Ever since I heard about it, I had the desire to visit it. I always visualized being there during winters; with my loved ones around. And this is exactly how my trip was. After almost 3 years, I was taking my parents on their annual holiday.
This year has been of trip delays. I did the usual 2 day itinerary of Amritsar.Our Delhi-Amritsar train got delayed and we reached Amritsar by 3. It was almost 4 till we reached our hotel -Diamond Heritage (an awesome location good for budget). Going to Wagah Border was not going to be useful as we were surely going to miss the parade. However we took a chance as we wanted to see the border. A tip for all those who reach late to Amritsar, directly head to the Wagah Border from station rather than going to Hotel to catch the parade. Packing some delicious Amritsari Kulchas we headed towards Wagah.Travel is not just about the beauty of the place we visit,it is also about the people we meet. An old Sikh man was our driver cum guide to the Wagah border. He drove us there and on the way fed us with the stories and history of the Wagah Border, Golden temple and Amritsar. We missed the parade ,nevertheless we reached just in time before they were shutting the doors.After some photos we headed back. It was getting dark and cold and we enjoyed every bit of it with hot tea, maggi and aloo patty. Heading back to Amritsar, our guide told us about the Luv-Kush Temple, the local market,places to eat, history of the Sikh religion. We had our dinner at Brother’s da Dhaba. Brother’s da Dhaba and Bharawan da Dhaba were initially one, but the brothers split and now they are just next to each other. We stuffed ourselves with lassi, kulchas, sarson da saag, makki ki roti.
Heading back to the hotel ,my parents called it a day. But we went down to check the local market. All the girls out there ,Amritsar is too good for shopping.It was getting colder.We could fill the chill in the air. Happiness is having ice cream during winters :). And we jumped to have the matka kulfis. It was almost 9.30 and shops were shutting.So we then headed towards the temple.
No words can describe the beauty of the temple. Watching the temple shine amidst the holy water in the dark night-Incredible.The joy of walking on cold marble flooring bare foot.It is difficult to put words to the feel of the place.But the beauty is not just in the architecture of the temple. There is beauty in the people who run the temple and the principal on which it runs. The belief I found prevalent is the “bhaav of seva” i.e to serve. Service not just to ALMIGHTY but to all the devotees who come. It is unbelievable. Everybody is equal ,no bias.Everybody is free to help, to serve. Leaving your status,post ego aside I would request everyone to indulge in this service. Yes I will call it INDULGENCE.After almost an hour revering in the beauty of the temple we headed back to our hotel,not before having one more cup of tea.We had decided to come at 4.30 in the morning again,however the cold won and we resigned ourselves in our warm blankets.Next day we got up and headed straight again to the temple with my parents .Took the Darshan and sat there for some time in peace.We then headed to langar to eat(a must). The Central Sikh Museum is also a good visit .
Our next stop was Jallianwala Bagh.The well,walls all remind of the ruthless massacre.And finally ,we headed to the market to shop ,shop and shop. Two hours went by happily. One last time we ate at the awesome local food and the headed towards the station to catch the train back to Delhi.
We actually just had one day and it was not enough.I would suggest the following itinerary.
Day 1 - Reach Amritsar early morning around 10. Choose a hotel near to the temple. Take rest, have lunch. Around 2.30 head for Wagah Border.Watch the parade. Come back by 6.30-7. Explore the nearby market. Have dinner at one of the dhabas.Around 9 ,head to the temple.Must see the temple in the night.
Day 2- I would personally like to dedicate the whole day in the temple doing the service, eating at langar, visiting the Central Sikh Museum.
Day 3- Go to the temple again in the morning around 4.30 . After some rest and breakfast,go to the Jallianwala Bagh.Then catch a local and go to the Sultan gate market and the dhabas famous for lassi,jalebis and all other food items you like. One can visit the Ram-Tirth, Durgiana Temple, Ram Bagh. By evening take your flight or train back.
And I finished this year by visiting by long pending spiritual destination. Wishing for an exciting travel time next year too. Happy holidays and HAPPY NEW YEAR to all.