Amritsar

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Amritsar: Pool of Nectar

Enchanting Amritsar, located in the state of Punjab, is a city steeped in history and spirituality. Established as a place of pilgrimage, Amritsar derives its name from the sacred tank or pool called the Amrita Saras (Pool of Nectar), where the revered Golden Temple was built. Known as the spiritual and cultural center of Sikhism, Amritsar attracts tourists from all corners of the globe.

Founded in 1577 by Ram Das, the fourth Guru of the Sikhs, on a site granted by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, Amritsar holds a special place in the hearts of Sikhs worldwide. The city is renowned for its iconic Golden Temple, the poignant Jallianwala Bagh memorial, and the vibrant Wagah Border ceremony. Additionally, Amritsar is celebrated for its delectable cuisine, offering a culinary experience like no other.

In recent years, Amritsar has also gained recognition as a delightful shopping destination, offering a unique blend of traditional and modern shopping experiences. With its rich history, spiritual significance, and cultural vibrancy, Amritsar truly stands out as a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a deeper connection with India’s heritage and traditions.

Tourist places in and around Amritsar:

Amritsar - Manu Adventures India

Golden temple (Harmandir Saheb/ Darbar Sahib)

The Golden Temple, also known as Harmandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib, is a must-visit destination in Amritsar. Located in old Amritsar, this sacred site holds great significance for Sikhs and visitors alike. One should plan at least two visits to the Golden Temple - one in the morning and one at night to witness its breathtaking beauty when it is illuminated. The name "Amritsar" itself is derived from the temple and its holy pool, which means "pool of immortality." The Akal Takht, located within the Golden Temple complex, serves as the seat of authority for Sikhs and houses the holy scripture of Sikhism, Guru Granth Sahib. The Akal Takht, also known as Takht Shri Akal Bunga, is one of the five Takhts in Sikh tradition, all of which are major pilgrimage sites. The Golden Temple is adorned with real gold and marble, and the man-made pool on its premises was completed by the fourth Sikh guru, Guru Ram Das, in 1577. The unique architecture of the Golden Temple, built at a lower level than the surrounding land, symbolizes the values of egalitarianism and humility. With four entrances representing all four directions, the Golden Temple welcomes people from all walks of life, emphasizing inclusivity and unity. A visit to this sacred place of worship is a truly enriching and spiritual experience that should not be missed.

Inside the Golden Temple Complex

Amritsar - Manu Adventures India
The Beri Tree:
The Beri Tree is a sacred site within the Golden Temple that holds great significance for Sikh followers. Legend has it that Baba Budha Ji, one of the revered Sikh Gurus, laid the foundation of the Golden Temple after seeking guidance from a divine vision he received while resting under the tree. This historical tree is believed to possess special powers and has been standing for over 450 years, symbolizing the deep-rooted spiritual connection of the Sikh community to their faith.Visiting this ancient tree is a must for those seeking to experience the rich history and spiritual essence of the Golden Temple.
Amritsar - Manu Adventures India
The Holy Tank:
The Sacred Pool: The pool surrounding the Temple, known as Amrit Sarovar, holds great significance for devotees as a place of sanctity. According to ancient legends, a holy dip in the Amrit Sarovar was believed to possess healing properties, capable of curing ailments and disorders. While men bathe openly in the pool, women have a designated private area for their ablutions. After bathing, worshippers proceed to walk across the temple grounds to reach the Harmandir Sahib.
Interesting Facts
  1. Lord Buddha mediated at the Sacred Site.
  2. The Golden Temple was founded in 1574 by the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das.
  3. The Golden Temple was completed in 1604.
  4. Baba Deep Singh died inside the Golden Temple.
  5. Stairs to the temple goes downwards which symbolize the humble way of living.
  6. The ceiling of the Temple is made of real gold and precious stones.
  7. The Largest free kitchen in the world.
  8. The Temple organizes the largest Langar Sewa in the world and serves around 100,000 devotes daily.
  9. The Temple is located on a level below the ground level.
  10. The Temple is open to all Religions, Caste and Creed.
  11. The Golden Temple is surrounded by a Sacred Pond which is believed to have medicinal properties.
  12. The exquisite Golden Temple is a unique blend of the Hindu as well as the Islamic architecture. The shrine is decorated with marble sculptures and paintings that look similar to Taj Mahal.
Amritsar - Manu Adventures India

Jallian Wala Bagh: Massacre of Amritsar

Jallianwala Bagh is a historic garden and memorial of national significance located near the Golden Temple in Amritsar. On April 13, 1919, a large peaceful crowd had gathered at Jallianwala Bagh to protest the Rowlatt Act and the arrest of pro-independence activists. In response to the public gathering, British troops opened fire on the unarmed Indians, resulting in the deaths of several hundred people and the injury of many more. According to the British Government, 379 individuals were killed and approximately 1200 were severely wounded. This tragic event marked a pivotal moment in India's modern history, leaving a lasting impact on Indo-British relations. It also served as a catalyst for Mahatma Gandhi's unwavering dedication to the cause of Indian nationalism and independence from British rule.
Amritsar - Manu Adventures India

Attari-Wagah Border Flag Ceremony

The Attari-Wagah Border Flag Ceremony is a daily tradition that has been observed by the security forces of India and Pakistan since 1959. This ceremony, known as the Beating Retreat and Change of Guard, is a captivating display of pomp and pageantry that takes place within handshaking distance of the Indian and Pakistani forces. Located at the Attari-Wagah Border along the Grand Trunk Road, this ceremony is renowned internationally as the Beating Retreat border ceremony. Situated 24 km from Lahore, Pakistan, and 32 km from Amritsar, India, the Attari-Wagah Border Flag Ceremony is conducted by the Border Security Force (BSF) on the Indian side and the Rangers on the Pakistani side. Prior to the event, women and children from the crowd join the soldiers in dancing to patriotic songs, heightening the excitement among spectators. The soldiers from both countries march in flawless precision, executing the steps to lower their respective flags. This ceremony symbolizes the rivalry between the two nations while also showcasing the brotherhood and love shared between them. As the sun sets, the nationalist fervor intensifies, stirring emotions among the thousands of spectators, including foreign nationals, who gather at the Wagah Border to witness this spectacle of national pride.

Quick Facts:

  1. There are no fees for attending the Wagah border ceremony.
  2. Seats are available on first come first serve basis.
  3. The retreat ceremony starts at 5:15 Pm in summers and 4:15 Pm in winters.
  4. Ideal time to reach Wagah Border is an hour before the ceremony.
  5. You can use phone and capture pictures and videos of the ceremony.

Street food Amritsar:

Amritsar - Manu Adventures India
Kulcha:
Amritsar, known for its iconic Golden Temple, is also renowned for its exquisite culinary offerings. There is a popular saying that captures the essence of Amritsari cuisine: "You can take a foodie out of Amritsar, but you can't take Amritsar out of a foodie." Indeed, food plays a central role in the social fabric of this vibrant city, permeating every aspect of life from social gatherings to religious festivals. One of the most beloved culinary delights of Amritsar is the Kulcha, earning the city the moniker of "Kulcha Land." These delectable flatbreads are stuffed with a savory mixture of potatoes and cottage cheese, then baked to a golden crisp in a traditional tandoor oven. The hot kulchas are expertly crumbled by hand until flaky, then generously topped with butter. Served alongside flavorful chickpeas (chole) and spicy chutney, Kulchas are a culinary must-have for anyone visiting Amritsar. In Amritsar, the culinary scene is a vibrant tapestry of flavors and traditions, with each dish telling a story of the city's rich cultural heritage. From the iconic Golden Temple to the bustling streets filled with the aroma of freshly baked Kulchas, Amritsar is a food lover's paradise that promises an unforgettable gastronomic experience.
Amritsar - Manu Adventures India
Lassi:
Lassi, the most refreshing drink in Amritsar, is a must-try for anyone visiting the city. From mango to kesar, the lassi here comes in a variety of flavors that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. Mixed with cashews and almonds, this creamy and thick beverage is a true delight. The texture of the lassi is so rich that you may find yourself needing a spoon to fully enjoy it. This drink provides a unique and invigorating experience that will keep you energized as you explore the rich traditions and culture of Amritsar throughout the day.
Amritsar - Manu Adventures India
Gulab Jamum:
If you have a sweet tooth then Amritsar is the place for you. One of the most famous is Gulab Jamun which is an all time favorite dessert found there. Made with milk and khoya these small round balls are dipped in sugar syrup. It is easily available at many food places in Amritsar..
Location: Amritsar India Population: 15000
Amritsar - Manu Adventures India
45°C Feels like 42°C
995hPa 10% 0% 6m/s 280deg

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Things to Remember in Golden Temple Amritsar

  • On arrival at the Golden Temple, both men and women are required to wear a scarf over their head (don’t worry if you forget to bring a scarf as headscarves are sold outside at a very cheap price).
  • All visitors must remove their shoes and wash their feet by walking through pools before entering the temple, as there is a cloakroom in the Golden Temple for shoes.
  • At every entrance to Sri Harmandir Sahib, there is provision for keeping shoes, and luggage of the devotees, free of cost. One must get a token after depositing one’s shoes/belongings.
  • Please switch-off your mobiles before entering into the Sanctum Sanctorum.
  • Wash your feet/hands, and cover your head properly before entering the holy complex.
  • Cigarette, Biri, Tobacco or other intoxicants are strictly prohibited inside the holy premises.
  • Inside the Golden Temple chewing gum, sun glasses and photography are prohibited.
  • Anyone can take a dip in the holy sarovar (pool of nectar) but use of soap or shampoo is not allowed.
  • The wet clothes may kindly be deposited in a Wet-Clothes-Room.
  • If you so desire, you can wash yourself with soap at the washrooms provided in the parikarma (periphery).
  • Swimming is strictly prohibited in the sarovar.
  • Do not accept eatables from strangers.
    These instructions are only precautionary, which are similar to any other religious/tourists place.
  • Photography is allowed only in the outer Parikarma. For special reasons permission for photography inside of The Golden Temple may be sought from the President/Sec. (SGPC) or Manager (Golden Temple).
  • Offerings in cash and kind are accepted in the Golden Temple.
  • Please get a receipt on offering donations for langar (community kitchen), building.
  • It is strictly prohibited to serve or eat any eatables in the Parikarma, or to loiter about with uncovered head.
  • It is not allowed to read or sell newspapers or play cards in the Parikarma.
  • Nobody can hold a religious congregation or deliver a lecture inside the Parikarma, unless permitted by SGPC.
  • Devotees should not pay any money to Sewadars on duty.
  • Please deposit your valuables including jewelry and cash at the counters provided for the same in the Sri Darbar Sahib complex.
  • Any complaint regarding any staff member / Sewadar / Management should be lodged at the office of Sri Harmandir Sahib located in the Parikarma near Darshni Deori and Ber Baba Budha Ji.
  • Karah-Prasad (holy offering) should be distributed only after one’s exit from the Sanctum Sanctorum. Its distribution on the bridge creates congestion which hampers the smooth movement of devotees.
  • Please do not take bath at Har Ki Paori.
  • If any infant happens to urinate in the Parikarma, please clean it immediately or inform the duty Sewadars about it.
  • Walk clockwise around the pool and temple on the wide marble walkway

FAQs on Amritsar

What is Amritsar known for?

Amritsar is known for its rich history, cultural heritage, and religious significance. It is home to the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine for the Sikh community.

What is the best time to visit Amritsar?

The best time to visit Amritsar is from October to March when the weather is pleasant and ideal for sightseeing.

What are the must-visit places in Amritsar?

The must-visit places in Amritsar include the Golden Temple, Jallianwala Bagh, Wagah Border, Durgiana Temple, and Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum.

How do I reach Amritsar?

Amritsar has its own international airport with regular flights from major cities. It is also well-connected by rail and road networks.

What is the significance of the Golden Temple?

The Golden Temple is the most sacred shrine for the Sikh community and attracts millions of devotees every year. It is known for its beautiful architecture, serene atmosphere, and the Langar (community kitchen) which serves free meals to people from all walks of life.

What is the history behind Jallianwala Bagh?

Jallianwala Bagh is a public garden in Amritsar where the infamous Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place in 1919. It is a memorial site that pays tribute to the innocent lives lost during the British rule in India.

Can I visit the Wagah Border during my Amritsar tour?

Yes, the Wagah Border is a popular attraction in Amritsar and visitors can attend the daily flag-lowering ceremony that takes place between India and Pakistan.

What is the best way to explore Amritsar?

The best way to explore Amritsar is by hiring a local guide who can give you insights into the city's history and culture. You can also rent a bike or take a walking tour to explore the city at your own pace.

Are there any food specialties in Amritsar?

Yes, Amritsar is known for its delicious food, especially its street food. Some must-try dishes include Amritsari kulcha, chole bhature, and lassi.

Is it safe for solo travelers to visit Amritsar?

Amritsar is generally a safe city for solo travelers. However, it is always advisable to take necessary precautions and be aware of your surroundings while traveling alone.
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