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Himalaya

Day 30: Amritsar

Amritsar, India 
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There is such a thing as a free lunch. At the Golden Temple refectory with my new friend, Onkar Singh.
Michael Palin - HimalayaTwenty years ago this altruistic environment saw dreadful violence when a group of Sikhs demanding their own state barricaded themselves in the Akhal Takht, the second most sacred building on the site.

The siege was lifted in the infamous Operation Bluestar, when the Indian army brought tanks into the temple and pulverized the building. It's estimated that several thousand died in the fighting. Such was the strength of feeling that a few months later Prime Minister Indira Ghandi, who authorized the attack, was assassinated by Sikh members of her own bodyguards.

Such trauma seems almost inconceivable tonight as a setting sun burnishes the 500 kilograms of gold that sheath the marble walls of the Hari Mandir, hymns echo around the arcades and turbanned and bearded Sikh men and their families move slowly in through
its doors to pay homage to the Holy Book, the most precious object in a religion that rejects idolatry.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 30: Amritsar
  • Country/sea: India
  • Place: Amritsar
  • Book page no: 69

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