End of November this year we had a 5 day public holiday due to ‘National Day’ here in Dubai, UAE and this time we planned a holiday not to a foreign country but our motherland India. Amritsar was on our travel bucket list since forever and we finally made it to this bustling city.
It was our first time in Amritsar and the direct Air India Express flight from Dubai to Amritsar was convenient. The flight duration was 3 hours. There are couple of other airlines that fly directly to Amritsar from UAE.
As we are Indian passport holders, we didn’t have to bother about the visa. But all foreign nationals entering India are required to possess a passport with a valid visa from an Indian mission/post or eVisa.
Amritsar is a city situated in the northwestern state of Punjab in India. It is about 28 kilometers away from border with Pakistan.
Amritsar is the largest and most important city in Punjab. It is a major commercial, cultural and transportation hub. Home of the glorious Golden Temple, Amritsar is the religious centre for Sikhs.
We stayed in Amritsar for 3 days and 4 nights which was more than enough to explore the city.
When is the best time to visit Amritsar?
November till March is the best time to visit Amritsar as the weather is pleasant during that period. December and January can get pretty cold so it is better to carry jackets and shawls.
Where to stay?
Whether it is 5 star accommodation or mid-range and budget hotels, Amritsar offers many options. We stayed at the conveniently located and modern Hyatt Regency.
Amritsar is a small city and getting around the city is easy. Using an auto rickshaw or pre-paid taxi is the best bet. Uber is unreliable.
Things to do in Amritsar
1 We did a guided Heritage Walk and explored the narrow streets and by lanes of the 400 year old city and took in the sights, sounds and smells of the city.
2 The Golden Temple also known as Darbar Sahib and Harmandir Sahib is a Gurudwara located in Amritsar. It is the most-holiest Gurudwara and an important pilgrimage site of Sikhism. Golden Temple is not only a central religious place of the Sikhs, but also a symbol of human brotherhood and equality. Everybody irrespective of caste, creed or race can seek spiritual solace.
3 Every day the Golden Temple serves more than 50,000 free meals made in their communal kitchen/Langar to whoever shows up. Do visit the communal kitchen and experience how the volunteers help make meals and definitely try the Langar food.
4 Jallianwala Bagh is a historic garden and a memorial. The memorial is dedicated to the thousands of unarmed Indian people who were brutally massacred by the British troops in 1919 when India was under British rule.
5 Partition Museum is not to be missed when visiting Amritsar. The museum is housed in the historic Town Hall building. It is the first-ever museum in the entire world to focus on the stories and trauma of millions who had to suffer from the consequences of a ruthless partition.
6 Wagah Border is the crucial point between India and Pakistan. It is 22 kms from Lahore, Pakistan and 28 kms from Amritsar, India. The Wagah Border Ceremony started in 1959 to formally close the border for the night and take-off the national flag of both nations. The ceremony is done daily before sunset on both the sides of the border.
7 Go on a Village Tour away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Enjoy the lush greenery, farming, witness local tradition and rural beauty of Amritsar.
8 Enjoy Shopping in the local markets and bazaars in Amritsar. Buy handicrafts, jewelry, masalas, pickles, garnements, books and more. I loved shopping for the beautiful Phulkari duppatas, Phulkari salwar suits and Punjabi juttis.
9 Amritsar is known for its rich culinary heritage. We enjoyed the Street Food there. All our days started with Amritsari Kulche , Chole and Lassi. Visit to Brothers Da Dabba, Kesar Dabba and Kulchaland is recommended.
Additionally you can also visit Durgiana Temple, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum and Gurudwara Baba Atal Rai Sahib Ji if you have time. The local people are friendly and helpful. We loved our first trip to Amritsar, a city of culture, history and spirituality.