We reached Amritsar after a comfortable six-hour car trip from Dharamsala. In fact, Amritsar is the closest open airport to Dharamsala, that's for the next time.
Amritsar is a busy industrial city (about one million inhabitants), second largest city of the state of Punjab.

 Indian-Pakistani border. Welcome!

We spent one week here, being hosted by the Guru Nanak Dev University at the opportunity of  The First Interantional Conference on Industrial and Applied Mathematics in the Indian Subcontinent. The organization of the event was excellent, we were looked after in a generous and thoughtful way.  The bus picked us up at our hotel every morning, took us to the University for breakfast and then there was an official program of the conference. Michal took part in that, while Daniela spent this time with other wives accompanying their husbands. In the late afternoon we all met again and there followed a cultural program and a dinner. There are many things to remember: the Golden Temple at night, a cultural fiesta with wonderful dancing at the High School, a ceremony at the Indian-Pakistani border. And last but not least - delicious and HOT Indian food.

 Amritsar, University  Amritsar, Opening of the Conference  Prof. Kapur and Nick
 Amritsar, Cultural Fiesta  Amritsar, Cultural Fiesta
 Indian-Pakistani Border Ceremony  Indian-Pakistani Border  Indian-Pakistani Border
 Amritsar, in the School Bus  Tata school bus  Amrtisar, School Bus
 Philippe  Pammy  Nick and Philippe  Pammy  Carol, Nancy & Claire  Prof. Thomee
In short, we saw a lot!
 Indian-Pakistani border, Daniela and Nick  Indian-Pakistani Border  Indian-Pakistani Border, Daniela and Nick

From the tourist viewpoint, Amritsar is best known for its Golden Temple, the spiritual center of the Sikhs faith. The golden shrine is a place where their Guru dwells. Guru is a holy book, similar to the Bible. Musicians inside the golden shrine  chant the texts day and night. The loudspeakers carry the sound to the whole large site. It is very impressive - palace-like buildings surround the pool with  the golden heart in its centre.  Everything  has almost a fairy-tale quality. White marble inlaid with semiprecious stones, a shrine plated with pure gold,  covered with carpets inside. Everything very beautiful,  very clean, washed  with milk every night. What an experience to come inside from  the dust, dirt and noise. And again, despite all the riches around you, what touches the heart most are  people coming here. The Sikhs are open, honest with natural dignity. You learn to like and respect them.

 Amritsar, Golden Temple at Night  Amritsar, Golden Temple, on the Roof  Amritsar, Golden Temple, Detail  Amritsar, Golden Temple  Amritsar, Golden Temple, on the Roof  Amritsar, at the Golden Temple

There are not many tourists from the West in Amritsar, at least in this season. We would like to warn everyone that January and February are extremely cold months here. The heating is nonexistent. The reason is that the rest of the year is so hot that  the locals enjoy a bit of cold. Well, we did not. Night temperatures  were around zero Celsius, during the day around 8 - 10. Most of us suffered from sorethroat and cough. To keep warm became of primal importance. We did our best: we drank  tea, drank firewater, bought pashmina shawls, swapped medicines and sympathy, supplied human warmth. When I come to think of it now, that cold was not such a bad thing.

 Daniela, Morning Tea  Morning Hygiene  Amrtitar, Carol, Claire & Daniela

First of all, Amritsar is an industrial city. It is a centre of the shawl manufacturing industry. We also saw a large Coca-cola factory, many Bata shops etc. Busy city, busy traffic.

 Morning streets of Amritsar  Amritsar, Bata's quarter  Morning streets of Amritsar
 Amritsar, Shawl Shop
 Amritsar, Street Life  Amritsar, Street Life  Amritsar, Street Life  Amritsar, Dry Cleaners

We left Amritsar on Friday morning, January 26. We went by train together with other participants of the conference. It was the day when the horrible earth-quake hit the state of Gujarat. Being on train we did not feel anything but tremors were felt in Delhi and also as far as in Kashmir.

 Morning streets of Amritsar
Goodbye, Amritsar!

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April 21, 2001 Copyright 2001 Daniela and Michal Kocvara