Travel Route: Amritsar – Chandigarh – Kalka – Shimla
Amritsar is one of those Indian cities that can challenge all your senses. It is messy, polluted, dirty, and in constant unfinished construction. It is hot and humid, like in a steam bath. The traffic is crazy and unruly. The ocean of people in and around the Golden Temple challenges the notion of ‘personal space.’ Regardless, the border crossing ceremony and the Golden Temple were magnificent.
The Border Crossing Ceremony
Every day around 5 pm, the border between India and Pakistan is closing. The border crossing ceremony is elaborate and festive – marching soldiers who look like proud peacocks waving their body parts most theatrically. The thousands of people who gather to see it, on both sides, are a scene onto themselves. The Indian side was the best party in town. Some call it the “most ridiculous ceremony,” to which I say: if all conflicts end in this kind of ceremony, I’ll take “ridiculous” every day.