Amritsar is the largest and most important city in Punjab. It is considered a holy city, because of the large number of religious centers (temples, gurudwaras, etc.) that are present in it. In fact, it is known to be a major center of Sikhism (a religion predominant in the north Indian states – especially Punjab).
Amritsar’s name is derived from “Amrit Sarovar” which is a religious center built by a saint Guru Ram Das in the village of Tung near it.
A trip to Amritsar is like history, culture, art, and drama being served together in one plate. The largest urban area in Punjab, Amritsar is India’s spiritual city with strong historical roots. From the Golden Temple to the Wagah Border and Jallianwala Bagh, along with museums and garden, there are plenty of attractions that make up the frenetic and soulful city a wanderer’s delight. Be ready to experience the magic the city has to offer and plan your trip with the best places to visit in Amritsar.
- Wagah Border- The border between India and Pakistan, Wagah Border is an extraordinary place to visit to experience goosebumps and a sense of awe. Witness the border closing ceremony every evening which involves an ostentatious display of goose-stopping guards from the BSF and the Pakistan Rangers saluting each other, lowering the flags, and closing gates at the border.
- Partition Museum: The Partition Museum displays the historic artifacts, documents, photographs, and oral history that depict a historic and revolutionary event called as the Partition of India. The experience will give you a deeper understanding of the source of rivalry between India and Pakistan.
- Jallianwala Bagh: Tucked behind the Golden temple, the Jallianwala Bagh is one of the most important historical places not only in Amritsar but in whole of India. The public garden here memorializes the estimated 1500 people who were killed or injured by the British soldiers’ attack ordered by General Dyer in 1919. The bullet holes are still visible in the walls and the exhibition on the victims and some important figures of Indian independence can be seen on the Martyr’s Gallery located here.
- Gobindgarh Fort: Standing for more than 250 years and was built to protect Amritsar from invaders, Gobindgarh Fort has become a prime attraction of Amritsar and has been seeing the light of the day when the Indian subcontinent was divided into small principalities and ruled by kings. The fort has now been transformed into an educational attraction showcasing history and culture of Amritsar in the four museums namely Warfare Museum, Turban Museum, Sikh Art Museum, Sher-e-Punjab.
- Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum: Dedicated to the Lion of Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the museum is housed in a pristine summer palace surrounded by green lawns. Displaying a wealth of artifacts, the museum features paintings, relics, dresses, weapons, and old coins, etc.
- Golden Temple: The infamous Golden Temple is the definitive landmark of Amritsar which is a two-story structure covered in real gold and circumcised by a 5.1-meter-deep manmade lake. This shrine is one of the most sacred places for Sikhs who make their visit here at least once in their lifetime from anywhere around the world. Although being crowded by people, the Golden temple gives off peaceful vibes and sitting along the lake is a peaceful activity one should indulge in here.
- Shri Durgiana Temple: Shri Durgiana Temple is in the sacred lake of the Golden Temple and has a half gold half marble façade, which gives the dome structure an appearance alike of Golden temple. Though located in the same place as the Golden temple, Durgiana temple is a Hindu pilgrim dedicated to goddess Durga, goddess Lakshmi, and Lord Vishmu and attracts devotees from across the country.
- Sri Ram Tirath Temple: Sri Ram Tirath Temple is another important religious place for Hindu devotees located a few kilometers west of the city center. The temple marks the birthplace of Luv and Kush, the twin sons of Lord Ram, which houses an idol of Valmiki, the author of Ramayana.
- Mandir Mata Lal Devi: The Mata Lal Devi temple is as bizarre as the Golden Temple is beautiful. Dedicated to female saint Lal Devi, it is believed that the temple can boost the fertility of the women who visit with devotion but to non-devotees, the labyrinth attraction resembles a funhouse. The passage to the shrine is also fun and eerie and is also a fun thing to do in Amritsar.
- Khairuddin Mosque: While Amritsar is considered as a Sikh populated city, it is also home to many Muslim residents and Khairuddin Maszid is the place where they do their prayers. Constructed by Mohammad Khairuddin 150 years ago, the green and white structure of the mosque features three domes and four minarets with intricate carvings on its walls.
- Akal Takht: This is a Sikh temple that represents oen of the five seats of power in Sikhism. It is a significant place for Sikhs just like Golden Temple and features Sikh style of architecture, marble inlay, and a gold leaf dome.
PARKS & GARDENS
- Rose Garden
- Gol Bagh
- Guru Nanak Park
- Rambagh Gardens
- Mata Kaulan Botanical Gardens
- Harike Wetland & Sanctuary (Preserved Bird sanctuary)
Amritsar has many colourful, buzzing shopping spots selling traditional handicrafts, funky accessories and jewellery, “Phulkari” clothes (a variety of textile which the place is famous for), lacquered woodwork.
- Lahori Gate Market
- Katra Jaimal Singh Bazaar
- Hall Bazaar
- Guru Bazaar
- Shastri Market
- Lawrence Road
- Kapda Bazaar
- Old City Bazaar
- Trilium Mall
- Mall of Amritsar
- Alpha One
- Celebration Mall
- Soul Space Wagah Plaza
- Omaxe Novelty Mall
Amritsar’s food, like the city, is rich and “desi”, giving out an authentic Indian feel with its spicy, savory and sweet dishes laden with pure ghee (clarified butter) and cream.
Some of Amritsar’s popular foods include:
- Langar Ka Prasad – A soft, velvety and rich halwa (sweet pudding) made with whole wheat flour (atta), sugar and ghee.
- Amritsari Kulcha – Flatbreads stuffed with boiled potato or Indian cottage cheese (Paneer) and cooked on a “tandoor” clay oven, with pure “desi ghee”.
- Chole – A spicy tangy flavorful dish of boiled Chickpeas cooked in onion tomato gravy with lots of ginger, garlic and spices like turmeric, cumin and chilli powder; sometimes boiled potatoes are also added to it.
- Pinni – Sweet balls of cooked lentils and jaggery, flavored with cardamom, saffron, etc.
- Lassi – A thick, creamy and chilled drink which is a blend of curd (yogurt), water, salt and spices lime lemon, ginger, cumin and pepper. Also has a sweet version that includes just yogurt water and sugar. It is usually served/ordered alongside meals in Amritsar.
- Makki di roti (Flatbreads made of unleavened maize flour dough) and Sarson da Saag (A curry made of fresh mustard greens) served with lots of white butter or Ghee – this is a delicacy most enjoyed during winter time in the city.
- Mah ki dal – A rich dish made of whole black gram lentils that are cooked simmered for up to 12 hours, with lots of spices, tomatoes onions and a generous amount of ghee or butter. It is served as a side dish for flatbreads like Roti and Naan.
- Amritsari fish – Amritsar style Fish tikka (grilled fish with spices) and Fish fry are very popular with the non-vegetarians and are a must try for people who love seafood.
- Mutton Chaap – Slow cooked, shallow fried mutton pieces on sticks with a dash of choicest spices.
- Kulfas – A combination of Kulfi (ice cream with heavy cream and saffron flavours) and rice pudding, rose syrup and gond (edible gum). This is a heavy and fulfilling dessert.
Below are some popular restaurants in Amritsar to try the aforementioned dishes and a lot more at:
- Kesar Da Dhaba
- Crystal restaurant
- Beera Chicken House
- Kulcha Land
- Guru Ka Langar at Golden Temple
Amritsar’s night life scene is also quite trippy and enjoyable. The city has some great night clubs that you could check out, such as:
- Underdoggs Bar and Kitchen
- Irish Beach
- Stars N Bars
- The Peg
- The Beer Cafe
- The BrewMaster
Amritsar celebrates some of the most colourful and unique festivals and fairs that attracts visitors from all over the world. Some of the best festivals and fairs that the city celebrates are:
- Ram Tirth Fair
- Basant Panchami
- Hola Mohalla
- Diwali and Bandi Chor Diwas
Amritsar is a beautiful city that was founded by fourth Sikh Guru Ramdas Ji in the year 1577. The city has a number of museums that are worth a visit. Some of them are:
- Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum (The museum consists of old paintings, arms, armor, old coins, etc.)
- Historic museum
- Sikh museum
- Punjab state war hero’s memorial and museum (The museum demonstrates the bravery of Punjabi Martyrs and soldiers)
- Jallianwala Bagh museum
Amritsar is the holiest city for Sikhs around the world and is home to the Golden Temple. If you are planning to visit this city, below listed hotels can be considered for staying:
- Ramada by Wyndham Amritsar (From INR 3000 Onwards)
- Fairfield by Marriott Amritsar (From INR 2500 Onwards)
- Park Inn by Radisson Amritsar Airport (From INR 2000 Onwards)
- The Landmark Amritsar (From INR 2500 Onwards)
- Police - 100
- Fire - 101
- Ambulance - 108
- Power - 1912
- Women - 1091
- Child - 1098
- Flood Control - 0183-2229125
Punjabi is the most spoken language in Amritsar but languages like Urdu, English and Hindi are spoken as well.
- Hello - Sat sri akaal
- How are you? - Tussi kiwen ho?
- I am fine - Main theek haan
- What is your name? - Tuhada naan ki hai?
- My name is - Mera naan haga
- Where are you from? - Tusi kithe dey ho?
- Welcome - Svagat
- How are you? - Aap kaise hai?
- What's your name? - Aapka naam kya hai?
- I don't know - Mujhe nahi pata
- I don't understand - Mein samjha nahi
- Thank you - Dhanyavad
- Hello - Asalam u alaikum
- How are you? - Aap kaise hai?
- Goodbye - Khuda hafiz
- How old are you? – Aap ki umr kya hai?
- Congratulations – Mubarak ho
- What is this? – Yeh kya hai?
A vibrant and culturally aesthetic place with a holy vibe surrounding its every crook and corner. Amritsar is the land of the exquisite Golden Temple with a generous dollop of Punjabi hospitality marked with scrumptious delicacies that further casts a spell upon its visitors to make them fall in love with the city.