Amritsar: Queen Elizabeth-II passed away late on Thursday night. Elizabeth, 96, was Britain’s queen for over 70 years. Queen Elizabeth came to Amritsar during her visit to India in 1997.
During her visit to India, she paid obeisance at the Golden Temple. More importantly, the Queen reached Jallianwala Bagh and paid homage to the martyrs there.
After landing at Amritsar airport on October 14, 1997, Queen Elizabeth’s convoy was to reach Golden temple directly from the airport, but she surprisingly halted at Jallianwala Bagh. This change in her schedule happened at the last minute.
The Queen paid tribute to the Indian martyrs who were gunned down by General Dyer during the British Raj at Jallianwala Bagh. The Queen had reached Jallianwalas barefoot.
Paid obeisance at Golden Temple on maiden visit
Queen Elizabeth, who is on a visit to India, arrived in Amritsar on October 14. At 11.30 am, in her special flight that landed at Amritsar airport. This was the Queen’s first and last visit to Amritsar. On reaching Amritsar, school children were standing on the side of the streets carrying the tricolor to welcome Elizabeth. Amid tight security arrangements, the Queen was to reach the Golden Temple directly from Amritsar airport as per the scheduled programs.
But her convoy walked 17 km from Amritsar airport and stopped in front of Jallianwala Bagh at 12.10 pm. At Jallianwala Bagh, the Queen was welcomed by SK Mukherjee, the then secretary of Jallianwala Bagh trust.
The Queen entered the premises by removing shoes and socks and bowed to the martyrs by offering flowers. She also observed a two-minute silence in memory of the martyrs. The Queen stayed at Jallianwala Bagh for about 15 minutes.
CM Badal welcomed her at Golden temple
After leaving Jallianwala Bagh, the Queen’s convoy reached the Golden Temple. The then Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal welcomed Queen Elizabeth at the Golden Temple. Senior Shiromani Akali Dal leader Manjit Singh briefed the Queen about the Golden Temple. After paying obeisance at Gurdwara, the Queen walked around the Golden Temple complex.
On this occasion, the Queen was also honored with the honor of Golden Temple on behalf of the Sikh Panth. The Queen also specially brought a gift for the Golden Temple from Britain. She had given a glass vase to the then CM Badal. This vase is still kept in the Museum of Golden Temple.
Rules amended for the Queen by SGPC
Pilgrims only allowed to enter the Golden Temple barefoot, but for the first time for Queen Elizabeth, this rule was changed by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). She was given special permission to come to the Golden Temple complex wearing socks. The permission was granted following a request from the Queen’s security advisers. When the Queen reached the Golden Temple, she wore a saffron dress.
After reaching the Golden Temple Plaza, the Queen took off the shoes in the house built there, but kept wearing white socks. She also had white gloves in her hands. The Queen was wearing a hat too. There was also a dispute over it, but till date the SGPC officials have never given any clarification over the incident.