Amritsar is a warm-hearted city in the state of Punjab. Generosity and friendly faces is a quality that this city has in abundance, which adds to the beauty of traveling here. Trust us, it won't be long before an act of kindness happens to you when you visit here.
So as you experience this welcoming energy, here are the 6 of the most interesting things to do in Amritsar, the Golden City.
The Golden Temple is a site of spiritual significance for Sikhs that welcomes lakhs of people from different religious backgrounds. There’s a soothing calmness and sense of inner peace that tags along when you visit here. The beauty of the temple and the atmosphere it projects is one of a kind.
Service to others is very important in the Sikh community. That’s why within the temple lies the world’s largest community kitchen going by the name ‘Langar’.
Here thousands of people are fed regardless of their religion for FREE, making it a generous temple truly with a heart of gold. When you visit, make sure you try the meals here that claim to not just feed the stomach but the soul as well.
A few things you should be mindful of when you visit is keeping your head covered at all times. Women can use a scarf while men can drape a turban in the traditional Sikh way outside the temple. Make sure your attire is courteous and take off your footwear before stepping inside.
You also have to always stay in line. If you wish to deal with smaller queues, you’d have to sacrifice some sleep as the crowds are less late at night until around 4 am. Even so, the temple is beautifully lit after sundown, which makes it a great trade-off!
Also Read: Amritsar Travel Guide
Before the partition in 1947, the cities Amritsar and Lahore were both part of the Indian state of Punjab. But after years of Indo-Pak Wars, the cities were tragically separated.
Now, 32 miles is the distance that isolates Amritsar (India) from the Pakistani city of Lahore. The distance keeps them apart but these two cities share a common history that ties them together in emotion. The exact line that divides these cities and as a result, both India and Pakistan, is the Wagah-Attari Border.
Today, this is a tourist attraction where thousands come to see the Beating Retreat Ceremony that takes place in the evening. The well-choreographed, colorful ceremony performed by soldiers from both countries is spectacular to see. The crowds from both sides cheer on the soldiers parading and the atmosphere quickly becomes similar to that of a sports stadium.
The ceremony here is mainly to acknowledge that even though rivals there was a loaded brotherhood that was once shared between the two. As military members from both countries partake in the ceremony, a message of peacekeeping and mutual respect manifests.
Also Read: Visiting The Golden Temple In Amritsar
Jallianwala Bagh is at a walking distance from the Golden Temple and is a place of national importance. On April 13th, 1919 a huge massacre took place here. Roughly 1,000 people lost their lives as the British troops led by Major General Dyer opened fire on a mix of protesters, common men, women and even children that had peacefully gathered at the park.
The exit was blocked, making it almost impossible to escape the firing. The troop didn’t stop firing until their ammunition was over. This incident increased the pace of the nationalist movements in India.
It shook the nation and brought to light the brutality to which the British Raj were ready to go for any disobedience. The massacre had a huge impact on the psyche of Indians.
When you visit you can still see the bullet holes on the walls and it can send a chill down your spine. There is a well at the memorial park too in which people jumped in while trying to flee from the firing. You can pay a visit to the museum here to read and understand more about the tragic incident that took place here.
Want to get a whole candid idea of what Amritsar really is? Then head straight into the chaos of its Old Walled City, also called Old Amritsar. Here you’ll find local markets and heritage buildings that have been watching over the city for over a hundred years.
The old city is noisy, colorful, and chaotic. It’s best to explore this particular place on foot because you’re going to pass through several narrow lanes and interesting neighborhoods.
When you’re not familiar with the place, it can get complicated to make the most of your time in Old Amritsar. If that’s a major concern for you, we recommend registering for a heritage walk to explore the Old Walled City.
Here is also a short list of sites definitely get a glimpse of as you wander old passages in the city:
This is a military fortress that sits right in the middle of the old city. It’s a good base point from where you can venture to explore more of Amritsar’s grand past.
This is a must-visit place in Amritsar for any history buff who really wants to learn more about the Partition of India. Within the Town Hall, you’ll find a Partition Museum where you’ll find loads of historical material to browse over.
A memorial that was built by the British in tribute to the Sikh soldiers that lost their lives in the Battle of Saragarhi. The place is clean, neat and peaceful.
Baba Bohar At Bartan Bazaar (Utensil Market)
A century-old banyan tree that’s occupying place in the middle of the street. Besides the tree, this lane is very interesting to explore the daily street life of people in the old city.
This is a market street filled with mayhem and street stalls selling the best of jalebis (you guessed that, didn’t you?)
It’s very much possible to get lost when exploring these by-lanes, so going on a walk with fellow explorers is the best way to see the Old City.
Your trip to Amritsar will remain incomplete until you try some of the scrumptious meals the city has to offer. Punjabi meals don’t shy away from using dollops of ghee and butter, so you’re in for a very heavy meal.
For traditional meals, you must go to a dhaba (eatery that serves local food) which will pass your sight nearly in every direction you go in Amritsar.
When it’s time to order, here are the top things you should treat yourself to:
Usually served in a huge steel glass, lassi is the most famous drink to have in Amritsar. It’s a drink created out of blending yoghurt (complements your food way better than any fizzy drink other aerated drink). Ideally, have it after your meal as it helps with digestion.
Kulcha is a soft flatbread that’s drizzled with butter and ghee. You’ll have to eat this along with a gravy dish. Take it from us that Punjabi Chole (chickpea dish) and Kulcha make a great combination.
Maa Ki Dal (Mother’s Lentils)
This is a properly warm and homely dish to try in Amritsar. The meal is made out of whole black grams and has generous amounts of ghee in it.
For dessert when you don’t know what to pick, blindly go for jalebi! We promise you won’t be disappointed. It’s a sweet that’s crunchy and bright orange in color, made of flour and sugar syrup.
Also Read: Experiencing The Food In Amritsar
We suggest you come to the city with a light bag, because there’s a lot to look out for when you’re shopping in Amritsar. Here are the best places you should check out:
One of the oldest marketplaces in Amritsar that’s super close to the Golden Temple. This is your go-to place for food, footwear and delicate handicrafts.
Guru Bazaar is known for its collection of jewelry stores. You’ll find unique pieces that resonate with the culture of Punjab, so make you scan this place for earrings, necklaces and much more.
Trilium is a 6-storey mall in Amritsar where you can shop for designer brands. It’s way more pricey than street shopping but it’s a relaxing environment to hang out.
What To Buy In Amritsar?
Lastly, make sure you also shop for some of the positive energy this city has to offer as you explore it! These were just a few of the things to do in Amritsar. Keep your ears to the ground, have an adventurous spirit and you’ll discover some hidden gems too!
Why Should We Visit Amritsar?
Amritsar is home to the Golden Temple which has the same amount of obsession as the Taj Mahal. Visiting this spiritual temple is one of a kind experience and can bring a newfound feeling of inner peace.
The other reason you should definitely visit Amritsar is the homely rich meals that nourish the soul. Lassi, butter chicken, chole puri, kulfa ice cream, and jalebi are a few iconic dishes to try.
How Many Days Are Enough For Amritsar?
Ideally, 3 days is a must for Amritsar so that you can do your sightseeing at a slow pace. If your sole purpose is to see the Golden Temple then 2 nights should also work.
What Can I Buy In Amritsar?
Juttis (colorful leather shoes), Phulkari (scarves with embroidery work) and bright jewelry are the best items to shop for in Amritsar. Jaggery and dry fruits are another popular purchase.
Which Month Is Best For Amritsar?
Any time between November and March is a great time to visit Amritsar as it’s cool and pleasant to explore. The Amritsar summer heat can be unbearable for many and hence is best avoided.
Are Jeans Allowed In Golden Temple Amritsar?
The Golden Temple is a place of religious importance to Sikhs and generally visitors avoid wearing modern attire but instead go for modest traditional looks. Leather tight jeans might not be allowed simply because it’s not a sober look.
Is Amritsar In Pakistan?
Amritsar is located about 25 km east from the Pakastani border, meaning that it's not situated in Pakistan.
Are Mobile Phones Allowed In The Golden Temple?
Mobile phones are not allowed in the Golden Temple, but you can keep them in the locker provided by the temple till the time you finish.
How Far Is Amritsar From Chandigarh By Road?
Amritsar is around 228 km from Chandigarh by road.