Wednesday, 14 May 2014

My A-Z of Mumbai Shopping

After my A-Z guides to Mumbai Places and Food, I give you the BombayJules A-Z Guide to Mumbai Shopping. 

1) Please follow the links for location information and further details
2) Do bear in mind that these are my personal choices (with the exception of Nature's Basket)
3) Regular readers will know that I have a particular passion for antiques and interiors, so apologies for the bias!
4) These outlets mostly highlight products originating in India

One of the most hidden antiques stores in Mumbai is Anemos in Raghuvanshi Mills (near the big Good Earth shop).  Anemos is actually a store retailing high quality ceiling fans, but if you ask the staff in there nicely, they will take you up to a first floor showroom filled with a wonderful array of teak furniture and Indian antiquities sourced from all over India.

Anokhi is my preferred choice for ethnic clothes shopping - a store selling Jaipur hand block-printed quilts, tablecloths, women's, men's and children's clothes.  Extra large sizes are available and the prices are excellent! I recently bought a top for my mum for 1,100 Rs (£11/$16) which I later saw being retailed in a UK branch of 'East' for £59! (Rs 5,900/$90). Great place to stock up on non-tacky Indian themed presents to take back home. Branches in Chowpatty and Waterfield Road, Bandra.

Gorgeous printed dresses at Anokhi (photo:
For costume jewellery lovers, there is Amrapali - a favourite of Bollywood stars and a certain expat I know - MaximumCityMadam. Interesting designs in hammered gold is a speciality, punctuated with semi precious stones. Also find pretty special silver pieces - which is unusual for a gold-loving city! Branches in Juhu and T2 at Mumbai Airport.

A big hit with the wealthy set (and expats) is the Big Door in Bandra.  Here you will find a glorious selection of jewellery handcrafted in Jaipur as well as Rajasthani artefacts and furniture - all housed in a huge, beautifully laid out showroom on two floors.  You can't miss the store - the entrance is the biggest pair of green doors you have ever seen in your life.

More eclectic and worldly is Bungalow 8 in Colaba - a lifestyle store that also sells women's clothing and accessories.  I like the slightly industrial feel to some of the furnishings on offer.

So many Cs, so little time! All my favourites are here.  First off is Camelot - a wonderful antiques store housed in a gorgeous old villa in Kemps Corner.  Good quality furniture and realistic prices means there is always something new to view.  Everything is in a finished state so can be delivered immediately (unlike most of the antiques haunts in Mumbai). Keep an eye out for the sales when there is a clear out of stock with up to 30% off.

Contemporary Arts & Crafts (CAC) in Fort is going to be your most original bet for interesting, quality gifts and Indian crafted items for your home.  Colourful quilts, lacquered kitchenware, wooden and brass objet, stationery, jewellery, scarves, small items of furniture, lamps and paintings are all here. You need a good 30 minutes to browse!

I have been to Chimanlals so many times that I must surely own shares in that company by now. Every time I open a cupboard in my apartment, something from Chimanlals falls out!  Heavenly handmade stationery is cheap and abundant at this store in Fort.  It's a bit old fashioned but that's part of the charm. You can fill a whole bag with gorgeous cards, gift tags, notebooks, colourful wrapping paper and writing paper for less than an English tenner.  And I love the desk calendars they bring out every year for a mere 125 Rs.

I have to mention Deepaks - the wine shop on Pali Market in Bandra.  It's kept us in Sula wine, Kingfisher lager and even Shepherd Neame ales for the last two years. I wouldn't go so far as to say you get service with a smile but every time we have called up for even just one bottle, it's been delivered to us within a few minutes (and with a complimentary packet of spicy snacks!)  Very efficient!

For the home, Dhoop is a pretty decent home accessories shop in Khar retailing lovely candles, floor lamps and other handcrafted items from all over India. Prices are very reasonable.

Blink and you'd miss Eastern Treasure which is located on Hill Road in a building above Playclan and Lakme Salon.  In my view, this is the perfect store in which to find furniture and accessories for the bachelor pad. Designs are distinctly with a British Gentlemen's Club feel and I love the 1930s style aviator and trunk desks and leather sofas. There is no other such shop catering to blokes in Mumbai.

Blokey aviator desk at Eastern Treasure (see the same one on Two and a Half Men!)

My favourite contemporary home accessories store in Mumbai is Freedom Tree (branches in Bandra and Lower Parel). Enter the shop and you will be faced with an abundance of colourful quirky textiles, furniture, kitchen goods and smiling staff.  I love the cheery Scandi-Japanese inspired prints and the sense of fun. Products are also available to order online

Good Earth is an interior shopper's paradise and the second home to most expats residing in Mumbai. The design aesthetic is second to none but the prices are to match.  My favourite department is the cushion/pillow section (with colourful Indian motifs such as Maharaja figures, tigers and elephants) followed by bedspreads which can cost upwards of Rs 10,000 (£100/$150). But there is no arguing that the collections are stunning and completely luxurious.  The proprietor of this chain has sourced the best that India has to offer as well as producing in-house designs.  Find everything your home could possible need including western style furniture, lamps, bathroom accessories, stuff for children's rooms/nurseries, mirrors and even clothing.

The Mysore Collection (Photo
If you're searching for a western-style supermarket then Hypercity should fulfil your needs.  It's just a shame it is so far from Bandra or South Mumbai.  I was quite amazed when I went grocery shopping there - because I found proper tills with moving conveyor belts! The selection of fresh fruit and veg is great - all individually packaged like you would find back home. There is also a Waitrose section selling tinned and bottled goods, pasta and cereals etc (such joy!) and you can buy western cheese, hams, foreign wines etc. 

Waitrose at Hypercity
For my only purely online entrant, I refer you to India Circus.  India Circus is like a more fun, cheaper and younger version of Good Earth.  And there is probably good reason for that as it is one of Good Earth's main designers - Krsna Mehta - who struck out alone to set up the concept. In his own words ..."with an all-Indian palette, the India Circus vision juxtaposes India's decadent royal past with her modern urban-scape and even local offer a refreshingly distinct and vibrant aesthetic"...ooh, stick that in your pipe and smoke it!  Again, I am attracted to the cushion covers, but you will find Krsna's colourful prints on everything from bags to Ipad covers to bins and coasters. Love it!

Joseph's - in my mind, is the best butchers (cold storage) in Mumbai (or perhaps just Bandra, as I don't know much about fresh meat retail in the rest of the city).  For two years, I have been recommending this place to every expat who has western expectations of plump chicken breasts, American style steak and Yorkshire Pork roasts.  If you don't mind a lecture on God from the owner Anil if he so happens to be there, it's quite a fun experience getting your weekly meat purchases from Joseph's.  And it always blows my mind just how many people he employs! (Don't forget to bring your own plastic bag).

My favourite bookshop in all of Mumbai is the colonial styled Kitab Khana down in Fort.  With its wooden balustrades and book-shelving, a marvellous collection of coffee table books and its own cafe, an hour's browse here is wonderful.  You will also find row upon row of British classics as well as contemporary Indian writers. Very tasteful selections!

Everyone has heard of Anokhi. But not everyone has heard of Kilol - a clothing and textiles shop on Turner Road in Bandra that sells traditional hand block-printed items from Jaipur.  The design aesthetic is not quite as cool as Anokhi - but I still enjoy shopping for colourful kurtas, dupattas and cushion covers there. Plenty of gift inspiration too.

Need a spare part for an old computer?  Phone not working? Want to get into CB radio-ing?  Then you need to visit Lamington Road (no link - find it near Grant Road station in South Mumbai).  Known as the "IT hub of Mumbai" (a bit like Tottenham Court Road in London but not), Lamington Road is a wholesale/retail electronics market.  Find computer goods (new and second-hand), electronics, TVs and wireless equipment at rates much lower than MRP.  Find old/outdated electronic parts such as transistors, cables, tuners and capacitors.  A geek's paradise!

Le Mill is an upmarket furniture store housed in a huge old mill in Wadi Bunder (there is also a 'concept store' in Breach Candy).  You won't find Indian handicrafts here but if you are looking for Danish designer furniture, rugs, metal lamps and accessories, then this is the place for you.  It is owned by glamorous types and caters to glamorous types.  Feedback from expats is generally that it's a bit pretentious and very over-priced.  We bought our sofa from there which promptly fell apart. Make of that what you will.

Magnolia Home Store was one of the first furniture shops I reviewed.  It was great then and it's still great now.  Wooden beds, chairs, stools and sideboards made from upcycled teak; bedcovers; handmade candleholders; seating recovered with Indian textiles.  The brainchild of Maulika Gandhi, I liked the fact that this was a 'proper' spacious interiors store with room-sets so you an imagine how things will look.  

I actually wracked my brain for 'N' so that I wouldn't have to mention Nature's Basket, but couldn't come up with anything else - so I therefore have no choice but to write/complain about it.  Godrej's Nature's Basket is my nemesis (and a cause for hatred amongst most other expats I have spoken to!)  It is an upscale grocery store with western pretensions but without western service or management style. Yes, you can find a whole host of expat foods here including Italian olive oils, pastas, Cheddar Cheese, bacon, hummus, fancy breads and Lurpak butter.  But what you have to go through to obtain these items beggars belief.  The veg is usually past its sell-by-date; the people on the meat counter are usually standing around chatting whilst ignoring you; and the till operators lack any common sense whatsoever (once you get to the till that is...the queues are usually long due to the management's inability to keep all tills open at all times). And let us not forget the prices.....say no more.

Amazingly for me, I did not mention Chor Bazaar under C ('so many Cs, so little time') so I have a duty to mention Oshiwara furniture market in Jogeshwari.  An antique hunter's paradise where all the shopkeepers are called Khan. Find genuine and repro Art Deco desks, rosewood chairs, granite pillars, wooden monkeys and everything in between.  Please remember to spray yourself with mosquito spray and take a gets hot in those narrow little warehouses!

Lots under P too!  First off is Playclan on Hill Road, Bandra - a fun little shop selling pop-art-with-an-Indian-motif products such as coasters, T-Shirts, messenger bags, art and clocks. As the name suggests, it's playful, it's young, it's cool.  Shop online here.

Pure Living is based in Phoenix Market City (Kurla) and is an interiors shop selling contemporary furniture and home accessories.  It's mid-market and inoffensive and we found it very useful for buying plain white crockery and decent cutlery, casual bedspreads and towels in plain colours and shimmering glass candle-holders. You can pick up straightforward sofas, coffee tables, table-lamps and mirrors for reasonable prices. Recommended for starter homes/expat movers.

If you are looking to deck out a kid's, teenager's or even adult's party with balloons and novelties -  or you are trying to pin down a Spiderman fancy dress outfit, then you will need Party Hunterz (Ambedkar Road, Bandra and another branch in Goregaon).  It's the go-to place for moms who want to hold the best party on the block for their offspring, as well as babyshower, stag/hen and halloween party accessories. Shop online here

New entrant is Pondicherry - a charming south Mumbai store stocking antiques and furniture made from re-purposed architectural salvage, as well as the odd contemporary piece.  Some well priced home accessories are also thrown into the mix.  Follow the link for my blog.  The owners Lina and Rahul are utterly charming.

No shops beginning with Q that I know of - but Quikr is (quote) "a city based free classifieds website that helps people buy, sell, rent, find in categories like furniture, mobile phones, cars & bikes, services, pets, real estate, jobs, education entertainment and matrimonial. You can post free ads and reply to ads on Quikr in the city you live in. Quikr websites allow you to post free ads, find what you are looking for and address your regular needs by connecting people in a faster, simpler and easier way".

I love Ritu Kumar for its divine combination of western-ethnic wear (the 'Label' label).  I just wish she produced bigger sizes!  Ritu Kumar ('Ritu Kumar' label) also makes purely Indian wear that is soooo beautiful. For any foreigner looking for embroidered anarkhalis, salwar kameez and saris for a wedding, pop along to a branch (all over the city). Not cheap though.

No antiques lover can visit Mumbai without visiting the Raj Company in Mahalaxmi,  On the ground floor you will find a huge, if somewhat dusty room with genuine, old antiques ready to be finished to your specification.  On the upper floors are room upon room of cleverly reproduced colonial antique furniture - most of which will get shipped all over the world.  All top notch stuff that you won't find in Chor Bazaar!

'The Shop' on Ambedkar Road (opp. Pali Village Cafe) is a treasure trove of reasonably priced Indian handcrafted textiles, clothing and pottery. I particularly like the block printed and cutwork tablecloths and bedspreads - and the plates, bowls and jugs from Auroville.  The clothes, in brightly coloured cotton fabrics are modern and airy - great for hot weather.  There is also a cute kids room - perfect for presents for your tots.

Tablecloths from 'The Shop' (Photo from
Staying in Bandra/Khar (sorry, but that's where a lot of the cool shops are!) is interiors store Sanctum on 19th Road. Here you will find wooden furniture that has been given the shabby-chic treatment (Indian style), industrial style lamps, home accessories, vintage embroidered bags and lots of other interesting bits and pieces. 

Vintage bag from Sanctum (photo courtesy of Sanctum)

Again in Bandra, Something Special at 63 Hill Road (no link) is great for ribbons, glitter pens, novelties, Christmas decorations, crafting materials and lots and lots of knick-knacks. Find stuff to keep your kids amused here.

Chor Bazaar is full of same-y looking stalls with repro and dusty, decrepit old furniture that has seen better days. Taherally's however, makes a bit more effort with its shopfront and inside you will find restored furniture, glass lamps in tutti-frutti colours, art deco objet, bone and glass drawer handles and plenty of other items to keep you enthralled for an hour. They export and they even have a website! Find them at 28 Mutton Street, Chor Bazaar.

Colourful ceiling lights from Taherally's.

Tarun Tahiliani is one of India's most celebrated clothes designers.  His 'India Modern' couture collections are way out of my league but if you are rich and skinny, you will do justice to his creations. Tarun's luxury Indian crafted clothing is infused with European sensibilities.  Aaaah to dream.....

This one is a bit of a cheat - but particularly for British expats - it is possible to buy your Underwear at the 35,000 sq ft Marks & Spencers on Hill Road, Bandra!  Here, you can also find toiletries (including nice handwash and moisturising sets for your guest bathroom), and women's, men's and kid's clothing (including good quality, plain white babygros which can be hard to find).

I didn't mention the electrical retailer Croma under 'C' because I loathe the store - particularly because of the poor service and lack of knowledge about products.  I prefer Vijay Sales (based in Mumbai and branches all over) where you can pick up all electronic requirements for your home such as washing machines, fridges, TVs, tablets, phones etc etc.  

Waterfield Road is a shopper's paradise and very happening road in Bandra -  particularly if you are looking for clothes and restaurants. A refined diversion from Linking Road, find branches of Anokhi, Reiss, hundreds of independent boutiques, Saks Hair & Beauty Salon and Paws 'n' Furs pet shop for pampered pooches.

X & Y
Nothing found worth recommending except Yoga House in Bandra for awesome fresh salads and smoothies (if I was writing a restaurant guide ;-)

And finally we come to the end.  Zaveri Bazaar in Bhuleshwar, South Mumbai is an area of crowded narrow lanes home to hundreds of jewellery shops selling gold and gems (and lots of diamonds!).  It is said that 65% of all gold dealing/trading originates from this market. Giving his name to the market is Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri - possibly the biggest jewellery retailer in India - although you will find that there are hundreds of dealers in the country with the same surname.  Zaveri is actually Gujarati for 'jeweller'.  No link but full address is: Mumbadevi Commercial Centre, 69/75 Zaveri Bazaar, Kika St, Gulal Wadi, Bhuleshwar, Mumbai.  Go just for the experience.

Zaveri Bazaar (photo:

Photos are my own unless otherwise stated.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Pondicherry (Mumbai) - New Antiques & Interiors Find!

Nothing gets BombayJules's adrenalin pumping more than a new interiors find! And here we have Pondicherry (in the Metro area of Mumbai) - a store that is only a few weeks old and the creation of Lina and Rahul Parekh.

Behind the sunny yellow facade of Pondicherry (itself reminiscent of the colourful houses of the southern French-Indian town), I found a charming, bijou store housing an array of interesting, original furniture and objet (note un petit use of a few French words?).  Here at Pondicherry, there is a warmth in all of the mostly wooden pieces, which have been constructed with such care and such attention to detail. What Lina has done is to take interesting examples of architectural salvage and re-purposed them into something contemporary and useful but with a historic reference.  For example, the salvaged Burma teak door frame which has been fashioned into a bookcase with an ancient relief panel at the top.  What a unique piece! There is also teak courtroom balustrade that has been converted into a console table, and the huge old, brass operation theatre light which would add interest to any eclectic interior.  I also loved the coffee table, made from an old, knobbly door on brightly painted legs.   Aagh, why didn't this place exist when I was hunting oh-so-hard for a coffee table! Because of the uniqueness of each of the salvaged parts, it means that each piece of furniture can only be described as a one-off.

My photos don't do the store justice - there is so much to intrigue you in here!
Although most of the products are distinctly Indian - as they make the most of Indian craftmanship and materials - there are also some interesting contemporary designs that have been commissioned by Rahul. Rahul is fore-mostly involved in the construction business but also has a passion for woodworking. This crossover of knowledge has been translated into straightforward, functional furniture with a modernity that blends so well with this wife's more historic pieces.  Rahul showed me a Burma teak desk, inspired by the French designer Jean Prouve, with its angular, laser cut steel legs. Very cool indeed.  And I was also keen on the colourful teak side tables with laminated tops in candy colours.

For a pop of colour, there were several of these handcrafted teak side-tables with laminated tops - pink, blue, green, yellow...take your pick!
I thought that the prices were very reasonable in terms of the amount of craftsmanship and antiquity that makes up each creation (see pics below for further details). And in amongst the larger pieces of furniture are some really affordable accessories - such as the huge sheesham wood mirror for Rs 12,000 or the smaller mosaic mirrors for Rs 8,500.  I also loved the picture frames made of etched metal (starting at Rs 750) and the colourful wooden trays (starting at Rs 900) that bring the collection to life.

So what is the story behind Pondicherry? Lina - already a contemporary Indian art dealer (see website Kalpa:vraksha) has herself been collecting art and antiques for a long time.  Upon moving into a new house a while back, she found that she just could not find what she wanted to decorate her home - i.e. furnishings that were just a little bit different.  So she started experimenting with designs - by taking old furniture, or interesting cuts of wood, panels, doors etc (sourced from all over India) and giving them a contemporary twist using a team of skilled carpenters.  Lina then dipped her toes in the water by exhibiting a few of her creations at an associate's art gallery. But when everything quickly sold out, she knew she was onto something. That is when she decided that she should take it one step further by opening a shopfront.  Lina has a close spiritual association with the Sri Aurobindo Foundation based in Pondicherry, hence why she wanted to name her store after the town. Rahul adds his contemporary twist to the collection by designing and producing the modern pieces described above.  This husband-and-wife (or should I say wife-and-husband!) partnership works in perfect tandem.  They are passionate about what they do and this is reflected in the quality of their output.

Lina and Rahul - the sweetest couple!

The Pondicherry premises actually used to be a wine shop belonging to Lina's father - but I suspect that it will not be long before they are upscaling from their store at 100 Marine Mansions to something much bigger.  I myself would love to see more of these one-off designs!

More pics:

I love this old shrine that has shelves added so it can be used as a mini-drinks or medicine cabinet.

With the doors closed....

Brightly coloured hand-painted trays start at Rs 900.

Iron lace photo frames Rs 750 to Rs 1,100

Incredible salvaged Burma teak door frame with intricate relief panel incorporated above.
Makes for a magnificent and unique book case.  Rs 185,000

Salvaged door panel from Kraikudi refashioned into a coffee table (Rs 75,000).  

To the right is a salvaged courtroom balustrade refashioned into a hallway console.  So original!

Jean Prouve inspired desk - old Burma teak top on laser cut painted steel.  Compact and stylish (Rs 39,500)

May have to go back for this teak lampbase.....

Bowl carved from a single piece of polished granite (Rs 4,500)

Stunning salvaged altarpiece.

Salvaged old teak letter sorter retrofitted in a teak glass cabinet - makes a fabulous wine cabinet! Rs 21,000

Fore something really different, how about these old Jain marble panels set into side tables
I think Rahul said the panels were from the 14th or 15th century,
 so quite a find and worthy of the Rs 145,000 price tag.

A pair of these stunning South Indian gods adorn either side of the doorway

It was hard to take a good picture of this without getting myself in the frame!
It's a vanity mirror console framed with old Victorian, carved Burma teak relief panels.
This would be perfect in a lady's dressing room (MaximumCityMadam, are you reading this?)
Rs 122,000

Not yet complete, this old stallion is about to be converted into a Mooi inspired horse lamp.
Rs 95,000.  Love it!

Even the price-tags are crafted out of wood.  I wanted to buy one!

Rahul Parekh - the coolest man I've met in Mumbai since Mr Beanbag!.

Let's not forget the kids.  I love this jolly hand-painted shelving unit in sheesham (Rs 24,000)

Mother Mary and Jesus is not for sale - but makes a great centre-piece in the store....

....and I love the way that they stand irreverently atop this fold out drinks cabinet/bar!

100 Marine Mansion
Anandilal Poddar Marg
Near Metro Cinema
Tel: 2201-6861

Website: and Facebook

Open 10.30 am to 7.30 pm Monday to Saturday.

Prices are fixed and include all taxes (enquire about delivery).

Directions: If you are coming from Metro side, turn into the road that connects to Marine Lines. Pondicherry is just after the round mosque (in the middle of the road) on the right hand side. Parking from around 11.00 am should be feasible on Marine lInes opposite Kala Niketan.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Scenes from The Golden Temple, Amritsar

If there is one place that can knock you down with a feather like the Taj Mahal's the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Wow, what an amazing place.

Last weekend, Mr Jules and I had the very great pleasure of visiting Amritsar and the Temple with our great friends Mr & Mrs MaximumCityMadam.  We took the two hour direct Spicejet flight to Amritsar (in the Punjab) and then hired a car for the duration of our stay which dropped us off at our hotel - the Hyatt.  I won't say too much about the Hyatt other than we had a great stay there - elegant rooms and dining areas, efficient service, great food - no problems whatsoever.  It was about 6,200 Rs per night plus taxes (£62/$90) which was not bad at all for such a good standard.  On this occasion, we decided not to stay in a 'character-stroke-heritage' hotel.

We made two visits to the Golden Temple - one at sundown and one at sunrise the next morning.  There are ceremonies at 4am and 10pm which is what most of the visitors to the Temple come for - but we decided that a) we would rather consume alcohol at 10pm and b) we would rather not have to get up at 3am because of alcohol.  And besides, there was a video of the 4am and 10pm ceremonies on the hotel TV which was good enough for us!  

The Golden Temple - properly known as Harmandir Sahib - is the most famous of all Sikh Gurdwaras (meaning "Gateway to the Guru").  It was built by the Fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjun, in the 16th century. The doors that are on each of the four sides symbolise the openness of Sikhs towards those of any creed, colour or walk of life.  I have a lot of respect for that particular approach to religion!

The gold covering was installed by the Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the early nineteenth century - thus giving it its English name. The Gurdwara/Temple is surrounded by a large lake or holy tank called the Sarovar. This consists of Amrit - being 'holy water' or 'immortal nectar'. Hence how the city got its name.
To get into the temple complex, we had to take our shoes off and hand them in at one of numerous counters (in exchange for a numbered token). We then washed/shook our feet in a shallow pool of water before entering.  We also had to cover our heads (us ladies in dupattas/pashminas whilst the men donned bright orange 10 Rs bandanas, available to buy anywhere outside the complex).  As you step past the foot-bath and walk through the archway, you glimpse the electric-golden roof of the temple for the first time. It is a moment I shall never forget, along with seeing the Taj Mahal for the first time. 

Over 100,000 people visit the Golden Temple every day to worship and hear chants read from the Guru Granth Sahib (the holiest text of Sikhism) which is always present inside the Gurdwara.  But it never feels overcrowded or rowdy....just incredibly peaceful and spiritual.  The 24 hour chanting which is amplified on Bose speakers throughout the temple complex can be heard from miles away.  

A wider view of the temple complex  and the Sarovar.  Just out of shot to the left are Sikh men partially undressing behind a screen so that they can take a dip in the tank.
Many of the visitors - especially those from rural parts who had come to pay their respects - had never seen fair-skinned westerners before.  So we were followed around by men filming us on their mobile phones and there were many requests for group photos with us.  But it was all very friendly and pleasant.  The Punjabis are the most incredibly welcoming and friendly people I have met in India.

Filming us foreigners
At the end of our evening visit, we were treated to a fireworks display to celebrate the Fifth Guru's birthday! Not only that, but the air was full of static and we saw glimpses of lightning and heard claps of thunder in the background.  Quite a rare spectacle all in all!

Lightning, thunder and fireworks to celebrate the Fifth Guru's birthday
completes our experience of the Golden Temple.

Here are some pics of the amazing Golden Temple and its visitors....

Deep in contemplation

Glorious gold (real gold!)

Just catching a few zeds .zzzzzz

The Golden Temple - a symbol of 'human brotherhood'

Reflections in the water at sun down (stormy grey sky beckons)

Deep reverence for the Sikh faith.

A few of the many volunteers who help prepare (the free-of-charge) food for visitors.  

Stunning colours

Stormy weather

A long queue to get into the temple itself in temperatures of around 40 degrees.

The stunning chandelier and gold ceiling that adorns the entrance to the causeway.  You can't take photos whilst inside the temple. Inside are gurus sat on cushions chanting from sacred books, surrounded by devotees.

One of the four gates

In the queue are folk of all ages, all with their heads covered.

Once inside the temple, you can go up on to the roof.  These are the gold urns that line the terrace.

Very cool!

Close-up of that queue.  We were lucky as we only had to line up for 15 minutes.
Most people can expect to wait 3-4 hours.  

Very glitzy lighting at night.  We thought this may have spoiled the effect? 

Very interesting face and very interesting uniform...not sure what it is

Lovely Sikh family line up for a photo

This little boy has his turban re-wrapped by dad after taking a dip in the Sarovar

Pastel green is sooooo this season!

A team of volunteers help to keep the place spotlessly clean.

Sunrise begins to appear through the clouds

More of the volunteers who cook up offering to take into the temple.

Come back another time for a post about the Wagah Border Ceremony!