Amritsar Trip Report
Amritsar is a city that has been on my bucket list for many years, and having the opportunity to visit it in November 2016 was a real privilege and I really do hope this Amritsar trip report can do it justice.
Amritsar Must Visit Sites
- The Golden Temple – this is most important religious place to Sikhs and attracts more visitors on a daily basis than the Taj Mahal does. The locals are more than happy to share their knowledge about the customs and the Sikh religion. Please do remember to cover your head, and remove your shoes. As always go with an open mind and heart, the knowledge and warmth of the locals will do the rest.
- Jallianwala Bagh Memorial – this a few minutes away from the Golden Temple, and is the site of a massacre in 1919 where there British Army opened fire on an unarmd gathering of men, women and children, firing 1650 rounds, killing 1579 innocent civilians. To this day you can still see the bullet holes on the walls of the surrounding buildings.
- Durgiana Temple – this is a Hindu temple that is very similar in structure and architecture to the Golden Temple.
- Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s palace – the palace now houses a museum with paintings, coins and weapons.
- Wagah Border – this is the India/Pakistan border situated approximately a 40 minute drive from Amritsar, please see link below for advice on this.
- The Food! – Ok I can’t pinpoint any particular restaurants, but here is a list of foods you really must try in Amritsar: Kulcha, Chicken/Mutton Tikka, Amritsari Fish, Lassi and the Dhaal. I managed to fit in all of this during my trip.
Day one was shorter than I had originally planned due to the fiasco of Jet Airways, I missed out on a whole day in Amritsar but arrived to my hotel the Hyatt (review link below) in Amritsar in the evening.
This was the start of a busy, busy day after the delays from Day 1 leading to only one full day in Amritsar. I started off with a quick vegetarian breakfast in the hotel then was picked up by my local driver/guide, who then took me to the Golden Temple. Ahead of going into the Golden Temple, I bought a bandana for 10 Indian rupees (about 12p) to cover my head with, there is are counters where you can leave your shoes, and washed my feet/hands before heading into the complex.
Despite having seen many pictures of the Golden Temple over the years, I was still taken aback when I first saw it in reality. It was simply stunning. my guide explained more about the site to me, and it’s historical importance to the city and the Sikh religion over the years. Despite being a religious site, people of all races, religions, rich or poor are welcomed in.
The temple also has a community kitchen (Langar) which feeds the tens of thousands of visitors to the site on a daily basis. The food is all vegetarian, and is prepared and cooked by volunteers.
After my visit to the Golden Temple, we then headed to Jallianwala Bagh to visit the site of the 1919 massacre, then onto the Durgiana temple, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Palance and straight onto the Wagah border (link below), yes I managed to cover quite a lot in one day. In the evening I visited the Golden Temple once again, simply to see it in the evening, and I spent some time just completely silent people watching as tourists, devotees went on by.
After the second visit to the temple, I went on a mini food crawl in Amritsar crossing off all of the foods that I wanted to try. After the temple visits were complete, I headed to try the various foods on my list alongside two people I had met at the temple site, who were visiting from New Zealand. We spent the evening enjoying the stunning food, swapping travel stories and tips. A great way to end a whirlwind trip of Amritsar.
This started off in a similar whirlwind fashion to Day 2, a quick breakfast then the trip to the airport ahead of my flight to Mumbai (via Delhi).
I hope you all enjoyed the Amritsar trip report, I kept it short as everything was a whirlwind, but ahead of the trip I had high expectations for the people, the city, the food and the Golden Temple. I can safely say that all three had exceeded my high expectations and I would strongly suggest visiting.
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