Home of the glorious Golden Temple, the iconic city of Amritsar, portrays the heroic character of the Punjab. A day in this peaceful city starts with the spiritual prayers from Gurudwaras. The original name of first the ancient lake, then of the temple complex, and later the surrounding city, meaning “pool of ambrosial nectar.”
Amritsar is the spiritual and cultural centre of the Sikh Religion. Baisakhi festival brings out Amritsar’s resplendent face with its finest food, clothes and merry-making. This place is also famous for its Jallianwala Bagh massacre and its proximity to Wagah Border. The satiating food and generous dollops of legendary Punjabi hospitality further connive to cast a spell upon the visitor. From the Operation Blue Star in the Golden Temple to the tragedy of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, Amritsar has seen the worst of situations and yet emerged like a phoenix through testing times. Amritsar today is a thriving city with active trade and tourism industries. One of the most agriculturally productive cities of India, Amritsar is well connected with most of the important cities of India.
With its magnificent beauty, the iconic history of the Golden Temple dates back to 400 years. It is the most significant shrine in Sikhism. Whenever you visit the Golden Temple, do not miss the langar. The langar feeds a minimum of 40,000 people every day. During weekends and holidays, the number goes up to 1,00,000.
Location: Golden Temple Rd, Atta Mandi, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab 143006
Entry Fee: This holy place has no entry fees.
Timing: Monday to Sunday 3 AM to 11 PM
Best time to visit: Nighttime is the best time to visit the Golden Temple as the temple and the complex turns into a golden area. Also, the Winter Season is the best time to visit the Golden Temple as the temperature is suitable and pleasant.
A 31-kilometer drive west from the city center of Amritsar will take you to the border of Pakistan, where a curious border-closing ceremony takes place at sunset every afternoon. Full of pomp and circumstance, the Beating Retreat Ceremony involves an ostentatious display of goose-stepping guards from the Indian Border Security Force and the Pakistan Rangers saluting each other, lowering and folding their flags, and closing the gates at the border.
The experience gives tourists (typically seated in a special VIP section, once they flash their foreign passport) the chance to see the stark differences between Pakistan and India. On the Pakistan side, you’ll see men and women sitting separately in stadium-style seating, and the vibe is much more subdued.
On the Indian side, however, it’s a patriotic party. Bollywood music blasts from speakers as women dance in the street, while those in the stands wave Indian flags.
While just 45-minutes long, the entire ceremony gives you enough memories for hours of storytelling back at home.
The year 1947 was a big one for India. Not only was it the year that India gained its independence from Great Britain, it was also the year it split into the two different entities of India and Pakistan—an event known as the Partition of India.
Tourists in Amritsar can learn about this defining moment in history at the Partition Museum, the only institution in the world devoted entirely to Partition. It features a haunting collection of newspaper clippings, antique photographs, and oral histories with people who experienced the violence leading up to the separation of the two countries, and the resettling of refugees after the event. The experience will give you a deeper understanding of the source of rivalry between India and Pakistan.
On your way out of the museum, jot down a message on a green leaf and hang it on the Tree of Hope. The exhibits at the Partition Museum include newspaper clippings, photographs as well as personal items that were donated by people who had witnessed and lived during the Partition. TAACHT aims to establish the Partition Museum as a world-class physical museum dedicated to the memories of the partition of the sub-continent in 1947.
Located near the famous Golden Temple of Amritsar, Jallianwala Bagh is a public garden that also houses a memorial to commemorate the massacre of peaceful celebrators by the British forces. Spread over 6.5 acres of land, Jallianwala Bagh is associated with one of the saddest days in Indian History when thousands of innocent people were killed on the orders of General Dyer as they gathered for a peaceful celebration of Baisakhi. The place has now been turned into a beautiful park and is managed by the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust.
There is a memorial tablet at the entrance which serves as a record of history. The tragic incident left a deep scar on the country, and a memorial was constructed post the independence for the innocents who lost their lives in this devastating incident. Established by the government of India in 1951, the massacre memorial was inaugurated by Dr Rajendra Prasad on 13th April 1961.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum
The Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum is a museum located in Company Bagh, Amritsar. It served as the summer palace of the first king of the Sikh Empire, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, after whom the museum is named. The museum now provides an insight into the life the Maharaja alongside the history, art and architecture of the Sikh community between the 18th and 19th century. The museum is at a distance of 1.5 km from Amritsar Junction and about 4 km from The Golden Temple.
Converted into a Museum in 1977, the museum consists of a lot of artefacts and personal items of the Maharaja such as his armour and weaponry. It also displays fantastic paintings, various manuscripts and coins from centuries, long gone. This reflects the secular spirit of the Maharaja and the rich history of the Sikh province. The paintings mostly depict scenes from the Sikh monarch’s court and camp. Among all of them, the most famous among observers is the one depicting the city of Lahore. The palace is surrounded by the famous Rambagh Gardens popular for its statue of the legendary king with his horse.