Amritsar is a very popular tourist destination in Punjab. Widely known as a spiritual hub, many thousand travellers from across the world throng the city's most popular attraction, the Golden Temple. It plays a vital role in the religious and cultural activities of the Sikh community in the country, with the many temples and gurudwaras that dot the city and its surrounding regions. Ironically the Golden Temple or the Harmandir Sahib attracts more visitors on a daily basis than the iconic Taj Mahal!
The other main association the city has is with the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy. Today, visitors travel to the memorial to pay homage and spare a moment for the lives lost in the fight for freedom. But for travellers looking to explore the city, our travel guide to Amritsar will also tell you about places beyond the Golden Temple and Memorial. So here is a look at the top attractions in and around Amritsar.
A popular place to visit in Amritsar is the Durgiana Temple. Dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Durga, the temple is another beautiful structure in white and gold highlights. Located near the Lohgarh gate, the temple is also known as the Lakshmi Narayan Temple and was constructed in 1908 by Harsai Mal Kapoor. Noteworthy features of the temple complex include the structures of worship dedicated to Bara Hanuman and Sita Devi. It is also popular for the beautifully carved silver doors.
Photo Courtesy: Guilhem Vellut
The palace of one of the most prominent rulers of the region, Ranjit Singh, the Summer Palace is located in the lovely gardens of Ram Bagh. The key attraction of the palace is its entrance, known as the Darshani Deorhi, built on a split-level style of architecture. The palace structure also sports detailed architecture and art in the form of paintings, mirror-work and the well-maintained gardens. Enjoy walking around and find time to both learn and relax at this popular spot in Amritsar.
Photo Courtesy: Hari Singh Nalwa: Champion of the Khalsaji
Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum
Located within Ram Bagh is the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum, established to commemorate the 400th year celebration of Amritsar City. The museum takes visitors on a visual and descriptive tour of the life of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the colourful history of the city.
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The Wagah Border's Beating Retreat Ceremony that marks the lowering of flags everyday is a military practise that has to be experienced by every Indian. The ceremony takes place at dusk and sees the coming together of both nationalistic fervour and a sense of harmony. The carefully practised ritual attracts travellers from across the world.
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Harike Wetland and Bird Sanctuary
The nature hotspot of Harike Wetland stretches across three districts including Amritsar. The Harike Bird Sanctuary is located at a short distance of 55 km from the city and is a must-visit travel destination in the region. The reservoir created by the confluence of the Sutlej and Beas rivers has formed a wetland that is home to over 200 varieties of birds.
Photo Courtesy: Diliff
The Harmandir Sahib or the Golden Temple of Amritsar requires no introduction. It is an iconic symbol not just of the Punjab state but rather for all spiritual travel in the country. The distinctive gold layering for the upper part of the temple was done by the King Ranjit Singh in the 19h century. The temple welcomes everyone irrespective of sex, caste or creed to approach the lord and seek his blessings. The holy text of Guru Granth Sahib is at all times present in the temple and is worshipped. The beautiful temple is further enhanced by the temple lake called Sarovar and the surrounding marbled pathways. It is truly the ultimate destination for those seeking peace.
Photo Courtesy: Clara Giraud
Jallianwala Bagh Memorial
Among the worst tragedies the country witnessed during the freedom struggle, the Jallianwala Bagh incident saw the massacre of over 379 people including men, women and children involved in a peaceful protest against the British. The incident is stark reminder of the sacrifices of our forefathers in the struggle for freedom that should not be forgotten. The memorial shows the lane that was used to enter the park, along with the bullet marks left on the walls and even the spot from where the firing took place.
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Food and Stay
You have reached a city that every foodie dreams to visit! Among the many items to try, start with the Amritsari kulcha and fish or yummy paneer burjees and wash it all down with the deliciously healthy lassi.
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Photo Courtesy: Erik Groortscholte
Best Time to Travel
Enjoy a pleasant stay at Amritsar in the months of August-November. Avoid the winters and summers as these periods see extreme temperatures and are not recommended for travel.
Photo Courtesy: Clara Giraud
How to Reach
By Road: The city enjoys good connectivity by road and has state and national highways linking it to all major destinations in the country. Buses both private and state run are also available.
By Rail: The railway station is a major stop in the state and has regular and direct trains to all major destinations in the country.
By Air: The beautiful Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport in Amritsar has flights to both domestic and international destinations. It is located 11 km from the city.
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