When I first read about the Golden Temple in Amritsar in my school books, I was so amazed that I always wanted to visit this holy place. When my friends mentioned the famous glass full of lassi (buttermilk or sweetened milk) in the Punjab state, I was so eager to taste that.
With all this excitement, finally, we made a plan to explore our journey to Amritsar.
Amritsar is the iconic city in the Punjab state of northwestern India. This city is the spiritual center of the Sikh Religion. The peaceful Amritsar is famous for religious and cultural prayers from gurudwaras. Being home to the magnificent Golden Temple, Amritsar has become a famous spot for travel and tourism.
We took a direct flight from Delhi to Amritsar. The city view is seen through the window when the plane lands are one of the most beautiful city views.
How to reach Amritsar:
By Air – Regular flights are available to the Raja Sansi International Airport in Amritsar throughout the day. Several important cities of India as well as other countries are well connected to Amritsar.
By Road – All major cities are connected to the Amritsar railway station. Also, many bus services are available from many cities.
Best Time to Visit Amritsar :
The months from September to December and January to March are the best times to tour the city.
The pleasant weather during these months gives you stunning enthusiasm for sightseeing Amritsar. The city remains too hot during the summer months i.e. May and June and too cold during winter months ie Nov – Dec. Also, the city is humid during July and August because of monsoons.
The start of the Journey:
We had hired a private car to tour the city. The city ride was surely going to be very interesting.
We started our journey by taking blessings from the holiest shire in Sikhism – The Golden Temple or The Harmandir Sahib.
Considered one of the holiest places in India, is the heart of Amritsar. You have to remove your shoes at the entrance and need to cover your heads. If you don’t have anything to cover up your head, don’t worry! The headscarves can be borrowed at the entrance. The area is too vast and the golden temple architecture is brilliant that left me awestruck looking at its beauty.
We entered the place and washed our legs at the entrance. You can take a dip into the holy waters of the temple too. The man-made tank, the Amrit Sarovar, surrounds the glittering central shrine. The tank waters reflect the temple, a splendid view to watch.
The queue to enter the Golden temple is too long, it almost takes 1 to 2 hours. During those times, the fishes in the water, and the pleasant breeze grabed my attention and kept me entertained.
(The floor remains very hot during summers, although mat along the way protect your feet. It is advised to wear socks during summer visit. )
You can capture glazing pictures outside the temple but can’t click pictures inside the golden temple. The intricate and detailed artwork inside is captured in the eyes and in memories. I still remember the beautiful designs on the wall of the Golden temple, left me completely mesmerized.
Proceed to delicious Langar in Golden Temple:
The aura was very pure. After seeking blessings from the shrine, we proceeded to relish the delicious “langar” at the community kitchen with hundreds of people sitting in the long rows. The food offered in the langar is the most scrumptious food I ever had.
The most special thing about the langar is, everything is managed by common people like us. We can volunteer in preparing the food, serving it to people, and even washing the utensils. This is considered a very holy practice for the local people.
Even I volunteered in the process, and I must say it was a great satisfaction to my soul.
The Golden temple is beautiful at night and the atmosphere is very delightful. You can also groove into the evening ceremony – Palki Sahib ceremony to enjoy the complete tour to the holy Golden Temple.
This place has a terrifying history that revolves around the Independence era of India – the Amritsar Massacre/ Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. The place very near to Golden temple is a public garden that is built to commemorate the innocent Indians who were brutally massacred by the Britishers. The peaceful protest by the Indians was turned into a tragic incident when these people were killed by the orders of General Dyre on 13th April 1919.
While entering the place, I felt those vibes. Many people visiting Amritsar make it a point to visit this place to pay their respect to those people.
The picture below shows the bullet marks on the wall of Jallianwala Bagh.
Wandering into the market:
This place is close to the market, and thus you can wander the local shops. Exploring the street is fun while enjoying the full glass lassi.
The famous Lassi in Punjab is one thing I am very crazy about. When you are in Punjab, Lassi is a must! It’s very sweet and one full glass is enough for like Amrit (heavenly).
Next we visited to the most popular place for chat in Amritsar – Brijwasi Chat. The food items were very tasty.
Later we moved to the Wagah border which marks as the boundary between India and Pakistan. The Wagah Border Ceremony or the retreat ceremony held every evening for 45 minutes is a prime attraction. Amritsar trip is incomplete without visiting the Wagah border. The show starts at 4:45 pm in summers and at 5:15 in winters.
I really suggest getting here early at around 2:30 pm to grab a seat close to the gates to watch the ceremony clearly.VIP seats are available too, it’s just that you have to come here in the morning, show your ID proof, and fill the form for the seats.
We reached the place on time. Hundreds of people were already there, the ceremony was about to start. We could not see anything. But, we managed to fill the space and move forward to view the complete show.
Although we watched the show standing, that was totally worth it. The show gave me goosebumps.
The soldiers from both countries meet at this border and start the ceremony with a parade. The ceremony includes a patriotic session, some entertainment with Bollywood dance and songs in impressive costumes. Everyone in the spot is with high energy. The environment is filled with cheers and enthusiasm.
The National Anthem is the best part that fills the heart with pride.
The end of the ceremony is done by opening the border gates and lowering the flags of both nations. The handshake between the infantrymen from both nations and then the closing of the border gates concluded the ceremony.
It feels so good to be a part of this ceremony.
The Regional Food
The day has to end with a delicious dinner. Punjab is famous for food items – “sarso da sag” (a stew whose main ingredient is mustard greens) and makke di roti (flatbreads made with cornmeal). And I cannot leave Amritsar without having this.
While returning to the city we had dinner at the dhaba with a very special arrangement made for us. We had our dinner under the sky roof on wooden cots (charpai) and a fascinating campfire. Both veg and non-veg meals were so special with the cool windy breeze flowing around. We ended with the special Kulfi and once again the famous lassi.
Amritsar gave me great memories. The place was worth a visit. I didn’t get to see the lakes or waterfalls, but that day I realized how every place has great significance. The Amritsar history made me remember the sacrifice of so many people in the Independence era. The one day trip to this place gave me a magnificent experience.
The people here are so helpful and really joyous, they enjoy their day with utmost happiness. They live for the nation and serve good for the people. I admire them. I have learned a lot from them to stick with me forever.
You can read my about my trekking experience at Vaishno Devi to experience a religious trekking adventure.
You can continue to explore the thrill to visit amazing distinct places here.