Amritsar, located in the heart of Punjab, is the holiest pilgrimage destination in India for the Sikhs worldwide.
The Golden Temple: It is the most omportant religious centre for Sikhs. All around it is a pond and in the middle of this is a Gurudwara like lotus flower. Amritsar is an institution by itself. And the Golden Temple is the cradle of Amritsar with the city growing around it nurtured by its divine sanctity. Amritsar is the home of traditional Punjabi cuisine, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian where each eating-house has a specialty, which can not be matched.
Amritsar Quick facts
Amritsar Geography and Climate
Climate: Amritsar is rather hot in summers with temperatures reaching 34 degrees Celsius. Amritsar's winters are chilly with the mercury sinking to zero degrees Celsius in the evening. The city receives an annual rainfall of 59.2 cms.
Best time to visit Amritsar
Amritsar in Punjab, experiences extreme type of climate. The summers are too hot and winters are too cold. The best time to visit this pilgrimage site in India is during winter (October to March) when the air is less humid and the temperature pleasant. At the time of festivals many people visit Amritsar.
Amritsar is one of the most ancient and fascinating cities of India. It is an important seat of Sikh history and culture. The fourth Guru of Sikhism, Guru Ram Das, excavated a tank (1577 AD) which subsequently became known as Amritsar (meaning: Pool of the Nectar of Immortality) giving its name to the city that grew around it.
Amritsar Near Getaways
Amritsar, being the gateway for travellers coming to India by the overland route from central Asia ,soon became the centre for various commercial activities. Wagah Border: Wagah Border is one of the famous destinations close to Amritsar. It is about 28 kms. from Amritsar (border between India and Pakistan). This border lies on the Grand Trunk Road between the cities of Lahore, Pakistan and Amritsar, India. Wagah is an army outpost on Indo-Pak border - between Amritsar and Lahore. The changing of guards ceremony at the nearby Wagah Border offers an exclusive experience as Wagah is the only legal gateway between India and Pakistan.
Amritsar city situated in northern Punjab state of northwestern India lies about 15 miles (25 km) east of the border with Pakistan. The city is connected with the border of Pakistan.
How to reach Amritsar by Road
Amritsar is well connected to all the major cities of northern India. Important destinations include Delhi, Shimla, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Rishikesh, Kullu, Manali and Jammu. Buses ply quite frequently between Chandigarh and New Delhi (250 km), and the trip takes about five hours.
How to reach Amritsar by Rail
Amritsar is well connected by rail, almost to every corner of the country. There are direct trains to Delhi, Calcutta, Bombay, Puri and other places. The Samjhauta Express connects Amritsar to Lahore in Pakistan. The Superfast Shatabdi Express runs daily between Chandigarh and New Delhi.
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How to reach Amritsar by Air
The Raja Sansi Airport is just 10 km from the main city of Amritsar and taxis are easily available to and from the airport. There are connecting flights from Amritsar to Delhi - London and Delhi - New York. Chandigarh, the capital of Punjab, is well connected by air with New Delhi. Indian Airlines and Vayudoot operate regular flights.
Amritsar Festivals and culture
Punjabi festivals are celebrated with great gusto. Baisakhi (in April) is the most popular festival of the state.
Amritsar is one of the most ancient and fascinating cities of India. It is an important seat of Sikh history and culture. Amritsar has contributed immensely to the Punjabi literature and folk culture. It has standardized the Punjabi language. The early journey towards formal education has given it many writers and poets of repute. The brave and carefree culture of soldiering is the second nature for the people of Amritsar. The most essential quality of the people apart from soldiering is their hospitality and friendly nature. Festivals of Punjab: The major festivals are Lohri, Holi and Vaisakhi. Lohri is celebrated on the 13th of January as the end of winter and the harvesting season. The people of Amritsar are known to be quite vociferous in expressing their emotions. The marriages and festivals are the occasions for celebrations. The girls perform the dance called Giddha making fun of the groom and his parents. The boys perform the Bhangra.
Amritsar Religious Places
Golden Temple or Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar : Amritsar has various historical and religious sites. The most famous of them all is the Golden Temple which was founded by the fourth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Ramdas and completed by his successor Guru Arjan Dev. The Golden temple is considered holy by Sikhs because the 11th Guru of Sikhism, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, is always present inside in it and it's construction was mainly intended on to build a place of worship for men and women from all walks of life and all religion . The construction of the temple was completed in late sixteenth century. The Sikh ruler, Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1803, rebuilt it. The great Sikh secular leader, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, donated 100 kg of gold to the temple and thus gold was applied to the copper sheets on the roof and the exterior of the building. It is a two storied marble structure, with an imposing dome of pure gold. The architecture of the Temple is a blend of Hindu and Muslim styles. The golden dome is meant to represent an inverted lotus flower and the interior of the temple is decorated with semi precious stones, frescoes and glasswork. Durgiana Temple : Designed on the lines of Golden Temple, Durgiana Temple is a revered place for Hindus. It is located outside the Lohgarh Gate. The Temple stands amidst a tank and has a dome. Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya laid its foundation stone. The Temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga; therefore it is called Durgiana Temple. Though Durga is the main deity, most of the temple's imagery centres around Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna. The Temple is also known as Lakshmi Narayan Mandir. Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth and Narayan is a Hindu Deity known as Lord Vishnu - the preserver of universe.
Jallianwala Bagh : Jallianwala Bagh, a national monument honouring the martyrs of India's freedom. Jallianwala Bagh at Amritsar reminds the visitor of one of the most heart-rending events in the history of India. Bullet marks and the well into which some people jumped to escape the onslaught can still be seen. Summer Palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh: Maharaja Ranjit Singh, more popularly known as 'The Lion of Punjab' was not only a great son of Punjab but was also among the few leading figures of the history of that period. The Summer Palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh is now changed to museum.
Jallianwala Bagh : Jallianwala Bagh, a national monument honouring the martyrs of India's freedom. Jallianwala Bagh at Amritsar reminds the visitor of one of the most heart-rending events in the history of India. Bullet marks and the well into which some people jumped to escape the onslaught can still be seen.
Summer Palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh: Maharaja Ranjit Singh, more popularly known as 'The Lion of Punjab' was not only a great son of Punjab but was also among the few leading figures of the history of that period. The Summer Palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh is now changed to museum.
Amritsar Entertainment and Night Life
Goindwal : A few kilometers away from Tarn Taran is the town of Goindwal, where Guru Amar Das established a new centre for preaching Sikhism. A 'Baoli', well paved with 84 steps was constructed here. The devout believe that by reciting Japji Sahib, the divine Word revealed to Guru Nanak Dev Ji at each step after taking a bath in the Baoli provides 'Moksh', liberation from 84,000 cycles of life of this world.
Nightlife in Amritsar can be well spent by making a trip to Golden Temple. Sitting by the Sarovar during the evening, with religious chants in the background is a soothing experience. The peaceful and picturesque ambience of a well lit Golden Temple is something even a non-religious person will cherish and remember. A visit to the Mall in the shopping area is another way to spend your evenings in Amritsar.
Kidding around Amritsar
Amritsar Fun Park: This park,offers a fusion of Amusement Rides, open air theatre, landscaped gardens, multi cuisine food outlets. The rides and facilities are rated for your convenience and comfort.
The popular shopping areas of Amritsar are nghKatra Jaimal Singh, Hall Bazar and the Lawrence Road. The best buys include jutties, woollens, rugs and durries, camel bone chess board, fireworks, embroidered dress material and bags as well as bangles, shawls and cut-glass items. 99% of all the wooden chess boards available in the world are made in Amritsar. The markets of the Old city are much more exotic than the main shopping areas of the New City. The Hall Bazaar in the purana shehr and the areas surrounding the Kotwali are vast and traditional shopping areas.
Famous To Eat at Amritsar
Dishes like parathas and tandoori cooked meats are the specialities of not only the city but also the state . And don"t forget to try the lassi, or buttermilk, which is also a major speciality of the state. From fast food stalls selling ice creams and pizzas to great Punjabi fare in dhabas and restaurants - you get them all here. Amritsaris only love to eat, drink and sleep... You can go to Balle Bowl where there is a small food court (4 counters - Dominos, Dim Sum (for Chinese / Thai / Indian and Continental food), Nexus Nizam (for Kathi Kababs) and for drinks you can have Beer, Breezer, Wine, Juices, Soft Drinks and Mocktails).
Amritsar Museum and Hill Stations
Jalianwala Bagh: On 13th April, 1919 cruel British military commander Dayar brutally murdered several Indians. In the memory of that mob murder now there is a memorial and museum here.
Gardens and Parks at Amritsar
Rambagh Gardens: This beautiful garden is named as a tribute to Guru Ram Das, the founder of the city. This garden is laid out on the pattern of Shalimar Bagh at Lahore. It is situated in the new part of town and has a museum in the summer palace built by the Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) the Lion of Punjab.
Lake at Amritsar
Pool of Nectar: The fourth Guru of Sikhism, Guru Ram Das, excavated a tank (1577 AD) which subsequently became known as Amritsar (meaning: Pool of the Nectar of Immortality) giving its name to the city that grew around it.
Amritsar Travel Tips
For a visit to the Gurudwaras, head covering is required. Simple scarves or handkerchiefs will suffice. For summer travel, light cottons are the best. In winter, woollens are required, especially at night.
Amritsar Tourist Offices
The PTDC Tourist Office (Youth Hostel, Mall Mandi, GT Road, Ph: 0183 - 231452) is open Monday to Saturday between 09:00 am and 05:00 pm. Tourist Bureau, Government of Punjab, Palace Hotel, opposite the Amritsar railway station, tel # 0183-42164. Amritsar Punjab Tourist Information Office, Raja Sanhsi Airport, Amritsar
ICICI ATM CENTERS AT AMRITSAR: HALL BAZAAR ICICI Bank Ltd,Upper Ground floor, 107/1, Hall Bazaar, Amritsar, 143001. RAJSANSI AIRPORT Airport Authority of India, Rajsansi Airport, Amritsar, 143001. JALLIANWALA BAGH, HOTEL CITY HEART Hotel City Heart, Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, 143006.
Must do at Amritsar
The city of Amritsar has numerous souvenir shops especially in the narrow lanes and by-lanes around the renowned Golden temple. They sell ornaments, photos and even swords, knives and shields as their replicas are a must carry object for the Sikhs.