Punjab: Anandpur Sahib, Chamkaur Sahib, the Evil Eye and OMG the Food, Part II

Good morning everyone,

We made it back from Shimla, Chandigarh and my second trip to Anandpur Sahib to Chamkaur Sahib.  First, little sister was sick for a part of the trip and the morning we left Chandigarh, the host unit began to be sick.  This was the trip o’ stomach issues.  Luckily she was cured with a few rounds of Eno and eating from healthier choices on the menus.

You’ve seen pictures of Anandpur Sahib during a previous post.  There’s really nothing new to see.  It was the first time the little sister and the host unit had been to the Khalsa Heritage Museum, which was great for them.  Unfortunately, the line was way too long for headsets so we by passed those.   There was a little excitement when we lost the host unit for some time and had to back track and then move ahead to find her again.  It was crowded this time and little sister has a habit of wandering away from the host unit… sigh.

We stopped in front of Anandgarh Fort to have some chai and to get the girls something to eat (they chose ice cream).  They also chose to skip the stairs at the step well, so you know… shouldn’t be surprised they needed a LOT of rest during the partial hike in Shimla.

After eating at another good Dhaba on the road between Anandpur Sahib and Chamkaur Sahib, we arrived at night at Chamkaur Sahib.  There are several gurdwaras here but the two we visited are of historical importance.   The first was Gurdwara Tari Sahib, which unlike most gurdwaras has walls of exposed brick.  At this gurdwara, Guru Gobind Singh Ji had decided to leave Chamkaur Sahib with his three Sikhs, and all decided to go their separate ways.  To announce his leaving, he clapped loudly and shouted “Here comes the Pir of Hind”, which confused his pursuers but let his three Sikhs know that he was safely leaving the city.

The second was Katalgar Sahib, marks the site of the thickest of the hand to hand combat between the Mughal forces and the Sikhs, including the two eldest Shahebzadas, Bhai Ajit Singh Ji and Bhai Jujhar Singh Ji.  It has a step well as well, though nowhere near as steep as others.  The girls attempted the step well but became fearful as they were in the dark alone and soon came running out.

A large white ox wandered into the langar hall and as I was following it to get pictures and try to help dissuade the animal from entering the langar hall a second time, the host unit made so much noise about me seeing the baoli that I turned around.  Seriously cannot be alone or do anything on my own if she has any say in the matter.  You’ll note the annoyance in my writing.  That’s because I’m no longer trying to hide it.  Making such a fuss at a gurdwara of all places.

If she had different beliefs she would have tried to Evil Eye me all over the place.  Which reminds me of another amusing story.  There are a lot of beggars outside of the gurdwaras and forts at Anandpur Sahib.  I can’t give money to every beggar in town – I’m just not that wealthy and I have a thing about giving money to a particular badly disabled and disfigured man outside of Darbar Sahib who does seva by sweeping the walkways all day long.  I’ve also seen him taking langar at the Guru Ka Langar there.

He gets money from me and occasionally I also give him chai (if he is anywhere near one of the chai wallas when I see him).  I give to him because he is at least making some efforts and as far as I can tell, his isn’t a “put a child or disabled person on the street” scam.  Also, he never begs.  He just goes about doing seva and people sometimes stop to give him a few rupees.

So a young girl approached me outside of Anandgarh Fort and asked me to buy some souvenirs, when I declined she asked for money.  I could see that someone had put a bad makeup job on her lip to make it appear as if she had a cleft lip.  The makeup was smeared because she was constantly wiping at her nose.  Though her face (except the makeup) was clean, there was mud in her hair to make it look filthy.  I declined to give her money and she persisted until the host unit told her to get lost.

Then an older woman showed up and started speaking to us in Panjabi.  She kept repeating about how hungry she was.  I told her that I knew of a place where she could have a free, healthy meal just a short walk away.  She ignored that and kept talking about her hunger and asking for money.  I ignored her and told her I give my money to the langar so that people who need a meal can have a meal and invited her again to join me at the langar hall.  She then got mad and said “give me whatever amount you want”.  I told her that I would give her nothing that day but would gladly take her to the langar for a meal.  She then cast the “Evil Eye” on me.  It’s a good thing that I don’t believe in such hokum.  So far her Evil Eye has been completely ineffective.

Langar halls are incredibly important parts of Sikh life.  Our langars serve hundreds of thousands of free, simple, healthy meals daily to anyone who comes – no questions asked.  All we ask is that you be respectful while there – cover your head, eat next to the others on the floor, no drugs, no tobacco, no alcohol and no violence.  If you are in need of a meal, there is no one who is going to judge or shame you in a langar hall.  You will get your meal.

That brings us to the next topic – Indian food part II.  It’s a poor segue but it works well enough.

The first photo is of the ladoos we made while at the Panjabi farm which I talked about in a previous post.  These are dry, served with tea and still quite good.

Little sister likes what she calls “Chinese food” but which is really some sort of fusion between Chinese food, Indian food and “Whatever We Have In the Kitchen”.  During a trip to a local restaurant we ordered Spicy Potatoes, Veg Fried Rice and Spicy Noodles off of the “Wok” menu.  The potatoes were frozen french fries covered in a ketchup based sauce with some hot sauce thrown in there for safe measure.  The host unit and the little sister liked them while I just thought “What the frack is this ?!? Bwahahahaha.”  Since I hate ketchup, it might have biased my view of the dish.

The spicy noodles were better.  They was way too much of the sauce though, which was a tomato and tamarind based sauce with canned mushrooms mixed in there.  Not my favourite dish but not bad.  I’d chow down on it while watching a movie or something at home when I’m too lazy to cook.

The fried rice was delicious!  It was basmati, which is sort of strange to fry but the whole thing turned out very tasty despite the lack of egg which you would find in Chinese fried rice.  It was served with ketchup on the side.  Ketchup.  On fried rice.  Ummm… no.  That’s just wrong even if you like ketchup.

Anyhow, sorry for the shortish post but we’re dealing with a sudden mould issue here at the res, so off I go to the hardware store.  Until next time all,

Peace and love,


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