The city that has been on the top of my bucket list ever since I was a child, is Amritsar. I am so glad that I made a trip to this amazing city and finally ticked it off my list.
If you’re planning a short stay in Amritsar, here’s a list of the most recommended things to do to get the flavour of Punjab and to bask in the essence of Amritsar!
1] Count your blessings at the Golden Temple
One of the most beautiful temples in India, a visit to the Golden Temple or Sri Harmandir Sahib (abode of God) has been on my bucketlist since I was a child. Finally, when I was here, I couldn’t believe how gorgeous and peaceful this place is. Over 100,000 people visit the Golden Temple daily, unbelievable right? You can also enjoy a delicious vegetarian meal from the largest free kitchen in the world that serves more than 50,000 people every day.
The top of the temple is made of pure gold and the reflection of the temple can be seen in a man made lake called Amrit Sarovar which is crystal clear. Hand painted mosaics, gold facades and beautiful interiors, this place is definitely god’s home!
2] Eat, eat and eat like a Punjabi!
Amritsar is a heaven for foodies! If you have a couple of meals here, you will be dreaming of them all the time! Bharawan Dhaba, Kesar Da Dhaba, Brother’s Dhaba are a few places where you can enjoy the best of Punjabi food. Chole Bhature or Kulche, Makke Di Roti with Sarson Da Saag, Parathe, Lassi, Gajar Ka Halwa and Kheema Naan! On your way back, pick up some delicious sweets from Novelty Sweets and your folks back home will be so grateful!
3] Salute the Nation at the Atari – Wagah Border
The Wagah or Atari border, which is also known as the “Berlin wall of Asia”, is a point where India meets Pakistan. Every evening there is a ceremony held here called ‘lowering of the flags’, since 1959. A parade conducted by the Border Security Force (B.S.F.) and the Pakistani soldiers put up a show where they show their pride and love for their nation. You can get a chance to experience the patriotism if you reach there early enough to get a seat for yourself. You can buy tickets for this online or at the venue but you have to be there a few hours before the parade to get good seats.
4] Fill your shopping bags with local quirks and Punjabi Suits
If you love buying local goodies from your travels, you will love Amritsar. You can buy different types of food items like pickles, papads, masalas and sweets. Other than this, you can pick up some amazing Punjabi suits (a traditional Indian attire), heavily embroidered dupattas and shawls and colourful flip flops for really good prices.
5] Re-visit history at the Jallianwala Bagh
The Jallianwala Bagh is a open garden in Amritsar, located close to the Golden Temple, which is known for the most tragic massacre in Indian history. The British Army soldiers upon receiving orders from General Dyer opened fire on a huge, unarmed gathering of innocent men, women and children on April 13, 1919. To save themselves from the firing, many people jumped into a well located inside the Jallianwala Bagh. This well is still preserved here.
When you walk around the garden, you’ll see a lot of bullet marks on the walls, a little museum with the memories of the massacre and grass structures of men firing. The garden also houses a memorial built in honour of the massacre victims. Every evening, there is a light and sound show hosted here which is narrated with a voice over by actor Amitabh Bachchan. This show recreates the events of 1919 that took place at Jallianwala Bagh and is quite an hair raising and interesting experience.
The entry into the park is free and the park is open till 5 PM in the evening.
Amritsar, on the whole, is a wonderful experience and if you’re there on a short trip, you can cover most of these things. Abundant history, filled with colours and culturally rich, this city, like the rest of India, is going to give you an experience to remember.
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