately, Ganesh was alright.
The reason that Hanuman has puffed out cheeks is because one time when he was a kid, he thought the sun was a ripe fruit. He put the sun in his mouth. The sun couldn’t fully fit in Hanuman’s mouth, so eventually he spit it out.
The reason why cows are holy is because Shiva rode a cow as his special riding animal.
I also liked the Wagah Border Ceremony. It is a ceremony at the border town of Wagah to take down the flags and close the borders for the night. It is the border between India and Pakistan. Before, there was a party, which I danced in. That was my favorite part.
We also went to the Golden Temple, which is a Sikh temple covered in gold leaf. It has a large complex all to itself. That was boring, except for the food. We ate there. The significance of eating there is that everyone was sitting down, completely equal. They feed tens of thousands of people a day for free! The food was very intense…just like the city itself.