Amritsar is the spiritual capital of Punjab. This is a major pilgrimage spot for the Sikhs. The city houses many temples and shrines mostly dedicated to the Sikh culture. The city is also famous for its handloom fabrics, carpets, and handicrafts. The city is built with a unique architectural style known as ‘Katras’ and is characterized by narrow streets. The city is also famous for its delicious Punjabi cuisines.
The main places to visit in Amritsar are:
Golden Temple: The golden temple also known as Harmandir Sahib (Temple of God) is the most important pilgrim spot for the Sikh community. This is one of the main tourist attractions of Amritsar. It is said that the 4th Guru of the Sikh community excavated a tank and named it ‘Amritsar’ which literally means the ‘pool of the nectar of immortality’ and built the temple on the pool which we know today as the Golden temple.
Jallianwala Bagh: This is a public garden located within the temple complex of the Golden temple. It covers an area of 6.5 acre. The garden got popularity as the Jallianwala bagh memorial is located here. The memorial was established in 1951 to commemorate the massacre of the peaceful Sikh celebrators on the occasion of the Punjabi New Year on April 13th, 1919 by the occupying British forces.
Akal Takht: This is one of the 5 Takhts (the throne of the almighty) of the Sikh religion located in the Golden temple complex. This is the highest seat of the ‘Khalsa’ (a military and civil authority in Sikh culture) division. The Akal Takht was built by the 6th Guru, Guru Hargobind Ji.
Harike Wetland and Bird Sanctuary: This is the largest wetland in northern India. The wetland is also known as ‘Hari-ke-Pattan’. It covers an area of 10131.32 acres.
Gurudwara Sri Tarn Taran Sahib: This is a major pilgrim spot of Sikhs. This Gurudwara has the largest pond among all the Gurudwaras in Punjab.
Wagah Border Ceremony: Wagah is a village in Pakistan, through which the controversial Radcliff line which discriminates the border of India from Pakistan was drawn during the partition at the time of Indian independence in 1947. The eastern half of the village remains in India while the western half is in Pakistan. This place lies on the Grand Trunk road and was the only link between the two countries before the opening of the Aman Setu in Kashmir in 1999. The Wagah border closing 'lowering of the flags' ceremony, or The Beating Retreat ceremony, is a daily military practice that the security forces of India (Border Security Force) and Pakistan (Pakistan Rangers) and have jointly followed since 1959. This is a must see thing while visiting Amritsar.
Hanuman Mandir: The temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. It is believed that this is the place where Lord Rama performed his Ashwamedha Ceremony. It is also said that visiting this temple fulfils every wish of the devotees.
Hall Bazaar: This is the main shopping area of Amritsar. There are many shops here offering a variety of articles from electronics items, ornaments, best quality books, handicrafts and ready-made garments. At the entry of this bazaar is the Gandhi gate or Hall Gate. There is a Giant Clock in the gate with the caption “Amritsar-Sifti da ghar” built in the Mughal style of architecture.
Amritsar Heritage Walk, a guided tour is best to explore the majority of parts of the Amritsar town and also to have a comprehensive look within the city’s 4 century old history. This walk covers a distance of about 3 kilometres. You will get a chance to visit all the Akhara Bungas, Hattis, Havelis and Katras characterizing the majestic town.
The best time to visit Amritsar is from November to March. Amritsar is well connected by rail, road and air transport.
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