Best of Amritsar in Three Days
The excitement was at its peak as I was off to the land of Punjab for the first time in my life. This trip was a special one, to pay respects at the most visited place of Amritsar Golden Temple or Harmandir Sahib, it’s official name. Because of it being gold plated, devotees lovingly call it the Golden Temple.
Air travel from Mumbai to Amritsar is nearly two and a half hours and I was wondering how I was going to deal with turbulence during the flight. Nonetheless, mentally prepared me to deal with it. What awaited me at Amritsar was totally worth it.
Were three days enough in Amritsar? I wanted to experience the whole city in totality. But my main aim was very clear. I wanted to spend maximum time at the Golden Temple absorbing the divine, religious vibes.
The Golden Temple
We visited in the evening on the first day itself. The sun was setting, the first glimpse was magnificent, my eyes got moist with happiness. I kept staring in disbelief, was I really there?
Listening to the soft chants of Guru Granth Sahib. A sudden calm came over me, I sat by the lake looking at the temple and soaking up the positivity in the air. Despite the crowd, you tend to feel a connection with them, everyone walking with their head covered, bare feet, taking a parikrama around the temple.
The entire complex is so clean. The Sevaks who sweep the floors, serve water, cook for the langar is all volunteers here. Offering services to mankind get them closer to God. It’s doing good deeds and attaining salvation. Each one having their own reasons to do so.
Once was not enough so we visited again on the third day to pay our last respects. Just wanted to be there and never leave.
Heritage Walk Around The Temple
The roads are broad with shops on both sides. The walk to the temple is a beautiful one with bright lamp posts, statues and fountains in the backdrop. The entire 1-km stretch is a walking street. Benches in the middle for people to relax and enjoy the ambience.Traditional Phulkari, Jutti shops, souvenirs and eateries lined across.
Amritsar is a food lovers paradise. Even at the Ramada hotel I skipped the eggs and went for the kulchas and stuffed parathas with curd and pickle. We visited the famous century-old Kesar da Dhabha.
Shared a thali served with chole, maa ki daal, salad, Punjabi pickle, raita, soft kulchas and a tall glass of Lassi. In spite of asking for less butter, the kulchas came soaked in it.
Another interesting place for Dhabha style non-vegetarian food is Beera Chicken. We ordered the Roast chicken, butter chicken, fish Amritsari and kheema naan. It was truly outstanding and I suggest to relish it with all your sense. A must visit when in Amritsar.
Jalian Walla Bagh
Our history books stand witness to the bloody massacre that took place at Jalianwala Bagh. This garden is a tourist spot now with well-kept lawns, a museum and the Martyrs Well.
But the sentiments of the place has to be felt. The garden still has the walls with bullet marks, the well which drowned the people who tried to escape from the bullets still exists. It is a landmark in India’s struggle for freedom.
The Attari- Wagah border is the only road border crossing between India and Pakistan and is located 30 km from Amritsar. It was an hour’s drive from Ramada hotel and considering the large crowds that visit we started as early as 3 pm to get good seats to view the parade starting at 5 pm.
As the sun started to set on the border of both the countries the Beating Retreat Ceremony started. Soldiers from both Nations marched enthusiastically in a parade till the line of the two gates. What I saw during this half an hour ceremony cannot be described in simple words.
This is a Hindu temple and is similar to the Golden Temple architecture, situated in a Holi lake. We visited the Durgiana Temple the next day.
It felt peaceful inside the premises. The melodious chants and sound of flowing water added to the serenity and piety of the place. There is an ancient temple of Hanuman Ji and Shitla Devi in the same vicinity. Worth a visit for religious minded people.
Gobindgarh Fort is a Palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singhji that has recently been opened for the general public after 200 years. The place is a sprawling property, with many attractions within the fort including Punjabi Folk Dances, historic buildings, museums, restaurants, children’s rides etc.
But best of all we enjoyed was the 7-D show on the history of Ranjeet Singh, the King of Punjab.
Then relished the Dhaba style stuffed kulchas, chole with curd and lassi at Brothers da Dhabha on the premises.
Not to miss the shopping of phulkari dupattas and outfits in the cloth market. The shopkeepers tailor Patiala shalwars and kurti in less than 24 hours. You can shop for glittering juttis, mithai, farsan in Amritsar.
Thus concluded our power packed, a memorable holiday of Amritsar. Hoping to visit in the near future again because one trip was not enough.