Today was our last full day in India, before we beging the long journey home tomorrow. I am really going to miss it, the sights and sounds , colour and craziness…but most of all, the people who are just so welcoming, humble and friendly.
Our guide today was one of the best we have had on this tour, and he and our new driver (Dave…a pseudonym I would guess) collected us from the hotel just before 10.00, as arranged.
Our first port of call was Jallianwala Bagh, the garden which was the scene of one of the most infamous actions in British Colonial history.
On the 13th April 1919, the British Army, under the command of Colonel Dyer, fired rifles into a crowd of peaceful protestors. Gatherings had been banned, but nobody had told the Indian people, who were unaware. The British estimated 379 Indian fatalities, including many women and children, though the Indian estimate was much higher. It was a decisive act which hastened the move towards independence.
The well, which people jumped into to escape the carnage, is still there.
As are the bullet holes in the walls surrounding the garden.
And the temple, where people were congregating, before they were shot.
The topiary a reminder that this year is the centenery of the massacre.
After this poignant place, we made a return visit to the Golden Temple, this time entering the shrine itself where musicians play constantly from dawn to dusk.
One of the peculiar things about being in India is the amount of times we have been asked to pose for photographs with people – probably a dozen or more times. After posing, we turned the tables in the Golden Temple, and asked our photographers for a photograph of our own.
Every evening, just before sunset, at the Wagah border (the only open border between India and Pakistan), the most bizarre ceremony imaginable takes place.
Unfortunately, this was where the weather let us down, and the first rain in our time here decided to fall….torrentially….we joked it was as if India was sad to see us leave. It didn’t spoil the fun though.
There are two adjoining stadiums, separated by the border, where people from both nations congregate on their respective sides and play music very loudly, make demonstrations against each other.
At one point, they march up to each other with high goosestepping straight out of Monty Python, and make provocative gestures.
Before the flags are lowered, and the border closed for the evening.
Of course, it is all carefully choreographed, and despite the tensions between the two countries, demonstrates the cooperation.
Sadly, our time in India is now at an end and we make the long journey back home over the next couple of days. Early start in the morning, with a 6.50am flight to Delhi.