Amritsar is famous for three things : The Golden Temple, The Wagah Border and the food. Amritsar gets its name from lake Amrit Sarovar (means the holy nectar) that surrounds the Golden Temple. If you plan it well, one day is enough in Amritsar if you do not have a lot of time.
THE GOLDEN TEMPLE : is a popular pilgrimage site where pilgrims and tourists throng from all over the world. It was built by the fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Sahib. The Sikhs call it Hari Mandir (the temple of the Lord) or Darbar Sahib (the court divine). It’s necessary for women to wear full clothes or they won’t be allowed to enter the temple. Therefore, don’t forget to carry a scarf to cover your heads. Even men need to cover their heads before entering the Temple.
JALLIANWALA BAGH : We are all aware of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre which took place on April 13, 1919. It is a memorial which commemorates the victims who were ruthlessly shot down by the British forces. The Jallianwala Bagh is located around one kilometre from The Golden Temple. There is no entry fees to this historical place. You can still spot the bullet marks on several walls.
FOOD : It’s always the Amritsari Kulchas that come to our mind when we think about the food in Amritsar but there is definitely more than that to this place. The Kada Prasad (holy food) and Guru ka Langar are a must when you are visiting The Golden Temple. Also, there is so much street food you can try around the Golden Temple area. We went to the Bade Bhai ka Brothers’ Dhaba for dinner, the food at this dhaba and Bharawan Da Dhaba is almost the same. These dhabas only serve vegetarian food, if you want to have non vegetarian food there are plenty of other options like Pal Da Dhaba or Mame Da Dhaba. I wanted to try the paya but we didn’t have time so I will keep it for next time.
WHERE TO STAY : There are plenty of options for people who do not want to burn a hole in their pockets. We stayed at the Hyatt which is located close to the Golden Temple and has a scheduled shuttle service to The Golden Temple. We rented a car which took us around the city and I find it extremely convenient that way.
WAGAH BORDER : The Beating Retreat ceremony is a daily practise that takes place before sunset. Its advisable to reach early so that you can secure a seat and watch the parade. It is an experience which one should not miss unless you can make it to Amritsar again. We reached very late and in spite of knowing that we would not be able to make it to the Retreat Ceremony, we went to see the border.
HOW TO REACH THERE FROM DELHI : We opted to go by Shatabdi as it takes just 5-6 hours to get there. There are Volvos and luxury buses which run everyday and take around 9-10 hours to reach there. Then there are options like renting a car or flying down.