How To Visit Everything In Amritsar Under 24 Hours When You're Broke

Tripoto
10th Aug 2018
Photo of How To Visit Everything In Amritsar Under 24 Hours When You're Broke by Mayank Pathak

Want to travel but have no money and time? You don't need that week off to see something new, or that six figure bank balance. Read on to how you can hit Amritsar, and everything the checklist says within 24 hours and less than two thousand rupees!

Day 1

It was a spontaneous decision on a rainy Friday, little did we know at that time we'd be going from 14°C to 34°C the next day. Two of us, me and my friend finalized the weekend getaway but were perplexed between Delhi or Amritsar. We boarded the bus to Chandigarh from Shimla at around 8pm still undecided of the destination. Fortunately, the bus was on a long route operating right from Shimla and all the way to Delhi, for a mere 420INR.

We had thoughts of touring Delhi and capturing it's magnificent architecture and culture, tempting us to buy a ticket straight to the destination itself rather than the stoppage. However after abit of discussions and glancing through the headlines, finding the plan somewhat weak and our budget a bit low , we decided to hit Amritsar. With a shoestring budget, and 24 hours and a day's worth of travel in our hands before the university re-opens, we set off.

After taking our initial bus from Shimla to Chandigarh, we reached the sector 17 bus stand at a quarter past 11. An A/C bus to sector 43 offered respite from the warm winds and loo we faced after descending Parwanoo. It was almost 12 by the time we booked our tickets for the direct overnight bus to Amritsar. The tickets costed us around 275INR per person, note that the bus was ordinary. Unfortunately I had the thought of getting chilled water bottles for the journey, a decision that made me sprint 50m in an Usain Bolt like fashion only to hear unhappy wordings by the drivers.

So off we went on an overnight journey, our luggage stacked conveniently in neat corners. We took turns for the window seat and ate patties at the dhaba at a stopover. The following morning did not leave us fresh and rejuvenated as there was barely any shuteye in the entire journey. I guess it is someone's job to switch off passenger lights in the bus at night, is it not?

No time like now in the monsoon season eh?

Photo of Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India by Mayank Pathak
Day 2

Reaching Amritsar in the wee hours of twilight, we stretched out our limbs. Not having any idea of the city and being bombarded by auto-walas and hotel-walas simultaneously while being sleep deprived did not fare as a good experience. We wanted a sunrise click so were on the look out for a favorable spot. Fortunately, an auto driver approached us, whom we earlier ignored, agreed to drop us off to the entrance of the Golden Temple - JB Area for a mere 10INR. We agreed and felt the last bits of cool winds hit our face as the auto went zig zag through the narrow lanes of Amritsar town. For a town, Amritsar was a morning bird. On our swift auto ride, we could notice vendors setting up their shops, devotees going to pray, people wrapped tightly into their blankets catching what was left of their sleep.

Upon reaching the center, I was instantly attracted to the architecture and the cleanliness of the place. Everything from the tiled blocks beneath out feet to the banners above shops of different kinds, they had the same design-font. Most of the construction being very detailed in it's architecture and symmetrical in it's nature gave us a glimpse to the rich bloody past of the very region we were walking on. The town had a very aesthetic feel, with the sky slowly turning pink and people sleeping on the street twisting in disagreement to the rising temperature and humidity. We freshened up, deposited our bags and shoes as were the instructions and decided to hit the big gem first ; The Golden Temple. Oh and that sunrise click I was talking about? It took place HERE.

Amritsar in the wee hours of twilight, and us in sleep deprivation

Photo of Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Magnificent lights outside the Golden Temple can brighten anyone's dull day!

Photo of Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

The vibrance of the town itself is quite fascinating!

Photo of Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Nothing like some Amritsar Kulfi to beat the heat!

Photo of Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Goods and services, more goods and services

Photo of Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

A friendly bed

Photo of Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Lights around Golden Temple are quite spooky before dawn

Photo of Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Mc.Donalds is whole new level of aesthetic. However, out of budget for this one.

Photo of Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

A glimpse of the market near Golden Temple

Photo of Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

A day in the life of A M B A R S A R

Photo of Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Statues of historical figures are made in exceptional detail!

Photo of Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

A couple preparing to go to Gurudwara after waking up

Photo of Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

More art and culture, this is particular is known and Gidda dance

Photo of Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Find something you like? (I know they said no photography :P )

Photo of Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

It was a pleasant experience to roam about the river and photograph the magnificent Golden Temple at a time when it was the least crowded. People from all walks of life dotted the place, offering respite from the monotony of routine life and broadening our perceptions. Again, the architecture deserves a special mention. Of both the temple itself as well as the surrounding buildings. The entire place was exceptionally maintained for cleanliness with facilities such as running water tub for washing feet before entering the compound. We found a lone tile with Urdu wordings, and were wondering who could decipher it...maybe it's still a mystery, yet. I managed to get a couple of good shots as well as a golden moment on video. Tired and sleepy, we decided to head off to the Gurudwara section and drank a bowl of Tea in the hope that it will carry us forward through the day. Also, for those who do not know, Golden Temple serves free food all day so, well you're welcome!

Here's how the lunch at Golden Temple looks like!

Photo of Golden Temple Road, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Sail away? No this boat runs at particular times only.

Photo of Golden Temple Road, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

More construction going around the Golden Temple

Photo of Golden Temple Road, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Early morning splash!

Photo of Golden Temple Road, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Glimmering beauty

Photo of Golden Temple Road, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Our attempt to be creative!

Photo of Golden Temple Road, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Architecture over anything

Photo of Golden Temple Road, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

A comfortable home?

Photo of Golden Temple Road, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Eyes of devotion

Photo of Golden Temple Road, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

In your devotion..

Photo of Golden Temple Road, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Profound detailing is a treat to the observing

Photo of Golden Temple Road, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Ever pleasing view

Photo of Golden Temple Road, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

The breakfast at the Golden Temple, a bowlful of tea

Photo of Golden Temple Road, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Skies like us make it worth losing ourselves in..

Photo of Golden Temple Road, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Volunteer participation for the meal preparing at Golden Temple

Photo of Golden Temple Road, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Fresh and about to be ready!

Photo of Golden Temple Road, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Women hard at work

Photo of Golden Temple Road, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

The man making rotis

Photo of Golden Temple Road, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

The only tile we found with Urdu written on it, anyone knows what does it mean?

Photo of Golden Temple Road, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Sunrise has never been so pretty

Photo of Golden Temple Road, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Next on the list was obviously the Jallianwala Bagh, so we picked back our stuff and headed in that direction. This location is a piece of history as it was the site to bloodshed of thousands of Indians by the British. So it was important to pay our respects to those heroes who gave up their life for the nation today. The entry was a small narrow street surrounded by armies of pigeons sitting on window sills and poles. An interesting area of this Bagh was the Death-Well, where the people jumped and gave up their lives. A wall marking the specific areas where the bullet had hit was also a thing to see. Again, like all things in Amritsar, this region was also very neat and clean. Kudos to the people as well as the MC. Having one last look at the everlasting flame that was at the entrance of the Bagh, we closed our camera shutters. After a brief moment of realizing the importance of the place, we finished our visit. Oh and yeah about this time we realized that we almost forgot a really good umbrella at Golden Temple and had to go back again. It was found. Fortunately.

Welcome to Jallianwala Bagh

Photo of Jallianwala Bagh Memorial, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

This narrow street entrance takes us to Jallianwala Bagh

Photo of Jallianwala Bagh Memorial, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

The architecture and construction that stood the test of time

Photo of Jallianwala Bagh Memorial, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

What you immediately see after entering the Jallianwala Bagh

Photo of Jallianwala Bagh Memorial, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

This fire at Jallianwala Bagh is a tribute to the sacrifice of hundreds, it never goes out.

Photo of Jallianwala Bagh Memorial, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Ancient buildings still standing tall

Photo of Jallianwala Bagh Memorial, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

The walk

Photo of Jallianwala Bagh Memorial, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

More pigeons for the thought

Photo of Jallianwala Bagh Memorial, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

About the 'Death Well'

Photo of Jallianwala Bagh Memorial, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Entrance of the Jallianwala Bagh

Photo of Jallianwala Bagh Memorial, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Garden of the Jallianwala Bagh

Photo of Jallianwala Bagh Memorial, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Signboard

Photo of Jallianwala Bagh Memorial, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

More pigeons watching your every move!

Photo of Jallianwala Bagh Memorial, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Vegetation overlooking a historical battleground

Photo of Jallianwala Bagh Memorial, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

The pigeons have a way about making everything about them!

Photo of Jallianwala Bagh Memorial, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

The pretty trees that surrounded the entire area!

Photo of Jallianwala Bagh Memorial, Jallan Wala Bagh, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Now with the sun above our heads, humidity soaring higher than my senior secondary percentage. Weather was cloudy with a chance of boiling. We knew we needed something refreshing. But first, suns cream. After spoiling ourselves with thick layers of suns cream, our resort from the heat was a delicious Kulfi. We weren't feeling like eating anything so we skipped a proper lunch for now. The Gurudwara offered us a light lunch though, made of Kali daal and chapati which we eat for energy. Chalking out our next course of action, we decided on completing the checklist tourism we were opting for so far by going to the Wagah border.

Now here's where I can give you my advice, do not take an auto to the Wagah Border. Period. Why? They are painfully slow, the drivers stuff 8 people into one auto (yup), plain uncomfortable. If you still want to book an auto do not pay more than 150 per person to the border and back. After a rather uncomfortable journey on an auto (you guessed it) and an overpriced meal just because hunger decided to hit us when we were halting at a touristy dhaba, we reached the border.

From the auto stand it was about a kilometers walk to the entrance, we could see the sign of 'Lahore 23km' in the distance which really brought us back to the fact that we were very close to Pakistan at that point. After reaching the entrance at about 3 only, we decided not to buy anything except water bottles. The gates were to open half past 3 to 4. It was our good luck that the water vendor notified us of the useless act of standing first in the line as there are plenty of seats in the stadium (even the good ones) so it did not sense to stand in the scorching sun for hours for that. The crowd, initially huge when lining up, now thinned out and we decided it was time we make the shift.

After a slew of stringent security checkups for obvious reasons we reached the entrance of the stadium which spelled INDIA in a grand fashion. You can only take camera and water bottles with you, rest all will be confiscated. Remember, you don't need to buy everything in the beginning only. Outside the stadium gates are several vendors and BSF shops selling eatables, souvenirs and water. So better not listen to anyone who says they are not, it is just a common money making trip.

Found ourselves the best seats we thought are there, geared ourselves for the long wait of 2 hours in the burning heat of the afternoon. Since it was a weekend, we saw the crowd increase minute by minute until the stadium was not much shy of it's comfortable full capacity. Nevertheless, the enthusiasm and eagerness within them was never ending! Soon, the program started and the crowd roared to the instructor's signs and patriotic songs which were constantly playing in the background. I, however, sometimes drifted away and glanced over to the other side, a boy with just one leg was performing marches back and forth. It was very interesting and different, contrary to civilians running with the Indian national flag on this side.

The ceremony took a good hour and closed majestically with the flags coming down for the day. And as they, descended from the greatness of their history and past and into the darkness of the night. We knew it was time, we had completed a complete day in Amritsar. Sweating and exhausted beyond belief, I found myself dangerously dozing by the window seat of the auto up until we reached Amritsar.

Sunset setting over Lahore skies

Photo of Wagah, Wagah, Hardo Rattan, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Fields overlooking the Wagah Border

Photo of Wagah, Wagah, Hardo Rattan, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Here's me, broken by the heat and humidity ofcourse.

Photo of Wagah, Wagah, Hardo Rattan, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Crowd at 4pm (half an hour after opening of the gates)

Photo of Wagah, Wagah, Hardo Rattan, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

The ceremony in all its glory

Photo of Wagah, Wagah, Hardo Rattan, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

India

Photo of Wagah, Wagah, Hardo Rattan, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Level of crowd is insane!

Photo of Wagah, Wagah, Hardo Rattan, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Cheers!

Photo of Wagah, Wagah, Hardo Rattan, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

The BSF Men of our Country

Photo of Wagah, Wagah, Hardo Rattan, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Long live India

Photo of Wagah, Wagah, Hardo Rattan, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

The salute at dusk

Photo of Wagah, Wagah, Hardo Rattan, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Engrossed Minds

Photo of Wagah, Wagah, Hardo Rattan, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Off to Lahore, anyone?

Photo of Wagah, Wagah, Hardo Rattan, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Crowds cheering as the ceremony goes on!

Photo of Wagah, Wagah, Hardo Rattan, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak
Photo of Wagah, Wagah, Hardo Rattan, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

What could serve as a better end to a perfect day in the hot sun than some chicken and a chilled drink? Famished, as we were by this time, we went to a local dhaba near the bus stand which served chicken right side to the other side of the road at the bus stand and had our fill. Something to be noted is that when the full tandoori chicken came in, not one of us two spoke a word until it was completely finished! We ended up feeling abit full but remember an important thing.

We did not taste the Amritsari Kulcha, which was embarrassing as it was THE thing to eat here. After some searching, we stumbled upon a dhaba which agreed to make it for us on request, how nice! And that too for 40INR. We sat down with our luggage and ate that delicious Kulcha. With my battery dwindling below 20% 11pm in the night, I knew I had to do something. We noticed the cheapest dish was apparently Kali Daal and chapatis...enough to stall us until the battery charged itself up to 80%. And ordered it.

Took about 40 minutes of super digestive eating for my phone to breach the 80% mark, enough to pass the night and abit of the sun. ow we could think of the way back home. We managed to get the few last seats left for the 12am bus to Chandigarh. Considering the next bus was at 3:30am, we would say we saved us some major discomfort of waiting. But alas, the bus was none different. Skipping the description of the hugely uncomfortable journey till Chandigarh which blessed us no shuteye, we were at our fatigue limits.

Ahhh finally that amritsari meal!

Photo of Amritsar Bus Stand, Mehar Pura, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

This one gave me Delhi-6 feels for some reason.

Photo of Amritsar Bus Stand, Mehar Pura, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Again, we return with some more Jooti's to select from!

Photo of Amritsar Bus Stand, Mehar Pura, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

More architecture to please the eye

Photo of Amritsar Bus Stand, Mehar Pura, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

The architecture and cleanliness is spot on

Photo of Amritsar Bus Stand, Mehar Pura, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Institutionalized?

Photo of Amritsar Bus Stand, Mehar Pura, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Goodbye Amritsar

Photo of Amritsar Bus Stand, Mehar Pura, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Until we meet again

Photo of Amritsar Bus Stand, Mehar Pura, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Pink skies and nostalgic feelings

Photo of Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

A sight to behold

Photo of Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

Architecture over pink skies

Photo of Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak

The golden moment of 'Golden Temple'

Photo of Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mayank Pathak
Day 3

Fortunately Chandigarh came and so did the direct bus to Shimla at the very instant we got off that required no ticket. So, it was basically like getting off from one bus to the other and continuing our tiring journey. This bus was an empty one, so yeah, I stole the last seats and converted them into one long bed and only opened my eyes when everyone got off. The skies were pretty on the way back and I only could capture a few pictures. Though my friend still was awake, I have no idea how. We both bid farewell for the day and took our respective paths to our homes.

Pretty skies post dawn

Photo of Chandigarh, India by Mayank Pathak

Sleep is all I need now (to be honest)

Photo of Chandigarh, India by Mayank Pathak

Finally at home by about 7am, I slept like a log for about what seemed like 4-5 hours but were actually 10.

Thus, concluding the Amritsar in 24 Hours trip.

Some useful information -

● Budget : 1750INR per person

- About 1000INR fare from Shimla and back.

- 150INR fare of Taxi to Wagah border

- 500INR Food and Misc

- 150INR 'Bag Keeping' fees at Wagah Border

● Travel Time

Shimla - Chd. 3:00 hours (bus, ordinary)

Chd. - Amritsar 5:30 hours (overnight)

Amritsar - Wagah Border 2:00 hours (auto) 1:20 hours (taxi)

● What to avoid

Autos to wagah border

Buying unnecessary stuff on way to wagah border

Not dropping off bag at hotel before going to wagah border

Not eating Kulcha

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