As Varanasi is the holiest pilgrimage site for Hindus; Mecca for Muslims; Jerusalem for Christians and Jews; so is Amritsar a sacred land for Sikhs. Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh Guru, built the city envisioning a spiritual center for the followers of Sikh religion. Amritsar meaning ‘The pool of ambrosia’ takes its name after Amrit Sarovar, a holy lake surrounding ‘The Golden Temple.’
The heroic resilience of the city standing the testing times in its past is inspiring! From witnessing the city’s culture, stunning architecture, rich history and religious beliefs to tasting the delicious Punjabi food and shopping in the bazaars, read through the things to do in Amritsar on your tour to ‘The cultural capital of Punjab.’
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- Worship at the holiest Golden Temple:
When you are in the holy city, the foremost thing to do is to visit Sri Harmandir Sahib, the soul of Amritsar located in the heart of the city. It is a spiritual complex with religious buildings, one of which is the popular “The Golden Temple” that houses the earliest version of Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhs. The marble temple coated with gold foil gleams in the center of Amrit Sarovar and stands as a symbol of peace and equality. Chanting of religious hymns imparts divinity in the atmosphere and will leave you in a spiritual trance. Volunteers cook and serve meals to all the devotees visiting the temple (irrespective of their cultural/ religious beliefs and background) and this ritual is known as “Langar Seva.”
- Know the history behind the memorial in Jallianwala Bagh:
Jallianwala Bagh, a walled garden where a terrible massacre had taken place, is one of the historical landmarks of India. April 13, 1919, is a dark day in the history of Indian Independence. The day on which people gathered in Jallianwala Bagh to celebrate the festival of Baisakhi turned tragic when the British troops irrationally opened fire causing the death of thousands of innocent Indians. A memorial was constructed in the park to commemorate the martyrs. The bullet holes on the walls and the well into which people jumped voluntarily to escape the hurl of bullets poignantly remind the atrocities of the colonial British rule.
- Marvel at the majestic architecture of Khalsa College:
If you are into architecture, a visit to 127-year-old Khalsa College is one of the must things to do in Amritsar. Designed by renowned architect Ram Singh, this popular educational institution spreading in 300 acres of land is an astonishing example of British, Mughal, and Sikh architecture. The imposing building with orange-reddish domes is fronted by sprawling green lawns, and the structure resembles more of a royal palace. The architecturally magnificent building has also been shot in many Bollywood films! Are you excited to visit the college where famous Bollywood scenes are filmed? Book flights to India immediately!
- Shop at Hall Bazaar:
Hall Bazaar is the hub of shopping in Amritsar and also one of the oldest and busiest bazaars in the city. The shopping complex is located on the route to Golden Temple, and an impressive red sandstone archway called ‘Gandhi Gate’ grandly welcomes you to the Hall bazaar. Remember anything that you have wanted for a long time, but never found in any stores? Search a little more carefully in the shops of narrow lanes in Hall bazaar, and you’ll find it because there’s no such thing that is not available here! There are traditional clothes, jewelry, watches, home décor, colorful footwear, electronics, books, handicrafts, souvenirs and many more items. Just take care of not overloading your shopping bags!
- Taste the Punjabi food, a feast to your belly:
People say Punjabis are foodies! Believe it or not, you’ll surely turn a foodie if you taste the traditional Punjabi dishes. A local Dhaba is the best place to eat in Amritsar. Every dish made in Punjabi kitchen is topped with a dollop of ghee or butter. To relish the Punjabi dishes heartfully, you must put aside your dietary guidelines for some time! Try buttery Amritsari Kulcha at Kulcha Land; tandoori chicken, chicken Tikka and non-veg items at Beera Chicken House; maa ki daal, ghee-soaked Paranthas and vegetarian recipes at Kesar Da Dhaba; finger-licking varieties in a Punjabi thali at Bharawan da Dhaba. The taste of Punjab is incomplete without Lassi which is available around every street corner!