This trip for me was a period of absolute joy and delight. Experiencing the best of people, food, culture and comfort, this was sincerely worth all the efforts. From the systematically planned city of Chandigarh to witnessing the patriotic ceremony at the Wagah Border, it surpassed all my expectations.
I started my journey to Wagah Border from New Delhi, stopping at big cities and quaint towns along the way. Our stops before getting to Wagah were Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Amritsar.
Punjab is famous for the warmth of its people. The locals are some of the most generous you'll ever come across and will make you feel at home. They epitomize the meaning of living life king-size and make you a part of their kingdom. It is also a historically rich state, with countless stories about the Indian freedom struggle. Stories writ stark on people's minds and faces, impossible to forget but equally impossible to remember without a sense of pride.
New Delhi was the starting point of my journey. For those of you who haven't ventured into the capital yet, Delhi has a lot to offer in terms of sightseeing, food, shopping, hanging out, clubbing etc. Surrender yourself to the chaotic blend of sights, sounds and smells. A few places you must visit here are - Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Qutab Minar, India Gate, Janpath, Khan Market, Greater Kailash, Hauz Khas Village.
Chandigarh emerged as the first planned city in India post-independence. It serves as the capital of two states - Punjab and Haryana. The city is immaculate and transcends a very calm vibe. High level of law and order can be observed at every loop and corner. Famous spots here would be the Sector-17 Market, Sukhna Lake, Rock Garden. It has plenty of options when it comes to hotels, I stayed at Aloft which is located on the Ambala - Chandigarh Expressway.
The biggest city in Punjab, Ludhiana is located about 100km away from Chandigarh. The city is divided into two parts: Old City and New City. The state's industrial hub, the city is sometimes also called the Manchester of Punjab. The people are very welcoming and the food would definitely titillate your taste buds. Finding accommodation here is not an issue. I stayed at Ivory Retreat, a 3-star property located at Pakhowal Road, Opposite Rivera Resort, Ludhiana.
Jalandhar is the oldest city in Punjab and is about 61km ahead of Ludhiana. The famous Haveli Restaurant has some of the most delicious North Indian cuisine. Another thing I really enjoyed here was the Wonderland Waterpark. The Science Center is also an interesting stop, especially if you traveling with kids. In Jalandhar, I stayed at Hotel Residency, Garha Road.
Distance between Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar is about 59km. It may not be the first place you would want to explore in Punjab but it certainly has its own importance. Hoshiarpur is a historically important for Sikhs with notable Gurus hailing from the city. The city also boasts of famous celebrities that call it home. It is also famously known as the 'City of Mangoes'.I stayed at Hotel President on the Police Line Road.
Personally, I would suggest to start exploring Amritsar by first visiting the glittering Golden Temple. The Harmandir Sahib commonly known as the Golden Temple is a prominent Sikh Gurdwara. It has been deliberately built at a level lower than that of the neighboring land in order to teach the lesson of equality and humility. The shrine can be accessed from all four directions signifying that people belonging to every walk of life are equally welcome. Another very important landmark is the Jalianwala Bagh. The site is famous for the memorial of the martyrs of the 1919 carnage carried out by British General Dyer. I stayed right opposite the Golden Temple, at Hotel CJ International.
Wagah, on the Indo-Pakistan border, is 28 km from Amritsar and visiting it was a moment of pride. Numerous visitors come to see the ceremonial change of guards and the flag hoisting and lowering activities done skillfully and with precision by the border security forces of both the countries. It is interesting to note that border security forces of both India and Pakistan undergo the elaborate ceremony jointly. It is a moment that generates patriotic fervor for any Indian.
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