Home of the glorious Golden Temple, the iconic city of Amritsar, portrays the heroic character of the Punjab. A day in this peaceful city starts with the spiritual prayers from Gurudwaras. The original name of first the ancient lake, then of the temple complex, and later the surrounding city, meaning “pool of ambrosial nectar.”
Amritsar is the spiritual and cultural centre of the Sikh Religion. Baisakhi festival brings out Amritsar’s resplendent face with its finest food, clothes and merry-making. This place is also famous for its Jallianwala Bagh massacre and its proximity to Wagah Border. The satiating food and generous dollops of legendary Punjabi hospitality further connive to cast a spell upon the visitor. From the Operation Blue Star in the Golden Temple to the tragedy of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, Amritsar has seen the worst of situations and yet emerged like a phoenix through testing times. Amritsar today is a thriving city with active trade and tourism industries. One of the most agriculturally productive cities of India, Amritsar is well connected with most of the important cities of India.
Places to Visit
One of the most spiritual places in India, Golden Temple, also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib, is the holiest shrine in Sikhism and is alive with religious fervour and sacredness. Located right in the heart of Amritsar and is easily reachable from any part of the city. Serving as a symbol of brotherhood and equality, Golden Temple is visited by people from all over the world who come here to seek spiritual solace and religious fulfilment. In spite of the thousands of people milling about in the premises of the temple, the only voice you will hear around you is silence interspersed with chants of the Sikh prayers.
Located in the beautiful city of Amritsar, Golden Temple is just a small part of the vast complex known as Harmandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib to the Sikhs. Its divinity is a thing that can only be experienced and not described. After going through a tumultuous period of demolitions, it was rebuilt by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1830 purely with marble and gold. It is the view of the resplendent shrine, glistening in the centre of the tank that brings an infinite calmness. The spiritual focus is the tank, the Amrit Sarovar, which surrounds the glistening central shrine.
Around the edge of the compound, there are more shrines and monuments. The Sikh Museum is located inside the main entrance clock tower which shows the oppression endured by the Sikhs at the hands of the Mughals, the British and the Indian Government of 1984. The Ramgarhia Bunga is a protective fortress located at the southeast end of the tank and is surrounded by two Islamic-style minarets. Golden Temple is indisputably one of the most exquisite attractions in the world.
Located at a distance of 22 km from Lahore, Pakistan and 28 km from Amritsar in India, Wagah Border marks the boundaries between Indian and Pakistani borders, running along the Grand Trunk Road. People from all over the country visit this place to witness the Beating Retreat Ceremony that is held every day before sunset. The flag ceremony has been conducted by the Indian Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers since 1959.
This ceremony includes the closing of the international gates and lowering the flags of both countries. It is a spectacle to be witnessed and is an occasion where the heart of every Indian is filled with pride and enthusiasm. Every evening, just before the sunset, the soldiers from the Indian and Pakistan military meet at this border post to engage in a 30-minute display of military camaraderie and showmanship. Officially, the purpose of the ceremony is to formally close the border for the night and lower the national flag.
People also partake in entertainment as a display of national pride for the thousands of people who come here every day. During the build-up to the ceremony, the crowd engages in chanting the Indian national anthem, rounds of applause and Bollywood-style dancing on Hindi songs.
Located near the famous Golden Temple of Amritsar, Jallianwala Bagh is a public garden that also houses a memorial to commemorate the massacre of peaceful celebrators by the British forces. Spread over 6.5 acres of land, Jallianwala Bagh is associated with one of the saddest days in Indian History when thousands of innocent people were killed on the orders of General Dyer as they gathered for a peaceful celebration of Baisakhi. The place has now been turned into a beautiful park and is managed by the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust.
Guru Ke Mahal
Housing the Granth Sahib and their gurus, Guru Ke Mahal was founded by Guru Ram Das in 1573 as a little cottage that went on to shelter the great gurus of the Sikhs.
Located in Amritsar, Hall Bazaar is one of the oldest marketplaces in the country. One of the busiest shopping destinations of Amritsar, this historical bazaar is only 1 km from Amritsar railway station and only 1.3 km from the Golden Temple. They offer shoppers electronics, books, apparel, jewellery and ornaments, handiwork and Chinese lanterns, the world-famous Phulkari embroidery and Amritsari juttis.
The place is not only famous for the authentic Punjabi experience it gives its shoppers, but also for its Mughal archway entrance, called Gandhi Gate, and overall architecture – complete with a giant clock with the caption “Amritsar – Sifti Da Ghar”. The market is also home to some of the best restaurants and food stalls in the city.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum
The Maharaja Ranjit Museum is right in the middle of Ram Bagh garden, Amritsar, and is one of the best museums in Punjab. It used to serve as the summer palace of the first king of the Sikh Empire, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, after whom the museum is named. The museum provides insightful information on the life of the first Sikh monarch, along with history, art and architecture of the Sikh community between the 18th and 19th century.
Converted in 1977, the museum consists of a lot of artefacts and personal items of the Maharaja such as his armour and weaponry. It also displays fantastic paintings, various manuscripts and coins from centuries long gone. This reflects the secular spirit of the Maharaja and the rich history of the Sikh province. The paintings mostly depict scenes from the Sikh monarch’s court and camp. Among all of them, the most famous among observers is the one depicting the city of Lahore.
The palace is surrounded by the famous Rambagh Gardens popular for its statue of the legendary king with his horse. The museum is at a distance of 1.5 km from Amritsar Junction and about 4 km from The Golden Temple.
Gurudwara Mata Kaulan
The sacred shrine of Mata Kaulan, also known as the Gurudwara Mata Kaulan, is located on the west side of the Golden Temple in Amritsar. This Gurudwara has been named after a legendary devotee of Guru Har Gobind, Bibi Kaulan. Her kirtans, which she sang religiously every evening, are still remembered by the older members of the Sikh community.
Kaulsar Sarovar, located next to the Gurudwara Mata Kaulan, is the holy place Guru Har Gobind advised devotees to take a dip in before proceeding towards the Amrit Sarovar. Kaulsar Sarovar, the first tank in Amritsar to be named after a Muslim woman, is the perfect spot for tourists to feel a sense of tranquillity and indulge in some introspection and meditation.
Bibeksar Sahib lying on the banks of Bibeksar Sarovar was constructed by Maharaja Ranjith Singh. The place is famous as the congregation site of followers of 6th Sikh Guru, Hargobind Singh ji.
The Partition Museum is the first-ever museum in the entire world to focus on the stories and trauma of the millions who had to suffer the consequences of a ruthless partition that affected this entire subcontinent. Located at Town Hall in Amritsar, developed by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust (TAACHT), the museum is a part of the newly inaugurated Heritage Street at Amritsar, which begins from the Golden Temple and ends at the Town Hall.
The collections at the Partition Museum include newspaper clippings, photographs as well as personal items that were donated by people who had witnessed and lived during the Partition. TAACHT aims to establish the Partition Museum as a world-class physical museum dedicated to the memories of the partition of the sub-continent in 1947. The museum is devoted primarily to the victims & survivors, and their lasting legacy. Undoubtedly one of the most brutal events in the history of the Indian sub-continent, it witnessed the disorganised displacement of twelve million people to a new land, causing the painful demise of over two million people.
This aching and moving incident left behind many memories, being excruciatingly painful and valuable at the same time. There has always been silence about the Partition, which is what made the development of such a museum extremely necessary. The Partition Museum has been visited by thousands of visitors ever since its inauguration. The list of visitors includes members from either end of the spectrum, comprising local families who were affected by the Partition, school children and tourists – domestic & international – who visit Amritsar to witness the Golden Temple or otherwise.
Famous for its architecture, Khair-ud-Din Masjid was established by Mohd. Khairuddin. It was the place from where the great call for waging war against the looting British was announced by Tootie-e-Hind, Shah Attaullah Bukhari.
Must Try Food in Amritsar
1. Mahajan Chicken House
2. Firangi Dhaba
3. Ghoomar Traditional Thali
4. Protein Backeri
5. Shahi Rasoi
6. Swad Restaurant
8. Makhan Fish & Chicken Corner
9. Kesar Da Dhaba
10. Bade Bhai Ka Brothers Dhaba
How To Get Here
Amritsar is well connected by air from major destinations. Also, there are daily trains from most of the important cities in India. All major North Indian cities have buses plying to Amritsar. Alternately, you can also drive the lovely roadways.
Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport is very well connected to most cities in India and many major cities abroad.
Nearest Airport: Amritsar
Amritsar is very well connected via different highways to many cities in the country.
There are direct trains from most cities in India to the Amritsar railway station.