Streets bustle with markets, people jostling for space; the aroma of food is wafting everywhere and man-pooling rickshaws block the way… Amritsar is a town that has won the hearts of many. Although it might seem overwhelming at first after a few days here and you will again want to come back to this wonderful place. Here’s my trip to Amritsar; Beyond of Golden Temple.
The roads here are not well maintained and most lampposts do not function after dusk. The locals, however, are hopeful that the city is under development and better roads are just around the corner, some of them are even excited at the prospect of Amritsar turning into a “smart city”. To roam the place carry a torch, wear comfortable shoes and wrap your nose with a scarf because the burnt diesel smog will suffocate you.
Golden Temple in Amritsar is the most sacred religious centre of the Sikhs. The temple is open to people of all faiths and is also revered by Hindus and Muslims. The temple gets the ‘Golden’ in its name from the gold-plated dome, which can be seen from a distance as you approach this iconic building.
Golden Temple in daytime
Golden Temple at Early Morning
As against the more popular name ‘Golden temple’, the correct name of the temple is ‘Harmandir Sahib’ or ‘Darbar Sahib’. The formation of the temple, as well as its design, is credited to Guru Arjan Sahib Ji while the foundation of the temple was laid down by a Muslim saint Hazrat Mian Mir Ji of Lahore.
Temple Surrounding- peace
Colourful fishes in the holy water.
The Golden Temple is a place of immense exquisite and magnificent serenity. The architecture of the temple is based on the artistic styles of Hindus and Muslims, yet embodies a unique blend of the two. The holy Sikh scripture Adi Grantha lies on the jewel-studded base within the temple Premises.
Selfie at Temple.
Muffled across the tranquil lake inside the temple, this intriguingly striking music stimulates a transient yet influential state of trance in the devotees meandering laid-back around the marble courtyard encompassing the temple and the pool. Right through the day and night, devotees plunge them into the lake. It is a symbol of soul cleansing. Adjacent to the temple is the enormous dining halls and dormitories, where every individual, irrespective of gender, religion or race, is fed and lodged free of cost.
Just a few minutes walk from Golden Temple is the great Jallianwala Bagh.
A place of state-run importance, the garden is associated with the Indian Freedom Movement. Almost 379 people were dead and 1100 were wounded, as per British Raj sources. With the efforts being made to preserve the place for what it was half a century ago, the area is now a full-fledged garden with pathways and has a light and sound show too. It was great to see our historical heritage being conserved in a visual manner.
When I reached Jalianwala, I felt goose bumps like witnessing living souls inside the well located on the site.
Ah! I later realized it was the same well where hundreds of martyrs jumped during the famous massacre! The story of this terrible bloodbath is expressed in the Martyr’s Gallery at the place.
The Bullet Point
The Wagah Border post is located about 29 km from Amritsar. No trip to Amritsar is complete without attending the ‘Lowering of the Flags’ ceremony of the India-Pakistan Attari Border Crossing, popularly known as the Wagah Border.
Over 5000 people converge on the Indian side alone to watch the ceremony known as Beating Retreat.
If you are in Amritsar & haven’t tried out various famous eating joints; your trip has been wasted. Right from the Golden Temple Langar to famous “dhabas” – some more than the century-old; the city has various eating options for veg & non veg and definitely for sugary lovers!
We tried lots of options there, some of them are very famous like Puri Launji Thali at Kanha sweets, Amritsari kulcha at Barhwan da Dhaba, having kulfi followed by huge glasses of Ahuja’s lassi!!
Stop counting calories and open your mouth for a treat!
Kesar da Dhaba is a legendary eat-out, which opened in 1916 in Lahore and shifted to Amritsar during partition, they prepare and serve food the same way since they opened and it’s a big hit!!
You can stay within the Dharamshala’s outside the temple complex, but these are incredibly crowded and often you would not find a bed to sleep on. Alternatively, you can also stay in the city. There are many hotels within the budget and pocket-friendly. I stayed at The Holiday Inn, which is about 30 minutes from the temple. It’s located in the centre of the city and offers all facilities.
Travelling to Amritsar is simply buying a ticket in any of the Shatabdi trains that depart from New Delhi or booking an overnight bus online. Most of these buses depart from the Red Fort/Kashmiri Gate ISBT depot. You could also drive it 6 to 7 hours from New Delhi. It is extremely well connected by air also.