Best of Amritsar in 24 hours
Posted on September 6, 2019 by Ghoomophiro
Amritsar in Punjab is more than just a city filled with history, it is the cultural capital of Punjab. When we planned to visit Amritsar, we just had 24 hours to explore the best of the city and since there was so much to do, we prioritized the top-places to see. We landed in Amritsar via road early morning at 6 am. The sky was filled with the hue of sunrise and the entrance of Amritsar is adorned by a beautiful dome-shaped welcome sight. Amritsar, the place that played an important role in Indian history during British Raj got its name derived from a lake surrounding the Golden Temple. Amrit Sarovar, literally meaning a holy pool of nectar surrounds the Harmandir Sahib. These stories were told to us by our cab driver who was a resident of Amritsar, so we left it up to him to let us experience the food, culture, sights of Amritsar in the best ways possible.
1 Golden Temple aka Harmandir Sahib Gurudwara
We started our day with a visit to the iconic Golden Temple. Thankfully, we were already dressed in traditional Indian clothes so we already had a dupatta to cover our heads which is mandatory before you enter the Gurudwara. Since it a popular pilgrimage and we were there on a Sunday, we had to wait in long queues before we got inside. But even there, we were just enjoying the architecture and observing how immersed people were in their prayers. After paying our respects, we moved to the langar area and had prasad. The community meals are offered to every person who visits the Gurudwara and the langar was delicious. Moreover, the halwa (known as kada in Punjabi) is given as prasad to everyone. The Gurudwara also allows people to stay there for free if they offer service at the temple in return. We did not have much time or we would have loved to experience that as well.
- Jallianwala Bagh
The next stop on the tour was the infamous Jallianwala Bagh. Though Jallianwala Bagh is just one km away from the Golden Temple, it takes some time to reach there because that area remains quite crowded. As soon as we entered the garden, we were reminded of the heart-wrenching tragedy that took place there back during the British rule in 1919. There is a memorial in the garden commemorating the Martyrs who were massacred there. The well in which people jumped to save their lives can be seen but one look inside the dark well is enough to give you a nightmare for days. We could also see the bullet holes in walls and there are boards everywhere to help tourists who do not know what happened in Jallianwala Bagh. Paying our respects to the martyrs of Jallianwala, we refrained from clicking many pictures there as we usually do. But just being in that space reminded us of how far India has come and how many people have laid down their lives to make it independent.
- Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum
After Jallianwala Bagh left us reminiscing on the History, we visited the Maharaja Ranjit Singh palace which is now in the shape of a museum. The Palace is preserved as it was 400 years ago when the king used to live there. Now, the swords, armors and other historical artifacts are kept there for the visitors to see. There were many paintings in the Museum as well, along with other belongings of the King like the old currency. It was quite a quick visit to the museum before we went to the most-awaited spot on our visit to Amritsar- The Wagah Border.
- The Indo-Pak Border
Right after our tour of the museum, we went to the Wagah Border. The Wagah Border has a parade that starts at 5 pm and we were lucky enough to reach there by 4:30 pm so we could still watch the hour-long parade live. We could not find good seats since people start coming in from 2 pm to find a seat. There is a huge rush on the Indian side of the border. There is tight security present there but we were allowed to carry essentials like water bottles, our sunglasses, and phones. The entire parade is a sight to behold and afterward, one the crowds started to disperse, we went and clicked some pictures with the soldiers. From the Wagah Border, we could easily see the other side- Pakistan and wondered why there wasn’t as big a crowd gathered on that side of the border as well.
- Go shopping
No trip to Amritsar is complete without shopping for Amritsari jutti. There is a Kapra Bazaar near the Golden Temple where we went to buy the famous Phulkari cloth and look for Amritsari Jutti. The -Kameez, Dupatta or Phulkari-cloth. We also bought some dresses from the Kapra Bazaar but the best place to buy Amritsari Jutti, as suggested by many locals there is the Raunak Store in Pink plaza. Amritsari Jutti is leather footwear traditionally called Jutti. It complements the traditional Indian-wear and is a great ethnic-wear accessory.
- What’s Punjab without Punjabi Food?
Throughout the day, we munched on local Amritsari cuisine. The day began with Aloo Parantha with extra butter and a glass of Lassi for breakfast at a local Dhaba. Then the langar at Golden Temple worked perfectly as lunch and for snacks, we had jalebi and Amritsari Lassi at a Dhaba near Golden Temple. For dinner, there are plenty of options in Amritsar but it is a bit hard to find pure vegetarian restaurants. There is a place called Brother’s Amritsari dhaba that serves delicious Paneer Butter Masala, Daal Makhani, Channa and Naan. We got the veg thali which had salad and raita as well as Amritsari Papad.
When it was finally time to leave Amritsar, we realized that within 24 hours, we had seen most of the popular places in Amritsar, shopped and enjoyed Punjabi delicacies while being entertained by our cab driver’s Punjabi commentary on everything.