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Amritsar to McLeod Ganj....

Lama to you!

semi-overcast 25 °C

We left off in Amritsar about to visit the India Pakistan border... and what a day trip that was!

On the way we went to the Mata Temple in Amritsar. Now, the Hindu's know how to make a fun building of worship! They could teach a few of these Christians a thing or two! They appear to have based the temple on a mixture of the 'House of Fun' at Blackpool and Las Vegas. As you walk through the temple, you get greeted with multicolor Dieties, you crawl through the mouth of Ganesh and walk through a shallow tunnel of water into the hall of mirrors! All surrounded by mosaics and occassionally a small man who puts paint on your face and gives you some sweet rice to eat. Now that is what all religion should be like in my book!

We then jumped in a car to the India Pakisan border for a display of national pride! We reached the border and found out there are stands of seating and hundreds of people there to watch the border close for the night. Women from the stands get up and dance around on the army parade ground doing all the Bangra moves! Then there is a lot of flag waving on both sides of the closed gate. Then the master of ceremonies (who slightly resembled an Indian version of Michael Barrymoor) got up and started the crowd in cheers of Long Live India (Hindustan Zinzabad!) and 'All hail Baba G' whilst from over the gate Pakistan crowds retaliated with their chants. I particularly liked 'Baba Baba Baba! Gee Gee Gee' to the tune of Oggy Oggy Oggy.

After this there was a whole lot of hillarious marching and kicking from the police on either side. To see is to be believed.

They have then developed a fascinating way of displaying which nation is better. The head of the guards from each side gets miked up and holds a long note for as long as possible. The longer they hold the note, the louder the crowds cheer and apparently the better the country is. Whether the Pakistan or India guard lasts longest means they win! I think this is how all international disputes should now be sorted out! Stuff nuclear power, vocal exercises people! That is the way to success.

Now we have departed Amritsar and headed to McLeod Ganj, the home of the main man, the 14th Dalia Lama. In fact he is in town at the minute so lots of monks around... everyone loves a good monk! Now this place is a world away from the madness of Delhi. We are 1750m up in the foothills of the Himalayas and the scenery is breathtaking. The whole place is very chilled out. Generally lots of monks (I am very impressed with this so may repeat this fact a few times) and aging hippies. The town is full of Tibetan refugees and temples with prayer flags flying from every tree. Couple this with the fact there are wild monkeys everywhere hanging from buildings and temples, free cows chilling out in every spare space and falcans swooping around day and night and it makes a really lovely place to be!

Plan for the next few days? Who knows. Whether to stay until the beginning of October and do some trecking and go see the Dalai Lama's lectures in a few days or whether to move on to Shimla... will let you know when we have got round to deciding!

Posted by Annie Thornton 02:05 Archived in India Tagged amritsar mcleod ganj

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