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Amritsar is the place of patriotism and peace. It is the headquarters of the 22 districts of the Majha region in the Indian province of Punjab. Amritsar is known for its patriotic history, cultural significance, scrumptiousPunjabi food, and it’s ever joyful and warming people. It is situated at a distance of 455 km northwest to the Indian capital, Delhi, and about 220 km from the Punjab province capital, Chandigarh in the north-west direction.
It houses one of the most important and holiest shrines of Sikhism,the Golden Temple. This attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists from all across the world. The Golden Temple is a Gurudwara (a place of worship for Sikhs) and gets its name from the gold foil which covers the center of this sanctum. The world-famous Langar Hall is also located at this temple which serves hundreds of thousands of people daily from all walks of faith and life.
The city of Amritsar is mostly well known for its spiritual importance but it’s also a place to have a lot of delightful experiences. A fun tour at Lal Devi and Mandir Mata, wandering the streets and tasting the delicacies, shopping for adorable textiles at the central square, visiting places of historical importance such as Khairuddin Mosque, and Jallianwala Bagh, trips to museums are some of the best things to be experienced. This city offers something for everyone and thus it is one of the favorite cities in India alike for both its countrymen and the tourists.
Nearest Airport: Amritsar
How to reach: by air/road/train
Famous for: Golden Temple
Best time to visit: October to March
WHAT TO SEE
Wagah Border Ceremony
The city of Amritsar is also known as Ramdaspur (historically) and Ambarsar (colloquially). It gets its name from the Amrit Sarovar (a pond of nectar), the water of which is said to have therapeutic properties. It was constructed in the village of Tung by the fourth guru of the Sikhs, Guru Ram Das. The land was said to be bought for 700 rupees from the village owners by the founder. It is also believed that the writer of the Indian epic, Ramayana, Maharishi Valmiki has the Bhagwan Valmiki Tirath Sthal as his ashram site in Amritsar and Sita gave birth to her sons at the Ramtirth Temple.
Amritsar city is the cultural hub of the Indian province of Punjab. It is known as the crown jewel (mukut-mani) of Punjab and the city with all the virtues. It showcases the secular heritage and composite culture. The cultural aspect of the city can be seen from its temples & gurudwaras, churches and mosques, khanqahs and takia’s to its art galleries & theatres, libraries & archives, art & architecture, memorials & museums, forts & havelis and festivals & fairs. The people here are friendly, religious, hospitable, and with a tremendous zest for living. The city of Amritsar has also made a significant contribution to folk and Punjabi culture and literature and spirituality.
Places of Interest:
Golden Temple: Sri Harmandir Sahib or famously known as The Golden Temple is one of the sacred shrines of Sikhs. Surrounded by a man-made lake, this temple is a place of tranquillity. It also serves free food (popularly known as langar) to all its visitors and pilgrims irrespective of caste, creed, and religion.
Jallianwala Bagh: It is another significant site in the history of Punjab. Jallianwala Bagh is a memorial of the people who were executed during the massacre on 13th April 1919. This has a complex of 7-acre of a public garden with a well and everlasting flame, which are the popular attractions among the tourists.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum: This museum happened to be a summer palace but was replaced in 1997 as Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum. This stunning building contains priceless and rare antiques from the 18th and 19th centuries. Tourists visit this museum to have a look at the royal heritage of Maharaja Ranjit Singh which consists of painting, war weapons, coins, and manuscripts.
Gobindgarh Fort: Gobindgarh Fort is an iconic cultural and heritage site in Punjab. It was constructed about 250 years ago to prevent the city of Amritsar from getting invaded. Until 2017 this site was under the use of the Indian Army, but then after it was made open to the public, houses museums and art galleries.
Amritsar Heritage Walk Tour: Amritsar Heritage Walk Tour is a curated tour that offers the tourists to experience intimately the feel, culture, architecture and mouth-watering Punjabi food of the vibrant, sacred, and mesmerizing old city of Amritsar. This guided tour is completed in about 3 hours and provides an opportunity to experience the lives of the locals.
Gate Closing Ceremony at Wagah Border: The gate closing ceremony that happens daily at Wagah- Attari border or the Wagah border attracts thousands of tourists. This ceremony is held to officially lower down the flags and close the border for the night. But the tourist witnessing would have an unforgettable experience. The carnival mood and patriotic vibe that fills the area during the theatrical display of military showmanship is an experience everyone must-have.
Village Trip: Village trips are an amazing opportunity to get the gist of the traditional Punjabi lifestyles. Slow-paced village trips are designed so that the tourists get to experience the real Punjab. From milking cows, visiting flour and carpet mills to having a fun ride over fields in tractors and bullock carts, the village trips are an exciting way to explore the city located so close to the India-Pakistan borders.
Punjabi food and cuisine are rich, buttery, and distinctive in taste. Punjabi cuisine is especially famous all across the world for its spicy curries. As Punjabi people are known as people “full of life”, their cuisine is “full of taste”. Some renowned Punjabi food dishes are Butter Chicken, Sarso da saag, Makki Di Roti, Dal Makhni, Kulcha, and Chhole Bhature.
Street Food Walk: Punjabi food is one of the best ones in the world. The specially and carefully curated well-balanced street food walk through the city would satisfy the foodie in everyone. Visit some of the oldest, finest and popular dhabas and street vendors and explore the food jewels hidden in the city. The scrumptious Punjabi food would surely please all your tastebuds.
Amritsar Indian Food Home Cooking Class with Local Family: Amritsar is considered as the ‘food capital of Punjab’. The best way to explore and understand the history and nuances of Punjabi food is by the locals themselves. A cooking class with a local family lets you learn the ways of cooking authentic Punjabi food with some useful tips and tricks from the hosts. Usually, these include 4-course lunch/dinner, cooking demonstrations, and great conversations.
Where to Stay:
Amritsar offers a wide range of comfortable and luxurious accommodation facilities. The Taj Svarna Hotel is a contemporary world-class hotel with stylish spacious rooms and is considered to be one of the best options. Another option for having a good stay in the city is a 200-year-old Heritage Boutique Haveli, Ranjit Svaasa.