Friday 26 October 2018


          Ever since our Tri-nation tour to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand,  Meena and I have been trying to pack as much in our lives as we possibly can. Our trip to Ambala early this month, was laced with an exceptional drive to Amritsar for a visit to Wagah Border along with my extended family, on the recent footprints of our Dear friend Capt Pratap. From Ambala we routed back to Mumbai via Jhansi, to visit Meena ’s parents. Her sister Kunj Bali too joined us next day from Mumbai. On Anuj’s insistence, his Grandmother, Urmila readily and willingly agreed to visit Khajuraho, while Kunj decided to remain back to look after her Dad. 

       Four of us took to the road on the Wagon-R at 9 am on 16 Oct, driving 175 km due west of Jhansi. The state highways in MP have been varying from Bad to worse and worst. As I drove, Anuj took to navigation by GPS and googled through for the Chandela history on Khajuraho’s importance. It’s said that the Chandela Dynasty built around 85 huge temples in 20 sq km from 950-1200 AD, only  25 of those have survived in 6 sq km.  Of the various surviving temples, the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is decorated with a profusion of sculptures with intricate details, symbolism and expressiveness of ancient Indian art. Recently, one of the KBC visual qs was based on it.

      We reached  Khajuraho at 1330 and settled ourselves behind the Kandariya Mahadev temple for a quick bite, before starting on our errand visiting the temples in the vicinity. The DSLR snaps below are a testimony of our exceptional interaction with the ancient cultural heritage that has now come under the ambit of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. . Anuj did some quick research and revealed that in those days in the footsteps of Buddha, a large number of youngsters started becoming monks. The Chandela Kings resorted to the construction of temples with erotic statues and carvings, to save the wave of humanity from taking to celibacy. . I remember the last time when we drove through this place from Jhansi to Chilka, where I was then posted 15 yrs ago. Anuj was barely 8 yrs old kid then,  running around these temples, giggling and quipping at some European ladies, “foreignerie, foreignerie..”. 

       By the time we recommenced our return leg after some religious shopping and a refreshing sweet lassi, it was past 7pm. Our drive at night had to be extremely cautious, due to the poor unlit roads. When we turned our car slowly into our cantonment Bungalow, it was past midnight, after yet again beautiful journey of our life.    


         The Radcliffe line dividing Indo-Pak territories on map between Amritsar and Lahore runs north-south between Atari (India) and Wagah (Pak). It is three km to the West of Atari, the last Railway station our side on the rail line connecting Amritsar and Lahore. Wagah, a small village in Pak is half a km West of this line. The famous GT Road grazes the northern edges of the two remote places, made famous due to the daily Colours (Flag hoisting at morning 8am)  and Sunset (Flag lowering) ceremonies conducted jointly by the BSF and Pak Rangers in a huge Arena, witnessed by the enthusiastic spectators from both countries, separated by fence and a robust gate that opens for half an hour for the Flag ceremony, even as the BSF jawans and Rangers strive to out-do each other in smartly conducted military drill amidst the roar of spectators from both sides in individualistic National fervor. The Jawans from both ends march towards each other in singles/ pairs and halt towards each other at striking distance, separated by a White line on the tarmac, but they do not cross either this line or the line of ethos and discipline ingrained in them, despite yelling their battle-cry and stomping their feet. The dual continues till the flag ceremony when the spectators rise to the National Anthem.  

     Last year when Meena and I visited Amritsar Golden Temple on 19 Nov, we gave a miss to Wagah. This year we assembled again at Ambala for Mom’s demise Barsi puja after which we decided to visit Wagah. More so since Capt PS Mehta had recently visited it with an encouraging feed forward. I rang up Capt Pranav Bhatt at Patiala and he arranged 8 passes for us (my brother Surinder, sister Anusuya, BIL Rameshwar Das, 3 nieces and Meena)  through his course-mate posted at Amritsar. My brother-in law, who’s a manager in PNB arranged for his friend’s SUV, for all of us to enjoy the trip in company. I went Live during our drive to Wagah. The Sunset ceremony was sort of a National Festival in the Arena, the glimpse of which you may savor in the pics/vids below.

          Our Wagah visit would have been incomplete without a visit to Harmandar Saheb at the Golden Temple. We absorbed some peaceful and serene moments beside the sacred and beautiful Harmandar Kund, before queuing up for the Darshan and prayers. The langar Prasad was divine and delicious. Hundreds of sevadars feeding thousands of people round the clock, year after year, can only be seen in the world at this Temple of faith. We left Amritsar at 2300 hrs to reach home at 3 am, after having received the  blessings of our Sikh Gurus.

        Both, the Golden Temple visit and Wagah ceremony are out of the world divine experiences to be savoured by one and all….Regards.