There is no dearth of things to do in Amritsar, the spiritual capital of Punjab. From indulging in delicious Kulchas to visiting the world-famous Golden Temple, there is everything for everyone in this beautiful city. Today, on World Tourism Day, I want to share my experiences about Amritsar -a place that is really close to my heart because it keeps calling me back for a visit. It is one of the few places where I find myself at ease and peace.
Here are the top ten things to do when you are in this beautiful city of Amritsar
Of course, the very first thing that you do when in Amritsar is visiting the Golden Temple. It is a sight to behold and you’d feel humbled by its magnanimity. Golden Temple or Harmandir Sahib glistens at night as it is bathed in yellow and golden lights. The Gurudwara is surrounded by the sacred Pool of Nectar and one has to walk around it to reach the Sanctum Santorum. Make sure you visit Golden Temple both at dawn and dusk to appreciate its excellence.
Volunteer at Guru Ka Langar
Volunteer at the world’s largest community kitchen, Guru ka Langar. It serves close to 50,000 people a day – all for free. The kitchen never closes so it makes sure no one goes hungry. You can do your bit by chopping vegetables, making rotis or washing utensils. Langar meals are 100% vegetarian and consist of roti, dal, and kheer. You are to sit down on a mat to eat, ensuring all are equal in the eyes of God.
Get Goosebumps Witnessing the Wagah Border Ceremony
The Beating Retreat at the Wagah Border is a daily military exercise followed by the Border Security Force, BSF of India and Pakistan Rangers of Pakistan. The ceremony is conducted in full josh and vigour attracting hundreds of tourists every day. It is absolute fun to watch the crowd go bonkers at the display of aggression between the two forces.
Pay Tribute to the Martyrs at the Jallianwala Bagh
It is imperative that every Indian should visit the Jallianwala Bagh in his lifetime. The narrow passageway, bullet marks, and Martyr’s well will send a shiver down your spine. If this doesn’t make you feel grateful for the freedom that you enjoy today at the sacrifice of lakhs of souls, I don’t know what will.
Amritsari Kulchas from Kesar daDabba
Ah, your trip to Amritsar isn’t complete if you haven’t indulged on Amritsari Kulchas. Amongst all the Dhabas, Kesar da Dhaba is quite popular among tourists and though it is a task to find this small food joint, it is worth the effort. Do not be put off by the unbelievable amount of desi ghee on each of these Kulchas and Laccha Parathas, but relish it in all its glory.
Refreshing Amritsari Lassi
I cannot count the number of Lassis I’ve had on my trip to Amritsar. It was winter both the times but I still couldn’t resist myself from this refreshing and sweet Lassi cravings. Amritsari Lassi Wala is the most popular Lassi shop but you can get yourself a tall glass of chill Lassi from just about anywhere.
Get a Pair (or More) of Punjabi Juttis
I dare say that you ought to own a pair of Punjabi Juttis to compliment your wardrobe. These are intricately handcrafted footwear that goes well with your salwar suits. These days the traditional juttis have got a modern demeanor and you can flaunt them with your jeans or skirts as well. From street vendors to proper shops, many houses these shoes.
Love for Phulkaris
The main agenda of my Amritsar trip (after the Golden Temple visit) always is the Phulkari loot. The handwoven embroidered flower patterns are just what you need to own a desi look. The price can range anywhere between affordable to expensive based on handwoven or machine-embroidered and how intricate the weave is.
Take a walk along the Heritage Street that leads to Golden Temple
Five years ago, when I walked towards the Golden Temple, it was a busy street with pedestrians, rickshaw wallas, and vendors. Now, things changed and you’d now see the backdrop of buildings that resemble Mughal and Rajputana architecture. The bylanes are clean and splendid with lampposts, statues, and artificial waterfalls. Do not miss the towering statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and ‘Smriti’ monument outside Jallianwala Bagh.
Get hold of Dal Wadiyans, Dry Fruits, Amritasari Pappad and different Pickles. Also, fill your tummy with the popular Amritsari Fish, Chicken Tandoori, Bheja Fry and Jalebis. If you’ve got an additional day to spare, visit Gobindgarh Fort and Durgiana Temple.
That’s all folks!
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