Gazing at gold reflecting over a pond of moonlit waters was not something that interested me until I visited one of the most enchanting places in India. The golden temple in the city of Amritsar is nothing short of perfection. Lay your eyes on it and you will find yourself gawking at beauty at its best.
I packed my bags and boarded a train from Delhi to Amritsar- something one must try when in India. A long train journey is as enjoyable and tiring as it sounds. You get to meet an abundant number of people who are all from disparate backgrounds, complexions, dialect and what not! Also, beware of pickpockets: P
While crunching on ‘paneer kulcha’ and ‘amritsari lassi’ you are sure to fill yourself up till the neck and still be craving for more. I devoured the most satisfying meal right after landing in Amritsar. A bus awaited passengers outside the railway station which rode them to golden temple free of cost. Outside the temple spreads out a beautiful market adorned with shops and dhabas. It was noon by the time we reached the temple and rushed to check in to our room.
It is best if you pre-book your rooms highly in advance at the temple campus itself. We had ours done at Mata Ganga Niwas which was a tidy and organised dharmshala right next to the left gate of Golden Temple.
• You get everything in one place. From food to cabs – everything!
• If you’re a soft-drink fan, you will get it for as cheap as five bucks.
• If you’re someone who likes walking along clear waters at midnight and sit beside the most alluring view, contemplating over life, go ahead!
• It’s safe.
And then we went ahead for a little darshan at the temple after freshening up and to our surprise it started raining!! Now let me not mention too much of that because then I can go on and on. But those tiny droplets all over the temple pond looked miraculous, indeed a treat to the eyes. Moving on, we set ahead for some shopping at the recently inaugurated market right outside the temple. Let me mark up my insights.
• Clothing- super cheap and very organised. You just need to have the eye of an expert to feel the right quality and you are good to go.
• Food- cheap, delicious, varied. The food of Amritsar is so drool-worthy that you can keep eating and keep craving. My favourites would be the lassi, the kulcha, the softy, the jalebis, the bun-tikki (BEST) with chowmein stuffing.
• Ambience- the evenings find a wonderful crowd walking all over the streets and a perfecting ambience with mottled lights. It is definitely one of the cleanest and most bustling markets of India.
• Specialities- take away home the Amritsari papad (super yum), the big badi balls (soy delicacy that you eat with rice or potato), the quoted T-shirts, Amritsari jooti.
The most famous dining place in Amritsar is Bharawan da dhaba ( right where the market ends). However, it failed to meet my expectations. It was a good place to dine but over-hyped (both the food and the prices). My suggestion would be to try different snacks at different places so that you can taste everything and fill up yourself at the same time. To end the perfect day, we tried the famous kesar doodh from a little stall near the campus entry (We would return back to it every night after dinner).