The Best Vacation

What is your favorite vacation spot? I was finally entering “India” again, after a month-long sojourn into a world of Himalayan calm, yoga and Tibetan Buddhism (Dharamsala hardly feels like India). Was I ready to free fall back into the masala mania? While the traveler in me was excited to get back on the explorer’s road; the solo gal in me was dreading it. Having found roots for a month in my yoga-family cocoon, I wasn’t thrilled with going back to solo-roughing it. Fortunately when you flow with the universe, it provides you with what you need; thankfully, it granted me friends who wanted to visit the next city on my list– Amritsar.

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I inhaled the new landscape, watching our six hour drive go from Dharamsala’s plush mountain valleys to arid Punjabi farmland, bhangra beats and turban coiffed men on motorbikes. Well-paved roads, an organized city layout and a stunning jewel of a gurudwara (the Golden Temple), we had arrived in the proud city of Sikhism. Was this India too? That warm and romantic feeling towards travel came over me again. India had surprised me with a different face again. Amritsar was nicer and proudly distinct over other Indian cities and towns I’d been to layers cleaner too! The best vacation I had; even though it was short.

But what can you see in Amritsar, if you’re short on time? The Golden Temple is an enormous Sikh Temple located in the heart of city Amritsar, and is the most important place of holy pilgrimage for the Sikhs. It is a powerful monument of immense historical importance that represents the magnificence and strength of the Sikhs spread all over the world. The glorious temple is a living example of the spirit of tolerance and acceptance that the Sikh philosophy propounds. In the other temples, the devotees have to climb up to offer their obeisance but, in the Golden Temple, devotees have to step down to offer their homage.

You don’t have to worry about not being able to find it as the temple walls dominate the surrounding views and the throng of people and cycle, scooters, moving to, from and around it will point you in the right direction. For a nice change entrance to a holy shrine is free. You are requested to remove your foot ware and cover your head before you enter the main temple complex, although you can get the right idea of what to do by looking around. I’m sure if you make a mistake a helpful temple guard or pilgrim will set you straight. You can leave your shoes and bags quite safely at one of the drop off points.

The Temple itself is a beautiful shrine found in the center of a crisp, clean and fresh man-made lake with fish swimming in the shallows and some shady spots under trees which erupt through the marble periodically. 750kg of Gold were used to make the temple. Not only is the Temple itself breathtaking, but the feel of the place is incredible. There is something tranquil, moving, relaxing and inspiring about sitting in the shadows of this testament to the Sikh faith. You really don’t have to be in any way religious to appreciate it – and even if you’re not there is bound to be something of the spiritual which rubs off on you here.

You could easily while away hours here (as I did! ) – And it’s worth visiting at different times of day to appreciate the changes in light. There is constant recital from the Sikh Holy Book which acts as a fantastic soundtrack to the whole experience. Words, at least my words, cannot accurately describe the feeling of peace and tranquility that radiates all around in this temple. Its architecture represents a unique harmony between the Muslims and the Hindus way of construction work and is reputed as one of the best architectural wonders of the world.

It is often quoted that this architecture has created an independent Sikh school of architecture in the history of art in India. Enjoy the humor of the India – Pakistan border crossing performance. You have to see it to believe it and when you do, you’ll want to see it for yourself. Then I went to visit the Mata temple. If you’re into a unique temple experience with a bit of camp, then the Mata temple is the second to the gold in Amritsar. Guidebooks don’t call it a labyrinth for nothing. Devoted to a female saint, Lali Devi, walking through this Hindu temple is like taking a journey through different houses and god/goddess sectors.

You’ll walk up and down staircases, duck through low arches, wind through corridors and trudge through water — it’s a bit of a workout but it’s sure to keep you entertained all the way. Oh yeah, if you’re a woman looking to get pregnant, this is where you’d want to pay your respects! Shri Durgiana temple was the other place I visited. Durga is the mother of all goddesses. Her temple is a 20 minute walk from the Golden Temple and resembles it as its set in the middle of a large pool of water. Receive holy blessings & look a little silly (but hey, who can’t use a little luck? ).

Watch a baby celebrate his first birthday. When children (girl or boy) turn one year old, they receive a ‘baldy’ shaving at the temple. “Unbelievable” I yelled out that evening after seeing the city all around in two days. Explore the variety of shops and street vendors. Variety of foods to eat, my most favorite was dosas. Dosa is a kind of a thin, crispy crepe which is contains cheese, spinach, veggies, etc… and a side dish of dip. I can say trip to India, seeing the Himalayas, different temples in the city of Amritsar, but especially Golden Temple was the best vacation I ever had.

In the above essay the first two paragraphs are narrative. Since a narrative relies on personal experiences, it often is in the form of a story. I used this technique, and make sure I included all the conventions of storytelling: plot, character, setting climax, and ending. It is usually filled with details that are selected to explain, support, or embellish the story. All of the details relate to the main point the writer is attempting to make; in this case is the best vacation. The verbs are vivid and precise.

The sentences used in third, fourth and fifth paragraphs are descriptive. In these paragraphs I have a particular reason for writing the description that is about my best vacation. Getting in touch with this reason it helps me to focus on description and imbue the language with a particular perspective and emotion. Ultimately, whatever I perceive or experienced I focus on the descriptive writing. I used both narrative and descriptive sentences in the whole essay. It starts with the narrative sentences and relates to each other with descriptive sentences.


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