Amritsar, a holy city and a pilgrimage spot for the Sikhs - is home to the 'Harmandir Sahib' (commonly known as the Golden Temple). This important Sikh shrine, attracts more visitors than the 'Taj Mahal'. With more than 100,000 visitors on weekdays alone it is the most popular destination for Non-Resident Indians (NRI) in the whole of India. The city is known for its rich cuisine, Punjabi culture and for the unfortunate Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919 under British Rule.
Amritsar is truly full of surprises; there's always something new and exciting at every street-corner. All you have to do is take that turn!
Things to NOT miss when you're in Amritsar.
#1 The Golden Temple should be your top priority
Visit this temple and eat in the world's largest free kitchen. A place where you're sure to go into a trance. Words don't convey the beauty of the Golden Temple.
"It's not the air nor the holy water which binds us but a special aura weaving the threads of peace in each and every piece of matter present there."
The temple has been built with four doors to show that people of all religions are welcome.
#2 Jallianwala Bagh
Visit the 'Jallianwala Bagh' and pay homage to one of the saddest events in India's recent political history. For those who are not aware, on 13th April 1919 (which was also the festival of Baisakhi), people gathered at the 'Jallianwala Bagh' to for a peaceful protest. On the order of the British General Dyer, the troops fired at the crowd for ten minutes, resulting in the death of about 1000 people and injuring an equal number. To save themselves, people resorted to jumping into a nearby well and it is said that 120 bodies were recovered from the well after the massacre- a solemn event that had far-reaching repercussions.
#3 Wagah Border
Wagah Border Ceremony: The Borders We Choose.
Every evening, for a brief moment, the at-conflict nations of India and Pakistan are unified in an epic and intricate dance-off at their shared border in Wagah. This ‘Beating Retreat’ border ceremony is one of the most witnessed military ceremonies in the world and attracts crowds from both the sides of the border, and international tourists. When in India, this is one show not-to-be missed.
Okay! Enough of borders, history and temples. Let's get to the belly of Amritsar... it's FOOD! A true foodie can spend days in this land of Ghee and Butter. You must indulge in all these places for the most memorable, gastronomical journey!
#1 Guru Ka Langar
Free 'Langars' are served at all Sikh Gurudwaras in the world, usually on Sundays. But the 'Langar' at the Golden Temple is special indeed! On average a 100 Quintals of Wheat Flour, 25 Quintals of Cereals, 10 Quintals of Rice, 5000 Litres of Milk, 10 Quintals of Sugar and 5 Quintals of Pure Ghee is per day! Over a 100 L.P.G. Gas Cylinders are used to prepare these fresh meals from scratch. 100’s of devotees render their services to the kitchen.
Any opportunity to serve or volunteer your skills; People from all walks of life can share food together without any discrimination.
#2 Kesar Da Dhaba
Out here, you'll get the Best 'Laccha Paranthas' and Butter Naan! Super flaky and buttery, the combination of Dal Makhni and Laccha Parantha is to-die-for. This is your go-to place to tantalise your tastebuds with Indian 'Desi Khana'. Come back for seconds!
#3 Makhan Fish & Chicken Corner
This small and yet so hyped eating joint is famous for it's Fried Fish, Tandoori Chicken and Butter Chicken! Anyone and everyone who lives in Amritsar or has been to Amritsar can guide you to this restaurant and it is a major Amritsar landmark.
#4 Kanha Sweets
Chhole Puri at Kanha Sweets, Lawrence Road.
Poori. Chole. Lassi. Missing this is a crime! Their 'Thali' comprising of balloon-like Puris, sharply flavoured sweet potato curry, Chhole and Pickles. Try it and you'll know what I'm talking about. It's only served for breakfast between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., but the sweets counter remains opens to 10 p.m.
#5 Bhai Kulwant Singh Kulcha walian
This place is a veritable 'Heaven for Foodies!' Amazingly thin and super-crispy kulchas straight from coal-fired 'Tandoor' to your plate! Delicioso! This is the best Indian Street food to have when you're in Punjab/Amritsar.
#6 Ahuja Lassi
A glass full of Lassi (buttermilk) topped with a big chunk of creamy 'Malai' . This beverage is known to be the "Best Lassi In India" and that's not without a reason! Don't count calories, just drink up!
Amritsar is a city where the richest and the poorest live side by side; it is a city that exemplifies secularity and people from different communities and religions living together. It has been said that " In Amritsar there is only love and no discrimination."
An eye-opening experience and a culinary treat- Amritsar is a city like no-other. Whenever you go, this place will make you feel at home.
Hope I haven't missed out on anything, let me know in the comments below if I have! Enjoyed the post? Book your tickets to Amritsar ASAP!