Amritsar, The Golden Temple in the Golden City!
Amritsar is a beautiful city and tribute to India’s mixed traditions and secular culture. It showcases how a thriving civilization can still be home to devout center and historical monuments that exhibit a glorious past, spectacular present and anticipate a great future. Ruled by many as the jewel of Punjab, Amritsar is an important city of the Majha region. Renowned as an all rounded city, it’s a treasury of national religion as well as heritage.
The people of this city will always make you feel welcome. Not only are they hospitable, but reliable and jovial as well. In sync with Punjabi culture, they’re always enthusiastic when new people come in to town. They enjoy delicious food and better things in life. Amritsar isn’t just some other city in India with a few monuments to show off, it also displays an elegant lifestyle. It may be modern in it’s outlook, but on the other hand, it preserves and cultivates it’s own enriching uniqueness.
- Currency: Indian Rupees
- Climate: Semi-arid
- Neighboring Cities: Amritsar is 217kms from Chandigarh, the states’ capital and 50kms from Pakistan’s second largest city, Lahore. Smaller towns like Verka, Jaldandhar and Sialkot are 7.3kms, 75.8kms, and 101.8kms away, respectively.
Climate conditions and the best time to plan your trip
Amritsar experiences all four seasons in their essence with temperatures going as high as 49 degrees Celsius in the summer and -4 degrees Celsius in the winter. April to June tend to extremely hot, so tourists generally avoid visiting during this time. The rush of traffic is experienced during October through March, leaving aside January, the coolest of all the months.
Top Spots to Visit
Everyone knows that the highlight of visiting Amritsar is the Golden Temple, also known as Harmandir Sahib, but there are also a few other spots that well worth your time.
- Harmandir Sahib – A few people know that the Golden Temple is so cherished that it receives even more visitors than the Taj Mahal. It’s a must on your things to see in Amritsar list! Sri Harmandir Sahib is the holiest of all abodes for Sikhs from all over the world. It’s placed in the center of a lake, referred to as Amrit Sarovar, visitors have access to it through a corridor of glittering white marble. Though a religious, it’s an important landmark for the nation as well as for the Sikhs, with it’s yellow metal and gold encasing. Be sure to grab something to eat in its vast dining hall and make a wish at the magical Jubi tree.
◦ Opening Hours – 6.00am to 2.00pm
◦ Entry Cost – Free
◦ Time Required – 2 to 3 hours
- Jallianwala Bagh – This garden is a vast tribute to a great tragedy. It evokes the patriotic spirit in any Indian individual. The 1919 Amritsar massacre look place on this site, where British Army Soldier murdered 1579 unarmed civilians while they were peacefully protesting. You can still hear the echoes of their pain in the well, where a lot of them jumped striving to survive the massacre. You can see the bullet holes left in the walls and partially experience the Indian freedom struggle that happened in 1919.
- Wagah Border (Changing of the Guard) – This is one of those experiences that you can’t get anywhere else in the world. Wagah border is the only road which crosses over from Pakistan into India. There’s an elaborate ceremony occurs before sunset every night, where soldiers from Pakistan as well as India enact the military display from 1959.
◦ Opening Hours: Just before sunset.
◦ Entry Cost: Free
◦ Time Required: 30mins
When visiting Amritsar be sure to enjoy their signature paranthas. People from all over India come to the city just for a taste along with some lassi, a dairy product. Aside from that, Amritsar is also popular for it’s tandoori kulchas, marmalades, channa bhaturas, puris, and various kinds of tikkas and kebabs.
If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll definitely enjoy their pinnis and gur ka halwa, available on any street.
Why Amritsar is Amazing!
The Golden Temple is the most important of all Sikh monuments and the holiest of all places. The Holy Water, also known as Amrit, is speculated to contain mystical powers that heal in the Sarover that surrounds the temple.
Being a religious highlight, it’s important to respect the customs that pertain to the Golden Temple. While visiting, you must take off your shoes and socks and wash your feet at the entrance. It’s also crucial that you cover your head while you’re inside the temple at all times.
If you choose to bathe in the Sarovar, please maintain decorum and the ladies should bathe in the separate, covered wing that’s provided for them.
It’s best not to smoke in the city because smoking is against the Sikh religion. If you must, do so in the hotel room because outside, though it might be tolerated, it’s still frowned upon.
Also, if you choose to travel via rickshaw, hold onto them properly because the many bumps in the road are a risk to you falling out of the open vehicle.
Planning your Budget
While in Amritsar, the hotels are fairly reasonable and you can get a room quite close to the Golden Temple for a reasonable price. The temple also allows visitors to stay in the rooms provided by them for free, if any room is available. You can’t book the temple rooms in advance, so the only way to find out is to you go ahead and try your luck on reaching the destination.
The rickshaws don’t over charge by too much, so don’t worry about their prices as long as you haggle a little and the same applies to shopping in Amritsar. Ask the locals to guide you to the best shop for whatever it is that you’re looking for because they’re only too happy to help.