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 marketplaces. So I’m going to present the top things to do and places to visit in Amritsar and around.
Places to visit in Amritsar
The Golden Temple
There are a number of sites to visit in Punjab but *Harmandir Sahib* is one of the most famous places to visit in Amritsar city. The city 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 Kirtan (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 and I would highly recommend as one of the best things to do in Amritsar at night.
An Unforgettable Experience
I would like to share one of the most wonderful experiences from my last visit to The Golden Temple:
“I and my cousins decided to visit The Golden Temple at 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 connection 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 going in the night (around 8:30 PM in winters and 9:30 PM in summers) so you might also be to 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”. Sightseeing in Amritsar is not limited to Harmandir Sahib, Wagga border is another major tourist attraction and is one of the must-see places to visit in Amritsar. 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. Wagah is at Indo-Pak border and located 20 km from Amritsar and a taxi will take approximately 45 minutes from Amritsar to Wagah Border. While visiting Amritsar, make sure to squeeze the Beating Retreat ceremony in the itinerary as this is one of the top Amritsar attractions.
This is one of the major tourist attractions in Amritsar associated with the massacre which happened here under the British rule in 1919. It is a memorial set up in 1951 for innocent & unarmed people who died at the hands of the British Indian army. Shockingly they were not the freedom fighters or protestors, they were peacefully celebrating the Baisakhi festival. Jallianwala Bagh(garden) can be an emotional visit for those who still feel connected to history. To connect with an important landmark in the Indian freedom movement, Jallianwala Bagh should be on your list of must see places to visit in Amristar.
The first partition museum opened in India in the Holy city of Amritsar on 17 Aug 2017. The one and only museum dedicated to the history of Partition between India & Pakistan should be one the top things to see in Amritsar. Located in the town hall, the museum brings back so many chilling memories from the era. The entry to the museum is available at as low as 10INR or 150INR for non-Indians.
Things to do in Amritsar
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 dishes 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. It is said that the authentic Kulchas from Amritsar doesn’t taste same if cooked anywhere but Amritsar. So I highly recommend having a plate of Kulchas while in the city. The trip to the Amritsar 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.
Surrounded by twelve historic gates, the old town of Amritsar holds its grace. While wandering around the city, we encounter brightly lit, crowded and narrow markets. Shopping in Amritsar is surely not be missed. There are various things to buy in Amritsar including a wide range of fabrics and footwears (‘juttis’) and one can easily locate them in the markets. Fancy some boutiques or known brands head to Lawrence Road – which is a posh market for the locals. You’ll also find a variety of eateries there.
The lanes going towards the Golden Temple is now being restored to give the place a vibe of the city center. The lanes are restored beautifully and are given a more historic architectural theme and a more cultural vibe have also been introduced.
This newly renovated Golden Temple road ends somewhere town hall and going towards Hall Bazaar which locals use extensively for shopping.
Where to Stay –
Suggested Read – Punjab’s Culture in Sculptures!!
Where to Eat –
How to reach Amritsar –
How to travel in the Amritsar city-
“The fascinating culture and zeal of the town will provide you with a long-remembered holiday experience.”
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– The Wanderer
Disclaimer – No recommendations provided in the post are sponsored. I’ve provided my genuine suggestions on restaurants and hotels.