Amritsar is one of the most developed cities in Punjab in the North-Western part of India, having a never-say-die attitude. Historically known as Ramdaspur, this pilgrim centre of Sikh religion attracts thousands of people each year. Amritsar is well connected by all means of transport like air, rail and road. One can easily reach Amritsar from any part of India. A typically industrial city booming with energy, the narrow and congested by-lanes that offer a glimpse into the culture and traditional cuisine of Amritsar will amaze you in many ways.
Stir up your spirits
Technologically speaking, the cities of Punjab are really developed in terms of using state-of-the-art farm houses. It is a common sight to see rich farmers showing off their gadgets. Amritsar can give you an experience that is just out of this world. For city-bred people like us, holding a shovel, milking a cow or churning pure butter can seem like a distant dream, but if you are one of those travellers who love to experience local cultures, then Amritsar offers a lot. The rustic surroundings of nearby villages will surely rejuvenate your mind and body.
Unearthing the past
Did you ever face problems in learning History in school? If your answer is `Yes`, then Amritsar will straighten out some historical facts for you. A visit to Jallianwala Bagh is a must for every Indian. Pay your regards to those brave souls who sacrificed their lives for our country. Take a detour to the palace of `Lion of Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh`, the great warrior hero will definitely inspire the spirit of patriotism in you. Visit Attari/Wagha border that separates India and Pakistan’s geographical boundaries on the Northern Front is something not to be missed if you are in Amritsar. The amazing parade of the guard of honour bedazzles one to witness the sheer ferocity that will linger in your mind for years to come. Shared autos are available from Amritsar which will cost you Rs 600 for the entire vehicle.
In Amritsar, the ‘Golden Temple’s lavish architecture is evocative to both Hindu and Muslim artistry and makes it one of the most visited places by pilgrims and travellers from all around the world. The religious shrine of Harmandir Sahib [Golden Sahib] allows devotees from all religion to come and pay their homage to Guru Nanak, who preached peace and tolerance to mankind. A quick visit to the attached museum will enlighten you of the history of Golden Temple and will give you some insight into Operation Blue Star.
Lal Devi`s temple is another famous landmark in Amritsar. You have to go through ankle deep water to reach the shrine. Low tunnels and caves are the trademark of the arduous route that leads to the temple. If you are inclined to indulge in prosocial activity then do community feeding, also known as `Langar`in a Gurudwara. All Gurudwaras have community kitchens where in anybody who wishes to serve, can join them.
Traditional Vs. Trendy
The city of Amritsar is a strange mix of tradition and modernity yet it is in sync with its roots which fascinate many travellers. From shopping of Mojris, Jootis, handicrafts, Phulkari dupattas, woollen shawls for men [Loyi], silver jewellery and readymade garments to local cuisine. The `Dhaba Culture` is very famous here, one can eat Amritsari kulcha with dal makhni [Indian vegetarian dish that has black urad beans simmered in creamy gravy sautéed with tomatoes-onions and mild spices] and chole [curry made from chickpeas], add a glassful of Lassi [yogurt-based drink] to satisfy your gastronomical pangs. A dish you should not miss is Amritsari Makhan Macchi [Butter fish], it will be worth your money. To top it up, have `Kulfi` [frozen dairy based ice cream] for desserts, you can ask for various flavours like Paan, rose, mango, cardamom, saffron etc.
In case ‘fun’ is on your agenda and all you want is a good time, good food, good shopping, all in a budget, then start packing your bags and hit the road to Amritsar.