Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Golden Temple: Then and Now

Photo of Golden Temple from 1859
The Golden Temple, 1859, by Felice Beato

The holiest gurdwara for Sikhs is the Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar, India. When we visited my father-in-law in 2009, we visited the temple, more commonly known as the Golden Temple.

Amritsar Visit: Harmandir Sahib
Me and Anjali's dad at the Golden Temple

So, last weekend, my wife and I joined some friends at the The Getty Museum. One of the exhibits showcased photographs from Felice Beato. And, one of those photos, taken in 1859, was of the Golden Temple. While standing before the display, I showed my friends the photos from Amritsar, taken one hundred fifty years later. A security guard came over to tell me that taking photos within the exhibit was not allowed, but she stopped short when she saw that I was not taking a photo, but rather showing my own photos. I did come back to the photo, to save notes in my phone about the photo: when it was taken, by whom, et cetera. The guard came up at that time and asked if I had been to the location photographed, as she could not tell from a distance. I then showed her a few photos, and when the photo of me in Amritsar came on the screen, she looked at me, back to the phone, and back at me. Head tilted a bit, she asked, "Is that the same shirt?"

Amritsar Visit: Harmandir Sahib
At the Golden Temple in 2009

Yeah, it is the same shirt. Well, probably. I have four identical green shirts. I have worn this shirt (or another green shirt) many times.

Petting Mallot
Green shirt in Jodhpur

Fort Rajwada rooftop, waiting for a beer
A different green shirt on a different day of the same week: Jaisalmer

Paying for supper
At dinner in Bangalore

Me and Bruce
Yep, same shirt!

So, after all that, I went back and took a photo of the photo. I needed it for this entry, to tell the story. But, it is cool to see a 150-year span of a spot in photos.

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