In 2011 we visited Amritsar, northern India, best known for the Sikh Golden Temple, as well as Jallianwala Bagh, scene of a terrible massacre of civilians by the British.
The Heritage Walk is organised by the Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board, and our guide was Ravi. The walk took us back through 450 years of the history of the Old City of Amritsar, and off the usual tourist beaten track to 17 sites of religious and historical importance. Ravi's passion for his city was infectious as he pointed out so many interesting landmarks and details that visitors would never really notice, such as an ancient banyam tree growing through neighbouring shops and houses, temples of every variety and era, and piles of wonderful spices. There was a rundown square, once so grand, then used to house the Gujurati community who were invited into the city to encourage commercial development. Looking upwards we were shown delicate trellis work and frescoes around old balconies which were once the pride of British houses. We came to the "crawling street - flogging booth" named after more cruelty by the imperial soldiers, but now dangerous to approach due to the number of wild dogs.
The walk starts at 8.00am before the crowds, horns and mayhem fill the streets; but we did come across the street sweepers and occasional cow. After an absorbing two hours we emerged just by the Golden Temple. Ravi made it a truly fascinating walk, an experience to be recommended.
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