Amritsar has been completely transformed lately, thanks to the deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. A glimpse of the change can be seen as soon as you enter the city. A huge gate with a dome structure, beautifully lit stands to welcome the people entering the golden city.
How to reach Amritsar-
By air– Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport is well connected to the Golden Temple and other tourist attractions.
By road– Amritsar is well connected to all parts by highways.
By train– Amritsar is well connected by trains too and the railway station is situated very close to the Golden Temple.
Best time to visit-
November to February- Although the temperature is quite low (3-4 degrees sometimes), one can roam around in the sun at day. The scorching heat from March to October does not allow easy exploration of the city.
1. Golden Temple
Entry fee– None
Transport– Rickshaws, cabs, and buses
Time– 5 am to 10 pm
The Golden Temple situated about 2 km away from the Railway Station and about 13 km from Amritsar airport. The easiest way to reach the temple is by cabs. You can also take rickshaws which are easily available all over the city and also very cheap.
There is no specific time at which I would suggest you visit Darbar Sahib as the temple is open 24*7 and is equally peaceful and quiet at all times. But if you would want to visit the insides of the temple, for Darshan, you would have to visit between 5 am to 10 pm. A continuous singing of Gurbani Kirtan takes place between this time and one can sit inside and immerse in the soothing Kirtan for as long as they want. The temple is spread around a huge area and with it is also attached a museum- The Central Sikh museum. It is divided into several sections according to the history of Sikhs. It is filled with pictures and weapons which are quite astonishing.
Another thing that you should not miss here is the Langar. The kitchen that runs in this temple feeds about 100,000 daily, for free and is one of the largest kitchens in the world.
2. Jallianwala Bagh
Entry fee– None
Transport– Walking distance from Golden Temple
Time– 7 am to 6 pm
The Jallianwala Bagh is situated near the Golden Temple. You can walk to it through the temple market easily. This is the place where the massacre happened on 13 April 1919, lead by Col. Dyer. The bullet marks still remain on the walls and can clearly be seen all over the place. The well where many jumped to save themselves from the bullet has also been conserved.
A gallery portraying the struggles of the freedom fighters is also located in the garden, which is worth paying a visit.
3. Wagah Border
Entry Fee– None
Timings– 2 pm to 6 pm
Transport– Buses, cabs, and autos
The beating retreat border ceremony takes place at Wagah Border every day before sunset. It lasts for about half an hour. The ceremony involves the marching of the soldiers of the two nations (BSF and Pakistani Rangers), the simultaneous lowering of the two flags, opening of the gate at the border and the handshake between two soldiers on either side.
Wagah border is about 28 km away from Amritsar and a cab can be taken directly from Amritsar or there are buses too that exclusively run for tourists going to the Wagah Border.
The ceremony starts at 4:15 in winters and 5:15 in summers. Make sure to reach early at the venue to avoid crowds and rush.
4. Food Joints
Another thing that Amritsar is famous for is its lip-smacking food. There are several food joints that would leave you begging for more. But here are a few of them that I found was the best of them-
Bhai Kulwant Singh Kluchian Wale is situated very near to the Golden Temple and serves THE best kulche and chole. They have a variety of kulchas to choose from and their chole is to die for. And if you’re not full already, do try the famous, filling Lassi served here.
Kesar da Dhaba
Situated at the Passian Chowk, it is just a 10-minute walk from the Golden Temple. It is one of the best Dhabas of Amritsar. Some of its specialties are maa ki daal, lachcha parantha, and the delicious phirni (served in earthy pots).
A roadside joint at Majitha road, it serves one of the best tandoori chicken in town. This is, no doubt, one of the best chicken tikkas you will have in your life- full of flavor and spices.
Surjit Food Plaza
It is one of the best restraints in Amritsar. It is known for its Amritsari fish and mutton tikkas. It is situated at Nehru Shopping Complex.
Gurudas Ram Jalebiwala
A must visit for the people with a sweet tooth. This place is famous for its crisp, golden jalebis made in pure ghee and the delicious Gulab jamun.