One of the most revered places in the world, Amritsar is inevitably linked with Sikhism and its history. It was founded in the 16th century and it gets its name from Amrit Sarovar or the pool of nectar that surrounds Golden Temple, the most sacred shrine for Sikhs.
Guru Amardas decided to construct a tank after he purchased this land from Emperor Akbar. The construction was completed by Guru Ramdas after the death of Guru Amardas. He is also known as Guru Chak or Chak Ramdas. Some of the oldest markets of Amritsar like Guru Ka Bazaar belong to this period. Guru Arjan Dev started the construction of the Holy Temple and Guru Hargobind imparted a martial mind set to the religion. The Akal Takhat was built in 1606. With a rich historical background, Amritsar has various historical as well as mythical narratives like the Ramayana. Ram Tirath, Maharish Valmiki’s ashram, is believed to be situated here. This is the site where Sita gave birth to her twin sons, Luv and Kush. Maharaja Ranjit Singh who founded the Sikh empire in India built the Gobindgarh Fort and Ram Bagh. The Jallianwala Bagh is till date the most prominent monument to India’s struggle for freedom. The Khalsa College was responsible for turning Amritsar into an educational hub. This college was established by visionary leaders in the 20th century. Amritsar is famous for its textiles, including shawls and carpets. The gourmet traditions have given Amritsar tremendous popularity. The Dhabas (roadside eatery) are well known for delicious and mouth watering dishes like kulchas, Tandoori chicken, chola-bhaturas, and fried fish.
The rich history, beautiful monuments, revered places of worship, tradition of theatre make Amritsar an ideal tourist destination. The Harike Bird Sanctuary must be visited and a visit to the India-Pakistan Wagah border is absolutely delightful. Celebrating the wonderful festivals, including Diwali with the warm and welcoming locals is an inexplicably wonderful experience.
Attraction of Amritsar
Devotees from all over the world come to visit the Golden Temple which is the most Holy and revered shrine of Sikhs. The popularity of this place is ever increasing.
This India-Pakistan border is located on the Grand Trunk road almost 30 kms away from the city of Amritsar towards Lahore. This is the main point that connects India to the neighboring country.
Located in the middle of gardens designed similar to the famous Shalimar Gardens of Lahore, the Ram Bagh Palace has a splendid appeal. Plants, trees and water channels add to the charm of the place.
Panj Sarovar Walk
Located close to the Hall Gate of the walled city, this is the first sarovar of Sikhism. It lies 700 metres from Sri Harmandir Sahib. This is the place which Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh Guru identified for excavation.
This Durgiana Temple was built in 16th century. It is the place storing Hindu scriptures and hence attracts scholars and sages from far and wide. Modeled on the Golden Temple, this temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga.
The protests against the British rule were carried out successfully on 13 April, 1919 in a peaceful manner by 2000 men, women and children assembled here.
Culture of Amritsar
The theatres and galleries, museums and memorials, libraries and archives, beautiful parks and gardens, palatial forts and vibrant folk dances of Amritsar define the culture of Amritsar District just as well as the Gurudwaras, temples, mosques and churches of this place. This is why Amritsar is considered to be a diamond with many facets. Amritsar has a rich colorful and lively culture. Amritsar has a perfect blend of secular heritage and culture with a glorious past, a wonderful present and a promising future. Known as the mukut-mani of Punjab, Amritsar is considered to be a ‘Jewel on the crown’ of Punjab. The sifti da ghar in Amritsar has a rich national heritage and connects to spirituality. It is very rightly the home of all virtues and qualities.
Accommodation in Amritsar
This Holy city for the Sikh community situated in Punjab attracts a lot of pilgrims from far and wide. This is why there are proper arrangements for accommodations for tourists. There are several budget hotels for the convenience of pilgrims. These budget accommodations are greater in number than the luxury or mid ranged hotels in Amritsar. The Sikh festive season starts in the month of October and lasts till March and hence it is advisable to make bookings in advance for travels during the peak season.
The price range of Budget hotels at Amritsar is between Rs 300 and Rs 1,000 per day. The mid-range Amritsar hotels charge Rs 1,000 to Rs 3,000 for a day while the luxury hotels cost more than Rs 2,500 a day. The mid-range and luxury hotels have good quality restaurants and provide AC rooms.
Generally found close to Golden Temple, the budget hotels do not permit alcohol and tobacco within their premises. There is no need of air conditioning during the peak season from October to March but air conditioned rooms are recommended for visits made in summer months.
What to Buy in Amritsar
- Shops near golden temple sell Sikh symbols and religious paraphernalia including khandas, Karas, swords, daggers etc.
- CDs of Holy chants, Punjabi music and temple recordings from shops located along the front of the temple.
- Intricately designed Punjabi Juttis (shoes) from the shops near the flyover of Hall Bazaar.
- Warian, a delicacy of Amritsar made of spicy pulses ground with spices from Hall Bazaar
What to Eat and Drink in Amritsar
- Free meals are served to all at the huge dining hall of Golden Temple. This langar or Community Kitchen is a must for visitors. Plates and spoons are collected near the entrance from where the crowds go to the dining hall where they sit in rows on the floor. Dal, rice and chapattis are served by servers. Wasting food is not an option so make sure all the food on your plate is finished up. Volunteers wash the dirty dishes in the washing area. Also, you are not allowed to wear shoes and need to cover your heads as it is inside the Temple premises.
- Sumptuous Indian, Continental, Italian and Chinese food is served at several restaurants in Amritsar.
- Fast food such as pizza, chips and burgers can also be eaten at many places. There are options for Continental and Chinese food as well.
- Lassi, a refreshing and tasty drink made of Yogurt (Curd) is worth tasting in Amritsar.
Climatic Conditions and Best Time to Visit
Amritsar has the extreme summers as well as winters
- Summers (April to June) are extremely hot. Temperatures go as high as 49 °C. Generally tourists avoid visiting Amritsar during this period.
- Monsoons (July to October) offer a welcome change after the sultry summers. Mild to heavy rains are experienced during the monsoon.
- Winters (November to March) are chilly with freezing temperatures around -4°C. 18°C is the highest temperature experienced during this period.
October to march is the best period to visit Amritsar
- With pleasant and cool climate, October to March is ideal to visit the city.Visitors may avoid the month of January to avoid freezing temperatures.
- April to June is extremely sultry making it a bad time for any visit.
- July to September offer a moderate climate for sightseeing. However, sudden heavy showers can ruin the fun.
How to Reach
Amritsar‘s Raja Sansi International Airport connect Amritsar to main cities like Mumbai and Chennai through regular flights. The city can be reached from the airport by taxi by paying just Rs. 100. Foreign cities are also connected through Amritsar via Mumbai and Chennai.
Most of the Indian cities and other railheads are connected to the Amritsar Railway Station. Direct trains run from Delhi (Swarna Shatabdi), Mumbai (Asr Kcvl Express), Kolkata (W B Smprk Kranthi) and Bhopal ASR Ned Express). This railway station also connects India to Pakistan.
Private as well as government buses are available easily to and from the city of Amritsar. Delhi and Amritsar are connected through the Grand Trunk Road. Luxury buses are also available from the capital city, Delhi.
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