Welcome to the city of Amritsar. Founded by the forth guru of Sikh’s Guru Ram Das in 1577. The city is home to the biggest pilgrim of Sikhs, i.e. The Golden Temple. Amritsar derives it’s name from the holy lake “Amrit Sarovar” amidst which stands the holiest shrine of Sikh’s, Golden temple also known as Harmandir Sahib.
Amritsar has it all a robust past, famous gourmet cuisine, historical monuments and religious sites. Walking through the old city bazaars and witnessing the Indo-Pakistan border is an absolute delight. The city receives hundreds of footfall in order to witness it’s stunning historic sites and religious monuments, to experience it’s rich cultural heritage and lip smacking cuisine every day.
The city is well connected to the rest of India and the world through all the major ways, i.e. Air, Road and Bus ways.
Recently I had the opportunity to be in this beautiful city for a day and like everyone I was also eager to explore as much as I can. However, I was aware of the fact that it is impossible to experience so much in one day. So I planned my day and tried to had a little bit of everything.
I reached Amritsar from Delhi through railways. It is extremely convenient and hassle free. There are many good hotel options available in Amritsar at a budget range. Travelling around the city is also easy in terms of transportation. Car, Taxi, Auto, Rickshaw and tourist bus etc. are available for safe travel of the tourists within the city.
Exploring Amritsar In A Day
There are three most important things to do while exploring a city like Amritsar in just one day, lots of eating (Food), lots of Shopping and Site seeing. I decided to stick to these three categories in order to experience Amritsar in it’s true nature. Let me take you guys through each categories and help you plan your day in Amritsar just as I did. Let’s get started…
Things to See:
Amritsar has many great monuments and places of importance to have a look at, but for a one day trip it is very important to prioritise. Find out what are the places you want to see the most.
1. The Golden Temple:
The Golden Temple also known as the Harmandir Sahib is one of the most popular tourist attraction in Punjab. It is one of the most humbling religious sights of India and the most important pilgrim of the Sikh community. It was built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
The major focus of this place is the Amrit Sarovar Tank amidst which stands the holy shrine. It is believed that Amritsar derives its name from this very sacred tank that is believed to have healing powers. Many devotees come from all over the world to take a dip in the sacred water. The tank is surrounded by a marble walkway and inside the tank there are many exotic fish.
The Golden Temple itself is extremely mesmerising, from the beautiful architecture to the glimmering gold panels. It is connected to the land on its west side by a marble causeway running across the water of the tank. Inside the sanctum the priest and musicians continuously chant holy songs from the “Guru Granth Sahib” (The sacred book of Sikhism). The devotees line up 24/7 to just take a look of inside and bow there head to pay respect.
The Shrine is also popular for the Langur that serves food to the thousands of devotees every day free of cost.
2. Jallianwalla Bagh:
This is a historical place popularly known as the site of Massacre in Amritsar. In the year 1919, April 13th the British troops launched fire on a crowed of people on the eve of Punjabi New Year. This incident left many wounded and killed several. The incident was so horrific that it is forever remembered as the darkest day of history. The walls with several bullet marks and the well where many jumped and died while escaping can be still seen in the garden. Therefore, later to commemorate the people who died and wounded on that unfortunate day the garden was declared a memorial site. The public Garden is at a very short distance from the Golden Temple falling within its complex.
3. The Wagha-Attari Border Ceremony:
The Wagha-Attari border is one of the most famous attractions in Amritsar. This ceremony takes place every day at the border gate two hours before the sunset. The Flag lowering ceremony is performed by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistan Rangers. The name Wagha refers to a village in Pakistan near which the Radcliffe line, the boundary demarcation line dividing India and Pakistan after partition of colonial India was done. Meanwhile, Attari is the name of the village on the Indian side of the border.
Places To Eat:
Amritsar is like a gourmet haven. The city is popular for its Punjabi cuisine and famous food joints.
1. Sarhad Restaurant:
The restaurant is five kilometres away from the Wagha-Attari border. The name of the restaurant Sarhad translates to frontier. It was opened in the year 2012, on the Indian side of the border. This place is not simply a restaurant serving food but paying homage to the culinary history that represents both the cultures. Apart from Indian favourites Sarhad introduces a variety of dishes from Pakistan to its diners. Mia ji ki Daal, Lahori Khulcha, Bakarkhani roti and bano kebab are some of the best dishes from their menu.
This restaurant is a must visit, not just for being a symbol of friendship and cuisine but for the beautiful architecture, warmth and feeling being close to a land that was a part of us.
2. Makhan Fish and Chicken corner:
Just like many other popular food joints of Amritsar Makhan is one of the favourites among the diners of Amritsar and also people who visit from different parts of the country. This place was established in 1962, with an aim to provide authentic Punjabi cuisine to the diners.
The restaurant is extremely popular for its signature dish Amritsari fish. Apart from this chicken tandoori and butter chicken masala is another special for people visit Makhan to enjoy eating. Makhan is definitely a perfect place to grab a bite of the authentic Punjabi tandoori items and iconic lachaa parathas. The place is a must visit.
Things to Buy
The Famous Phulkari and Jutti’s:
Amritsar is more than what it’s known for. Apart from the Golden temple, the food and the history, shopping in Amritsar is definitely a delightful experience in it’s own way. Hall Bazaar, Gul Bazaar, Katra Jaimal Singh bazaar and Lahori gate market are few places where shopaholics can satisfy their shopping desires.
The colourful work on the Dupatta’s and exquisite works on the classic Jutti’s are very tempting. Of course there are many other things one can buy but for some traditional touch these two are must haves. To buy a beautiful Phulkari Dupatta any of the above stated markets or kapda bazaar is the place one should go. The variety of work and reasonable pricing is guaranteed. Meanwhile, there is no place like Raunak (Raunak Punjabi Jutti) to buy a perfect pair of Jutti’s.
Wrapping up the day
Well it may not cover all but it certainly does let you experience everything a little bit. Planning some things can really help us in exploring a vast culture in a day. So, here it is exploring Amritsar and it’s beautiful soul in a day definitely made me fall for it. A city full of culture, religion, history and life. Loved every bit of it and so will you once you visit Amritsar.
Hope you guys plan your trip soon and experience much more than what I did. Until than keep reading and keep loving.