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  • Writer's pictureseimaistato

Sitting on the ground

Amritsar, India - Dicember 2023

I still remember the stories of a dear friend when I asked her what I absolutely could not miss on a trip to India: the golden temple of Amritstar she told me.

Harmadir Sahib, 'the temple of God' its original name, is the main place of worship of the Sikh religion where every believer must go at least once in a lifetime.

I had never heard of the Sikh religion until that moment and the image of that temple had completely enraptured me that I could not help but find a way to visit it.

The Sikh religion believes in the existence of one god and the teachings of 10 gurus. Founded in 1469 by the first guru Shri Guru Nanak, it is based on the equality of every human being before God. It is based on three fundamental principles: remember the Creator at all times; earn money by working honestly; share the gain.

We leave our shoes and socks at the entrance and walk barefoot towards the entrance, walking on a red carpet, specially placed so as not to feel cold. Everything is white.

The feeling of the spirituality of the place, combined with the twilight colours of the sky, grows enormously the closer we get, and as we climb the last few steps I freeze: a building covered in pure gold shines before my eyes. It stands in the centre of the sacred pool, the Sarovar, and is connected to the mainland by a footbridge where all the faithful wait in line for their turn to approach God.

I stood in silence for several minutes admiring it.

I am with an Indian friend who tells me about the principles of this religion, including social equality, which is why in every Gurdwara in the world (place of worship of Sikhism) it is possible to eat in a community kitchen open to all that they call a langar. Whether you are man or woman, rich or poor, of any religion or ethnicity, sitting on the floor together and sharing a meal is a testimony to equality and social equality.

In Amritsar at the Golden Temple and in the Sikh temple in New Dehli, almost 100,000 meals a day are served.

The thing that surprised me about this religion is its genuine altruism.

Entering one of these kitchens and seeing with my own eyes the gratuitousness of the gestures of all those volunteers who are there to prepare the next meal without getting anything in return really made me think.

Donating even a moment of one's time for others. That precious time that most of us are afraid to lose. Anyone who wishes can help, myself included.

Golden Temple  Amritstar
The first sight

Golden Amritstar
Golden Temple
Golden Temple Amritstar
Around the Sarovar

Sikh Temple New Dehli
Inside a langar, a Sikh temple kitchen
Sikh Temple New Dehli
Chapati a volontà
Tempio Sikh New Dehli
Volunteers cooking
Tempio Sikh New Dehli
Pots and bare feet

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