The gates leading to the bath.
My sister was visiting us after months and we all planned for an outing to the Wagah border, Amritsar. But because of the Marathi lit fest taking place in Ghuman, the tickets sold out for the large gatherings of Punjabis and Marathis attending the fest. And we were sent back from the counter two days in a row. The four little kids and us (six elders) were disheartened and could not think of any other near by place to visit. And for a long time we kept driving in our SUV on the roads which was fun for the elders but the four kids who were stuffed in the back seat were losing their patience. All the sugar and chips could not hold them anymore. Anyway, they were pissed.
Attari, which is a village of Amritsar District in the Punjab state of India, 3 km from the Indo-Pakistani border at Wagah and is the last Indian station on the rail route connecting Lahore, Pakistan with the Indian capital Delhi. If you ever visit it, you will know that the area has immaculate roads, very little population, mostly surrounded my farms and the only cars you will see will be rushing towards the border to watch the retreat ceremony.
And then our crappy internet connection, finally, researched this historical place for us, Pul Kanjri ( also known as Pul Moran), near the villages of Daoka and Dhanoa Kalan on the Wagha border. It was built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Moran was the name of Maharaja’s favorite dancer who once lost her silver anklet in the river. Saddened by the loss, she did not perform for him that day. So, the Maharaja built a bridge (pul in hindi) over the river for her to not to cause any further inconvenience.
We had no idea about this place, where it was, if it was safe, were we going to be alone there, is it okay for kids to take along, would it be any good. Complete no idea, no picture about the site. We just bought some snacks, stuffed ourselves in the SUV, took many wrong routes and later corrected them by asking the village people near by ( who were very friendly by the way) and finally reached our destination.
Reaching there, we could not speak for full 3 minutes. Wow, what a beauty it was. The old, historical monuments has this thing about them. They tell you numerous, epic stories. You could hear the walls, the bricks, the stones, the roads, the fencing telling you countless stories about what happened there years ago. And I wondered, this place, which now has been abandoned for years, no one is allowed to reside near by, where you could see the zero line, the troops are now camping there, the check posts, the fencing, the war memorials… was once highly populated, was an important trading centre, was a resting place for the king, there was no border, no division, people lived in harmony and brotherhood, no passports/visas were needed to visit, there were no arms, no animosity but just the friendly exchange.
We explored the beautiful site, the whole day. This is a famous World heritage site declared by UNESCO. We clicked pictures, studied the architecture, observed the preservation. The village locals and several tourists like us, gathered and looked around. It was a quiet, peaceful and scenic place. We, including the kids, enjoyed ourselves. Clicked some beautiful pictures, learnt some history and the kids, well, they got the big playground to run around and play. So, they were delighted. Little did they know that the large playground was once a big community bath for the travelers. Men, women and animals, all sharing the bath. The four sided monument had one for men, one (with the sliding slope) for animals, one(which is sheltered and four walled) for women and one for the temple (where people offered their prayers after taking the bath).
The monument was very neat and groomed. The sides were lined with beautiful flowers and plantation. The site had the boards installed on which the history about the monument and the village was written. In the evening, we all got the pleasure to see the beautiful sunset clear from any obstruction caused by tall buildings. As the monument is surrounded by beautiful, green farms, the sun rays illuminated this pale tint of orange color on the greens, depicting the flag of the country, India. The environment, the surrounding, the feel overwhelms you with patriotism. You can feel the connection there, the sense of belongingness, the unity, the link to the country, the people, the land, the soil. You realize you matter. You are made of the country and the country is made of you. And all these ‘yous’ make the world. 🙂
All in all this well planned, imperfect day turned into a spontaneously unplanned, perfect day for us. This beautiful day will always be cherished.
For more pictures, click here. 🙂