The Harmandir Sahib or the Swarn Mandir in Amritsar is the undisputed centre for Sikhism around the world. People from all faiths and walks of life visit the beautiful temple with its four symbolic doors that open in all directions, welcoming the faithful as well as the curious. With over a hundred thousand people on an average visiting the shrine daily, it is a good idea to plan your visit down to the smallest detail on the occasion of Diwali.
Check the weather in Amritsar: Since it has been made abundantly clear that you can’t give the line a miss, it would be a brilliant call if you decided to visit in pleasant weather. Amritsar is a city of extremes in terms of weather. The temperature in Amritsar shoots through the roof in the blistering Indian summer and dips enough to make you quite cold in the winter – so the best months to visit would be between October and March. But if you hesitate visualizing yourself in multiple layers of clothing, you could skip planning an Amritsar trip in December and January!
Best time to visit: Depending on your level of religious fervour, any time is a good time of day to visit. If you are the kind who wishes to avoid getting into endless queues, then early morning at 4 AM or late at night are great times to go to the temple. You will get to witness the installation or returning ceremony of the holy book of the Sikhs, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, which is a pleasant bonus. Weekends should be avoided, as should all Sikh and Hindu festivals – faithful from the entire city and around descend upon the city to celebrate anything from a Gurupurab to Diwali; and everything in between.
Plan your visit to coincide with the daily afternoon ‘langar’ or free kitchen. The Golden Temple runs one of the largest free kitchens in the world, serving a basic and delicious meal to up to 100,000 people daily. This meal is prepared by volunteers and is an experience in itself.
Don’t forget to eat as well as carry packed Prasad and buy ‘karaas’ from the temple for family and friends. It is pretty much mandatory to distribute Prasad as good blessings and the religious bangles as keepsakes!
1:-Visit the Indo-Pak border at Wagah. Possibly one of the most famous borders around the world, its daily closing ceremony is an experience of a lifetime. Hire a cab for a quick day trip which will take you about 30 kilometers from the city to Attari, where the Pakistan border is. The ceremony begins at 4PM – it is entertaining and memorable.
2:-Take a food tour, easily one of the most popular things to do in Amritsar. Famous for its preparation of non-vegetarian food, visitors to the city must eat at Beera Chicken for the best tandoori chicken ever and at Surjit Food Plaza for unforgettable tikkas and fantastic fish fry. Kesar da Dhaba is Amritsar’s ode to vegetarian food. The best Amritsari kulchas are to be had at the aptly named Kulcha Land. The sweet tooth brigade can head to Gurudas Ram Jalebiwala for his delectable jalebis and drool-worthy gulab jamuns. And remember to pack some of the city’s famous ‘aam-papad’ and spicy ‘wari’ into your luggage.
3:-Practice those bargaining skills at Hall Bazaar and get yourself a pretty ‘phulkari dupatta’ and some charming Punjabi ‘juttis’!
4:-The top places to visit in Amritsar are the Jallianwala Bagh, the summer palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the Central Sikh Museum located on the 2nd floor of the Golden Temple complex