On Sunday my husband daughter and I went to a beautiful Gurdwara in the El Sobrante Hills. We got off the freeway and turned onto a steep mountain road. We went up and up and up. The roads got narrower and more treacherous. Why is that always the case? A road can be flat and wide but then you add an incline and suddenly the maker of the road does not seem to think the lanes should hold a normal sized car! Well regardless, we went up and up and right when my husband started to doubt my ability to type in the right address into the GPS, we spotted the Gurdwara at the top of a huge hill. It is a beautiful Gurdwara with stunning views! It was well worth the upward climb!
We went into the Gurdwara and paid our respects to the Guru Granth Sahib and prayed. The Gurdwara is really comfortable with many places to sit and relax and pray. There are several levels to the Gurdwara which made our time there feel like an adventure! I very much enjoyed the tranquility of the space!
After Praying we went to the Langar hall to have a meal. As we sat down a group of people came walking in. They were loud and obnoxious. They obviously did not belong to the congregation and were tourists. I love cultural and religious exchanges but only when it is done respectfully! These people were not at all respectful.
In Sikhism all people are required to wear a cloth to cover their head. This is posted in signs everywhere in the Gurdwara. There was a women in the group who wore a sun hat! A sun hat is not a respectful way to cover ones head in the Gurdwara.
I gave her the benefit of the doubt, she may simply not understand. So I approached her and I mentioned to the women there were scarves for women as well. She responded in a loud obnoxious tone. ” Dont worry honey I wont be here long”. I was shocked! I had never seen anyone act so disrespectfully! The women then proceeded to take photos of people in the Gurdwara!
In the main hall with the Guru Granth Sahib ( Sikh Holy Book) both the man and the woman spread their legs out with their soles of their feet out which is greatly disrespectful. People paying respect to the Baba Ji cross their legs to show respect and modesty! The holy book is considered the living book of God! I have brought several non-Sikhs to Gurdwaras in the past and none of them ever did these things!
These people visiting the Gurdwara did not pay attention to their surroundings, do research, or show respect. They walked into a place of worship as if it were their personal backyard not caring at all for the customs or beliefs of other people. Please when visiting a place respect all the customs of these people. Take the time to do some research and pay attention to the people around you. Most importantly show Respect!
Dont be THAT tourist Please!