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February 24, 2020 / catherinebwrites


Jet Lag was easing and Culture Shock ebbing. We’d seen the Sikh Temple it on the way from the airport. It looked interesting, we decided to chance it . Still not ready for another wild Tuk-tuk ride , we grabbed the first taximan we saw. He was a Sikh and he couldn’t wait to show us his temple.

Sikh’s are the ones who wear the turbans. They are a branch of Hinduism who choose service to others as part of their practice. If you need help, their colourful turbans are easy to spot on the street. Ask a Sikh for help and they’ll give it. That’s the men. I’m sure the women would help you too but, there’s no way to identify them on the street. Decent women are not seen much on the street in India

You take off your shoes before going in to the temple. And cover your head. Our Sikh herded us into the shoe room. He put our shoes in a locker. He procured tiny orange scarves and tied them on our heads. We looked like bad attempts at pirates.

He demonstrated how the marble of the courtyards was cool on in summer and warm in winter. He frog-marched us into the shrine, no photos allowed, and pointed out the pillars and arches surrounding the altar. They were covered in gold. Sheets of solid, embossed gold. Sikhs donate a percentage of income to the temple and this was a very rich temple.

He pointed out flowers and candles, images of gods. Worshippers offering prayers. Worshippers sitting on the carpet in the body of the temple. Worshippers offering incense and money. Scented smoke wafted about. A group of musicians played indian instruments and chanted texts from the Vedas. It was all stragely moving.

He brought us to see the gold-framed, glass-walled room where the musicians slept. A huge red velvet bed took upmost of the space and the curtains inside were pulled across when they slept. Worshippers knelt and touched their heads to the ground before this strange space. Then our Sikh offered us a treat. A trip to the temple kitichens.

Sikh temples feed hundreds of people every day. Anyone can line up in the hall and get food, no questions asked. Sikh men and women volunteer to prepare, cook and serve the food. Our Sikh brought us to see men and women, sitting on the floor, peeling potatoes and chopping cauliflowers. Men stirring huge vats of dahl over naked flames. Women making chapatis. He insisted we stir the pots and roll the dough while he took photos.

I feared for my toes but they survived .

Next off to the huge pool where people bathed. But it was winter so no swimmers, but lots of reflections.

Time to leave and our Sikh helped us back into our shoes, took the orange scarves and returned them to a temple volunteer. We planned to go back to the hotel but our Sikh inisited that we had to see India Gate.

Every driver in Delhi fancies himself as a tour guide.


Leave a Comment
  1. Clare and Joe Brophy / Feb 26 2020 2:29 pm

    On 15th March doe we have to go barefoot & ware a yellow scarf Joe


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