Things To Do In Amritsar
A trip to Amritsar, India is a complete cultural package where you will have the chance to explore the rich heritage of the country. This spiritual center for the Sikh Religion in the northwestern part of India attracts a large number of visitors every week. Akal Takht, the Sikh political authority, is housed in this city. Rich in cuisine and culture, this commercial hub has a prominent place in the national handicraft, trade and fabric market. It also offers a significant contribution to agricultural production. Amritsar promotes domestic tourism as well through its multiple and elegant tourist spots.
When To Go:
Amritsar is situated in a tropical country and that’s why you should avoid planning your trip during the summer season. The months of May and June should be avoided because you will be fed up with the humidity while roaming the city. Also, you will not be able to participate in the Amritsar heritage walk during the hot and humid season. The best time to visit there is during winter. Plan a trip between October and March and catch the marvelous views of the city without the worry of extreme temperatures.
Here is a list of the top things to do when in the city of Amritsar:
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Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib)
When you plan a trip to Amritsar, you should be prepared to spend a couple of days in the city because it is not possible to do the Darshan in the same day. Although, you will face the crowding and hustle-bustle of the city, you will still find a great deal of peace there. One of the best experiences you will have in Amritsar is the awesome breeze coming from the Sarovar. It is a place that is full of spiritual feeling and soaked in celestial love. Don’t forget to visit the Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) during your Amritsar trip. One thing you should know about the area around the Golden Temple is that traffic is bad and city is very crowded. Various shops and salesmen will be there to provide a little distraction – counteracting the serenity of the temple.
Experiencing the temple after being in the city will give you a chance to forget all of the chaos of your life. You will have a great sense of equality and the cleanliness of the premises will warm your heart deeply. As the place is not commercialized, you will not have to pay any entry fees or find any way to pay more to get in quickly. Being one of the most prestigious temples in India, it is easy for visitors to reach. If you want to avoid the crowds, don’t go on weekends or during festivals. Those seeking truth can find inner beauty and fulfill their vision of love while enjoying the holy Kadha Prasad and showering it with offerings.
With its stunning ceiling with beautiful, hand-painted mosaics, the Akal Takht is the temple seat of the Sikh Community. You can still see the two flags and swords, The Miri, and Piri, which came into existence during the time of the sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh ji. Akal Takht is a renovated part of the Golden Temple, and is situated on the eastern side of Harmandir Sahib.
A historical trip to Amritsar cannot be planned without including Jallianwallah Bagh. Although, nowadays you will find tourists, crowds, noisy school groups and couples snapping selfies, it cannot ever take away from the history to be found here. Possessing a tragic history, Jallianwala Bagh witnessed the callousness of the English Army during the 1919 massacre. Jallianwala Bagh is not in its original state, but you will be able to see the bullet marks even today on its few walls. As the place has undergone many renovations - with fountains, red stone pathways, and lush green gardens - it is tough to remember the history here. It is, instead, a tranquil area where you can replenish your soul, without having to discover what went on unless you have read about it or asked a native to tell you about the history of the massacre.
Keeping the history separate, you will love a visit to the museum and a stroll through the gardens. Jallianwallah Bagh is closer to the Golden Temple so you can cover both the attractions together at the same time. Despite being small, the museum is well maintained and draws people looking for highly artistic pieces. Pictures, newspaper clippings, and posters make this museum a favorite for all.
Gurudwara Bir Baba Sahib
Gurudwara Bir Baba Sahib is the kind of place where you will get real peace of mind and some come here in search of fertility. According to the native people, couples with difficulty having babies can offer prayer to the god in this Gurudwara. The white palace of the holy Gurudwara is located on Chhabal near the Jhabal Kalan village in Amritsar. As the locals say, Baba Budhha Ji, the 1st Granthi of the Sikh Religion, spent much of their life here and Guru Arjun Dev also stayed in this place for quite some time. Tourists enjoy the langar food here (which is nothing but simply maha di daal with roti and pickle) and it some of the most delicious cuisine you’ll find in Amritsar. Be careful to watch out for pickpocketers though, and keep a close eye on your belongings. When away from the hectic lifestyle of the city, this beautiful Gurudwara Sahib makes this a special part of Amritsar.
If you are planning a trip to the Taran Taaran Gurudwara Sahib, you will get the chance to see Gurudwara Bir Baba Sahib on the way. The lush green fields during the route make your driving experience outstanding. Situated about 30 km away from the central part of the city, you will find the famous Gurudwaras and the generally large crowd of people showing gratitude for being able to conceive a son after visiting the site. The site is interesting, especially when you consider the fact that the well was dug to solve the problem of water scarcity.
Taran Taaran Sahib
Taran Taaran Sahib is an exact (but larger) copy of the Golden Temple. Situated 40 km away from Amritsar, this Gurudwara has the world’s largest sarovar, a source of holy water. This historical sarovar makes the Gurudwara a must to visit. There is a museum that houses paintings representing the main life events of the 10 Sikh Gurus that provides a chance to learn history at a glance.
The beautifully constructed Gurudwara, with gold and marble coverings, has a spacious area to accommodate visitors for free. It was built by the 5th Guru of Sikhs. Taking a bath in the Sarovar of this Gurudwara is believed to cause miraculous blessings and the ability to recover from all kinds of skin diseases. Being one of the oldest sites of the Sikh community in east Punjab, Taran Taaran Sahib represents a traditional center of learning (i.e. Bungas). The majority of these sites have been demolished and transformed into verandahs. Its name’s origin loosely means,‘the process to take a soul across the ocean of existence in this world’.
Spending some time here will also serve you well after being in the city. This calm place is situated just l0 minutes from Darbar Sahib (Taran Taaran Sahib) towards the Hall Gate. Santokhsar Sahib is popular for being the 1st Sarovar of the Sikh Community. The development of Sarovar was begun by Guru Ramdas Ji and completed by Guru Arjun Dev ji, 5th Guru of Sikhs.
This beautiful place is popular among philosophical people looking for true happiness and peace. They come looking for answers to life’s questions such as, ‘why are we born, why do we die and what is our purpose in the world’. It should surprise no one that the site is full of those who site and ponder.
Harike Wetland and Bird Sanctuary
Situated about 60 Km from Amritsar, this beautiful place has fast flowing water and an interesting view of the Gurudwara Sahib. Photo lovers looking for the best spot for wildlife photography will find happiness here. Apart from the various beautiful migrating birds, owls are also there to offer great photography subjects. Harike Wetland and Bird Sanctuary is nothing less than a ‘hidden gem’ in Amritsar. This is the place where every bird photographer can find true inspiration. Also located near the bird sanctuary is Marhana, which offers the full charm of the Indian culture.
This fantastic wetland has been converted into a bird sanctuary. The inclusion of the Indira Gandhi Canal with the two leading rivers, (Beas and Satluj) has transformed this desert state into a remarkable place to visit. It is best visited during the winter season. This is when you will find the best view of the rare birds that have traveled from the snowbound and harsh winters of Europe, thousands of km away into this largest wetland of the state.
You will have the chance to watch species such as the Hen Harrier, Pygmy Goose, Yellow-crowned woodpeckers, and Lotus. Once there, your main goal will likely be discovering how huge this bird sanctuary is and how many unique birds (those you will not see anywhere else in India) you can find. The lake and river bank are favorite spots for bird watching. You’ll need to remember though, there is no food here, so you should have your meal in Harike and bring something packed for the trip. There is a Sikh temple in Harike where you will find delicious food.
Amritsar Heritage Walk
This pathway is designed for visitors who don’t want to miss any opportunity of walking through an important tourist destination in Amritsar. It is managed by the Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board. After learning about the history and rich heritage of Amritsar, you will not be able to think of a better place to explore. You can participate in this walk any day of the week except Saturday. It is free, but the guides accept donations based on your experience (tip).
Beginning with the Town Hall, the whole route is about 2 km and takes you anywhere you’d like, based on your preference. It can last up to 2.5 hours depending on how much time you spend at each stage. Covering about 11 main spots with an additional three spots as an option, you will learn much about the history of Amritsar and the inception of Sikhs. During this walk, you should not forget to carry your camera to capture the interesting spots. This walk is a great experience for all those visitors who want to have something more than the traditional tourist spots and eateries.
When you visit Goindwal Sahib, the kind of experience you have here is nothing less than heavenly. This beautiful and historically significant place has a pool of water situated in descending stairs (Baoli Sahib). It is full of beauty and cleanliness and there are even guest quarters. It’s no more than a one-hour drive from Amritsar, but the fantastic temple structure that you will see here is not possible to be found anywhere else.
This beautiful and stunning temple is situated in the corner of the largest Sikh temple lake. The amazingly carved, silver temple doors are a good example of the decorative interior in the city. The vast body of water reflects the serenity of the place. The holy pond can be found inside the temple.The design of the Durgiana Temple is inspired by the Golden Temple.
Getting into the main gate of the temple is one of the trickiest things to do as the roads are narrow and free from signboards. Although it is not a grand temple like the Golden Temple, it is still really great for the peaceful atmosphere and pleasant architecture.
Rambagh Garden Area
Finding a peaceful and quiet environment is not tough in Amritsar. The Rambagh Garden Area is known for its nice environment where you can enjoy leisure watching amid the greenery. Relaxing here or having a light stroll is popular thing to do in this lovely garden.
The garden requires some maintenance, but it still has great majestic charm that attracts visitors. Rambagh Garden is a vast area with multiple entrances, but if you want to lead towards the museum, you should choose the main gate to get in. It has lots of shady trees, free space for children to play and various small monuments inside the garden to refresh your mood.
Wagah Border is the only roadway border between India and Pakistan that is situated in Amritsar and Lahore cities. It is worth visiting for the retreat ceremony during which the closing of the international gates and lowering of flags of both the countries takes place. This entertaining tradition represents a really stylized patriotic display. Performed by guards, this ceremony has become the center of attraction for tourists, making the Wagah Border a well-known tourist spot. Huge arches and gates of both countries make this place special for those who want to see something different, aside from cultural and natural tourism points. There are good seating arrangements for spectators who wish to watch the ceremony.
The serene and holy city has established itself as the biggest pilgrimage for the Sikh community even today. Make sure you include this city on your bucket list of interesting Indian cities to visit.
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