Amritsar is a dazzling city in the heart of Punjab that celebrates the vibrant colours and energy of life as we know it. Possessing immense strength, the people of Amritsar have fought injustice since time immemorial with unparalleled valour. Founded in the 16th century by Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh guru, Amritsar is graced with a divine presence that you will resonate with as soon as you set foot on the holy grounds of the city. Amritsar has witnessed some of the most significant events in history that rattled the nation to its very core, and changed the dynamics of the city forever. Today, this city presents a perfect fusion of history, culture, spirituality and modernity, and the places to visit in Amritsar highlight all these features. The warmth the city possesses is reflected in the smiling faces and hospitable nature of the locals. It doesn’t matter if you prefer stepping back in time or expose yourself to the heartious spirit of the locals; the places to visit in Amritsar provide you with an opportunity to experience it all.
Amritsar, amidst modernity, is a city that is deeply connected to its roots. The religious places to visit in Amritsar are all exceptionally peaceful that leave you with a sense of inner calm and a better understanding of the world around. This city is a melting pot of cultures and religions, where differences are embraced and celebrated. People from every corner of the world come to see these places to visit in Amritsar.
Harmandir Sahib or the Golden Temple
The Harmandir Sahib of Amritsar is the pride of not only Sikhs, but of the entire nation. The gold-plated exterior of this Gurdwara has earned it the name of the Golden Temple. Famed as one of the most arresting places to visit in Amritsar, the Golden Temple receives thousands of people every year. The gates of this gurdwara are open to everyone, irrespective of caste, creed or religion.
According to a popular legend, Guru Arjan Dev (the fifth Sikh Guru) urged his friend Pir Mian Mir to lay down the foundation stone of the Golden Temple. This legend shines a light on the foundation on which the Golden Temple was built—peace and communal harmony. . The city gets its name from the gleaming waterbody surrounding the Golden Temple. Amrit means immortal nectar and sar, means pond. Devotees come together to commit themselves to voluntary work or karsewa. This includes cooking meals, serving food and washing dishes among other things. Out of all the places to visit in Amritsar, the Golden Temple receives the maximum number of tourists – more than 50,000 – per day. The fame of the Golden Temple has made it synonymous with the city of Amritsar.
Durgiana Temple is an ancient temple in Amritsar dedicated to the goddess Durga. Modeled after the Golden Temple, Durgiana Temple is often called the Silver Temple because of its marble walls and huge silver doors. One of the most pious places to visit in Amritsar, Durgiana Temple should definitely be on your list.
When you are here, do not miss the detailed carvings of various incarnations of goddess Durga as well as the idols of Goddess Laxmi and Narayana. This temple also houses ancient shrines dedicated to Sita and Hanuman. The temple is surrounded by a pristine water body believed to wash away the sins of previous lives, and the ghat of this temple is always brimming with devotees waiting for their turn to take a dip in the holy water. The festivals Dussehra, Diwali, Ram Navami and Janmashtami are celebrated with much pomp and show here, so plan your holiday to this tourist place in Amritsar accordingly if you do not want to miss the festivities.
Situated in the bustling Hall Bazaar, the Khair-ud-Din Masjid stands tall with elegant dome and minarets. Not only is this mosque a showcase of architectural brilliance, but has also played a significant role in the struggle for independence. It is from this mosque that Shah Attaullah Bukhari beckoned the people of the city to come and wage a war against the British tyrants. This is one of those places to visit in Amritsar that has both religious and historical significance.
Built by Muhammad Khairuddin in 1876 AD, the mosque is also known as Jama Masjid. The beauty of its white marble structure is enhanced by splashes of green painted on the walls of this mosque. Adorned by inscriptions, Khair-ud-Din Masjid is a sight that instills a sense of peace and reverence. Undoubtedly, Khair-ud-Din Masjid is one of the most gorgeous places to visit in Amritsar.
Amritsar has braved and stood up against the tyrannies of various rulers. From the Chhota Ghallughara Massacre in 1762 to the more recent Jallianwala Bagh Tragedy in 1919, this city is a museum of stories and events of bygone days and the places to visit in Amritsar reflect that spirit.
There is no Indian who is not saddened by the tragic incident that took place at Jallianwala Bagh a hundred years ago. On 13th April 1919, a small gathering of people met at this garden to peacefully protest against the arrest of two prominent freedom fighters and were mercilessly shot at by the British Indian Army. Today, this park stands as a reminder of the brutality meted out by the British to the people of India. For years, Jallianwala Bagh has been one of the most frequented places to visit in Amritsar owing to its tragic history.
The walls of the buildings in the park feature bullet marks that serve as a reminder of the horrific incident that claimed innocent lives. The well that people jumped into to escape the bullets is well preserved. A visit to Jallianwala Bagh is a heartbreaking experience, and there are no other places to visit in Amritsar that narrate such a harrowing tale.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum
Maharaja Ranjit Singh ruled the northwestern part of India during the 19th century. His strength and prowess in the battlefield earned him the nickname ‘Lion of Punjab’. This Sikh ruler played a crucial role in bringing major reforms in Punjab, and had a huge hand in the unification of different religions under his governance. The Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum is an interesting attraction you can add to your list of places to visit in Amritsar if you intend to know more about the history of Punjab.
The summer retreat of Maharaja Ranjit Singh has been turned into a museum that houses ancient coins, records, swords, clothes and statues belonging to the valiant king. This historical place to visit in Amritsar takes you back in time as you admire the paintings on display featuring the city of Lahore, portraits, and battles fought by the king. An afternoon in this museum is an afternoon well spent for you will surely gain a lot of insight into the culture and history of this mighty state.
Almost 260 years old, the Gobindgarh Fort was built by Gujar Singh Bhangi, a local chieftain, and was later taken over by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. This place was recognised as a historical site by the Government of Punjab in 1964. There are many intriguing and entertaining places to visit in Amritsar, but Gobindgarh Fort is possibly the best of them all.
The Gobindgarh Fort hosts a number of exhibitions and houses a few museums. Out of them, the Turban Museum is one of the prime attractions that make this place such a sought-after tourist place in Amritsar. A number of paintings depicting Sikh history, religion and culture are on display here. You can learn about the Indian struggle for independence and the subsequent partition of the nation from the museum. Visitors gather here everyday to watch the Light and Sound Show and the Laser Show. When you are here, do not miss out on the 7-D show on the life of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The entire presentation is a very mesmerising experience. End your day of exploring the places to visit in Amritsar with an authentic Punjabi dinner in one of the restaurants nearby.
The city has a lot to offer in addition to the iconic historical and religious sites that you can add to your places to visit in Amritsar itinerary. Visiting these landmarks will definitely be a memorable and enjoyable experience. It is only after dropping by these tourist places in Amritsar can you return home with a suitcase full of pleasant memories!
There is a certain amount of emotions attached to Wagah Border that bring people from all over the country to this remarkable place to visit in Amritsar. Wagah Border is the line that divides India and Pakistan. It is through this border that people migrated to Pakistan after the Partition of India in 1947.
Wagah Border is one of the most popular tourist places in Amritsar, and not just for its historical significance. The Wagah Border Change of Guard ceremony is attended by people from all parts of India. In this ceremony, two guards from both nations put up a cordial competition where they raise their legs in a kicking motion as high as they can, much to the amusement of the spectators. This goes on for a while before the flags of both India and Pakistan are pulled back and the border is closed for the day. You would love to take a seat in the bleachers, which are filled with enthusiastic Indians who cheer, dance and rejoice. Bursting with life and energy, Wagah Border is one of the most thrilling places to visit in Amritsar, and the memories made here will surely stay with you for the rest of your life.
Khalsa College is one of the oldest colleges in Amritsar, set up to protect and promote the culture and heritage of Punjab. This 127-year-old college continues to be a seat of learning and reform where the primary focus is to eradicate social evils through education. A pioneer in its field, Khalsa College is one of the most academically prestigious places to visit in Amritsar.
Occupying 300 acres of land, Khalsa College is a treat to the eyes with its red-sandstone exterior and bright red domes, a stunning example of the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. The green garden out front provides a wonderful contrast to this red-walled building. It is one of those remarkable places to visit in Amritsar that have been featured in a number of Bollywood movies. If you plan on spending your morning here, you would need permission from the authorities.
Places to visit in Amritsar: Markets
Market places to visit in Amritsar are always abuzz with life and activity. No other destination in your list of places to visit in Amritsar will give you a better peek into the lifestyle of the locals than the markets tucked away in the lanes of this city. Bubbling with various sights, smells and sounds, the markets in this city are ideal spots to learn more about its culture.
With numerous shops selling a multitude of colourful items, Hall Bazaar is a dream come true for shopaholics. There is nothing you cannot find here—from readymade garments, ornaments, bags and jewellery to electronics, watches and books. One of the oldest places to visit in Amritsar for a quality shopping experience, some of the shops here have been operating for years and through generations. Due to the experience of the shopkeepers, you’ll have to polish your bargaining skills before coming here.
The entrance to the bazaar is through the Gandhi Gate, a Mughal-style entrance gate where you can get a clear view of the rushing crowds. A visit to Hall Bazaar is incomplete without checking out its spread of woollen carpets, blankets, and shawls. We suggest buying the trendy Lahori shoes which won’t be too hard to spot. Among all the places to visit in Amritsar, Hall Bazaar has the best phulkari-work suits (phulkari is a traditional Punjabi design of embroidery).
One of the oldest places to visit in Amritsar, Guru Bazaar is a jewellery lover’s paradise. Wedged between Guru ka Mahal and the Golden Temple, Guru Bazaar is a gleaming corner selling authentic gold and silver jewellery.
This jewellery market is frequented by hundreds, but is especially loved by women, owing to the various types of earrings, necklaces and bangles—gold, silver, or studded with semi-precious stones. There are more than 2500 shops selling not only jewellery but other fascinating items like earthen lamps and idols of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Laxmi. Hall Bazaar is one of the only places to visit in Amritsar where you can buy Jadau jewellery, which is made by using a traditional Indian jewellery-making technique.
Lahori Gate Market
Lahori Gate is a city landmark adjacent to a dynamic market where tourists and locals crowd day and night. Packed with shops, showrooms and hotels, the enthusiasm and vibrancy of Lahori Gate Market is a spectacular sight. Shoppers can find the best cotton suits, Kashmiri shawls and footwear in this amazing place to visit in Amritsar without burning a hole in their pockets.
The world drools over the butter-laden, spicy and aromatic dishes that Punjab has to offer. The places to visit in Amritsar for culinary delights offer an assortment of dishes that are guaranteed to fill your tummy and satisfy your soul.
Kesar Da Dhaba
More than a hundred years old, Kesar Da Dhaba is no doubt the best place to visit in Amritsar if you wish to taste authentic Punjabi food. Originally established in Pakistan, Kesar Da Dhaba moved to Amritsar after partition, and brought with it the delightful taste of kulcha, paratha, lassi, choley and palak paneer. Many famous personalities such as Lala Lajpat Rai and Indira Gandhi have dined at Kesar da Dhaba.
Despite being located in a small lane with a simple exterior, you will be able to find Kesar Da Dhaba effortlessly with the help of locals. We suggest going there as early as possible to secure a seat, because the queue gets longer as the day progresses. One taste of the delectable Malai Kofta or Dal Makhani, and you will know why Kesar da Dhaba is the most ionic place to visit in Amritsar. The deliciousness of the rich buttery Lachha Paratha is a guaranteed ticket to food paradise.
Gurdas Ram Jalebi Wala
If you happen to be a sweet lover, then this place will be nothing short of heaven to you. Easy to access and easier on the pockets, this shop is possibly one of the ‘sweetest’ places to visit in Amritsar. You will need to wait for your turn because this place is one of the most crowded sweet shops in the city. Situated near the Golden Temple, this outlet has been serving jalebi for more than a hundred years. Also famous for gulab jamun, the taste of these sugary delights will compel you to momentarily forget the world around you. Take a bite of a hot and crispy jalebi, and end your day of touring the places to visit in Amritsar on a sweet note.
Written by Baishali Dutta, an in-house Tripoto writer.
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