Amritsar is a popular travel destination in Northern India attracting tourists from all over the world. Among one of the largest cities of Punjab, Amritsar captures the heart of many travelers with its spirituality, dignified history, cuisine, and narrow market places.
#The Golden Temple
Amritsar is home to the well known Sikh Shrine “The Golden Temple” or colloquially known as “Sri Harmandir Sahib”. The temple is built from pure gold and exquisite marble work is visible in and around the temple. The Golden Temple is surrounded by a large holy lake containing “Amrit” or the “holy water” which is fed from the Ravi river. The symbolic ceremony – “Palki Sahib Ceremony” – takes place twice a day, when the holy book “Guru Granth Sahib” carried by Palki Sahib(palanquin) is departed to the Akal Takhat Sahib. After this, the devotees and the Gurudwara staff clean the Harmandir Sahib. During this time, the devotees sing the Gurbani Kiratan(devotional tunes). After this purification, rugs are spread back & Peera Sahib(small cot) is kept where the Guru Granth Sahib is placed back early morning. It is a religious ceremony, not to be missed while visiting the Golden Temple.
I would like to share one of my wonderful experience from my last visit to The Golden Temple:
“Me and my cousins decided to visit The Golden Temple in night, around 8:45PM. As we were staying nearby, we reached the temple around 9:00PM. The moment we entered the temple, all those who were inside the temple, were made to sit down by the gurudwara staff for the “Palki Sahib Ceremony“. We sat there for good fifteen minutes and the experience was unforgettable. The devotees sang devotional and melodious tunes. I closed my eyes trying to make the connect with The Almighty and immediately felt the positive vibes. I sensed I could speak my heart out to God, share my joys and cry out my problems. I bowed down to offer my prayers and departed towards the lake. The tears in my eyes when we exited the temple was a memorable experience which I’ll always cherish.”
For all those planning to visit the temple, I would suggest to go in night(around 8:30PM in winters and 9:30PM in summers) so you could also attend the ceremony. I am sure you will not regret this.
Amritsar is a magnificent town placed in the close proximity to India-Pakistan border, well known as “Wagga Border”. Apart from Harmandir Sahib, Wagga border is another major tourist attraction in the town. The “Beating Retreat” or the “lowering of the flags” ceremony is jointly followed by India & Pakistan and is well known as a symbol of cooperation between the two nations.
The cuisine of the town is popular among the food lovers which will tempt you to return to the city again and again. One of the distinguished dish is the “Aloo Kulcha” which is a popular Punjabi fat bread prepared using potato stuffing. The dish is usually served with white peas curry (‘chole’) and tamarind water (‘khatta’) and is known for its irresistible flavor. The trip to the city will be a delight for all the foodies with a variety of delicacies including Kachoris, Naan, Chur Chur Naan, Lassi, Mithais, Chole Bathurey and many more.
#The Old Town
Surrounded by twelve historic gates, the old town holds its grace. While wandering around the city, we encounter brightly lit, crowded and narrow markets where one can easily locate a wide range of fabrics and foot wears (‘juttis’).
“The fascinating culture and zeal of the town will provide you with a long-remembered holiday experience.”
Have you been to Amritsar or anywhere in Punjab?? Do share your experience with us!
– The Wanderer