A visit to Sikh Temple

1 March, 2010 at 4:48 pm (Various)

Today I had a visit to the local Sikh temple. I have never been there but it seemed interesting so decided to give it a go. It was definitely interesting!From when I have arrived in England, I have been exposed to several cultures and religions I didn’t have any previous experience. Sikhism is one of these: the first encounter with a sikh man was in Toronto, he was a taxi driver, a huge bodied, fully bearded man with a giant orange turban.

It was interesting to see how long his beard was, and with his huge appearance reminded me of a not so old Santa. Then for several years I didn’t see any of them, living in Italy, it was rather hard to see that kind of diversity. It was possible to see southern indian, tamil, but nothing else.

So here it comes to England, after I arrived here I was immediately seeing them around, driving taxi, eating, or simply walking on the street. In particular I was fascinated by an old couple, an huge man, on his 70 with a candid white beard looking like cotton candy, completely dressed in a white kurta, having next a colorful dressed woman with probably the longest braided tail I have ever seen.

I got into knowledge that there are several temples in England, so why not, shouldn’t be too much of a problem to go for a visit. But I hesitated, I met a few sikh boys which seemed to me perfectly fine and explained me that everyone is welcome to visit their temple. I so spent a few hours on wikipedia, trying to gather informations about the philosophy, and the history.

I there realized that they follow a religion that seems to me on between the Islamic one and the Hindu one, having habits similar to both, and offer hospitality in their temple to every traveller, to the point of offering free food. Interesting concept which has been completely forgotten nowadays, especially in England.

I arrived in the temple rather late, the main function was at 12.30 and I arrived at 14.30. They were very welcome anyway, they just asked me to cover my head, wash my hands, and remove my shoes before admitting me to a white empty room. In the room there was only a small gazebo, which covered something that looked like a book, but big like a small bed. A lamp was burning and there were several symbols of the religion (a shield with two swords).

I was given a small amount of sweet paste to eat, and let alone since they allow every religion to pray in their temple on the condition that they show respect to their religion.

After that, I was admitted to the kitchen, they had already cleared up everything, still they gathered something to eat and offered me a vegetarian lunch.

a bright stainless metal bento box was used to hold lentils, some bread, a sweet, a spicy cookie, some yoghurt drink, etc. The food was quite good, I must say It was exceptionally tasty for being a vegetarian one. I was also offered a huge stainless glass filled with cold water, and a bag with 3 oranges and 3 apples. After eating I spent some time talking with one of them, he was very curious, but happy and not inquisitive, rather relaxed.

The place was lively, was packed with kids roaming around, loads of colorful dressed women were in the kitchens, and the men spent time on sofa chatting to each other, several posters were showing what is what in their religion and what kind of influence other religions had, as well as the most interesting part of their history.

They gave me some times about when they do their service and told me that I am welcome to come back. Sometime I think, we should learn the good from other cultures and apply in ours. Here in England, people tend to be not really friendly, they will never invite you to their homes, nor will gather together..Its a pity, but them seem not to get along to each other easily…I wonder why.


1 Comment

  1. Carter said,

    in my opinion, itialian is more hospitality than british… however, I’ve never been to the two countries… how you think about it?? in taiwan, there are rarely Sikh. most of them are Islam and from southeast asia. it’s quiet interesting about Sikh now. if get change, I will check it out. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: