This letter, dated September 30, 1979, comes from Sat Kirn Kaur Khalsa. See pictures from the trip below.
Sat Nam Ji,
We just got back from our Yatra to Hemkunt Sahib. What a trip it has been. How beautiful it is to back at the Golden Temple. Two weeks in India and I feel as though time has almost stood still. I thoroughly enjoyed the Yatra to Hemkunt Sahib. Believe me, climbing up to Hemkunt Sahib is hardly the whole of the challenge of the Yatra. We started out on an overnight train to Hardwar – the Hindu city on the Ganges. The train, luxurious by Indian standards, but something of wood, rough, hard and more like World War I vintage to my imaginings. But we could stretch out and with our pads and sleeping bags we spent a good night. The countryside is lush and green, so peaceful to look at, so unhassled by the ravages of modern technological society. Sun shining to greet us in the morning we were met in Hardwar by two very comfortable looking buses which took us and our sea of luggage to Rishi Kesh (top knot – hair) where a large Gurdwara is situated just near the Ganges River. Grazing land, hills and Ashrams situated across the Ganges from overlooking hillsides filled our panorama from the rough-hewn six-story guesthouse that housed us for the night. This Gurdwara contains an orphanage where homeless boys of all faiths are brought and raised as Sikhs. What an oasis from the poverty and filth that dominate so much of India. It appeared that the boys spent a good deal of time learning and practicing Kirtan. Guru Mustuk Singh, at first glance ran to join them and spent his first hour there peeling and chopping onions for the langar. He felt at home there and later won the joyful attention of the little boys as he played by the swimming pool (green with algae growth) just next to our building. People love the children too much and they become silly very quickly