Amritsar: The Golden City
Seen as the heart of the state of Punjab. More so because it is the hub of Sikhism, which is the predominant religion in the Punjab. It has a cold winters and warm summers.
The cultural and spiritual center of Sikh religion, the golden city of Amritsar is one of the places in India without visiting which your trip of India remains incomplete. The city of Amritsar got its name from “Amrita Sarovar” (pool of elixir) amidst which stands the Golden Temple the most sacred Sikh shrine. Amritsar has a rich history from the age of Ramayana to the Freedom movement of India.
Amritsar is traditional city known for its hospitality. It has gained tremendous popularity for dhabas (roadside eatery) that churn out, amongst an inexhaustible list of delicacies, irresistible kulchas, chola-bhaturas, tandoori chicken and fried fish.
The climate of the Amritsar is characterized by general dryness except in the brief south –west monsoon season. The cold season is from November to March. The period from April to June is the hot season. The south-west monsoon season is from about the beginning of July to the first week of September. The best time to visit Amritsar is between October and March. The city is having a well connectivity by train, road and air routes.
Here is a list of major attractions in Amritsar:
The Golden Temple(Harmandir Shahib): The Golden Temple is most sacred of Sikh shrines. The temple got its name from the full golden dome. It is built of 67 sq. ft. of marble and is two storied structure. Maharaja Ranjit Singh had its dome built with approx. 400 kg of gold. The temple is splendid example of Sikh art and architecture. The inner walls of dome, the doors exhibit embossed gold work. The marble has been engraved with beautiful designs of birds, animals, flowers covered with semi-precious stones. The Guru Granth Sahib (Holy Book of Sikhs) is enshrined on the ground floor, in a room embellished with splendid frescoes
The clock tower situated in temple complex is the Central Sikh Museum. The temple is also famous for ‘Guru Ka Langar’ which offers free food to about 20,000 people per day, the number rises to about 100,000 on special occasions. Visitors should remove their shoes and cover their heads before entering the temple .The temple is less crowded in early morning.
Gobindgarh Fort: This is the only surviving fort from the times of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It has couple of gateways, huge walls which are fortified from both sides. The basic shape of the Fort was that of a square and it was built on 1500 sq. m. The British government after conquering the fort built the Darbar Hall, Hawa Mahal and the hanging place, known as Phansi Ghar.
Ram Bagh Palace-Garden: Ram Bagh memorizes the summer capital of first Sikh Ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh .The garden is modeled on the famed Shalimar garden of Lahore. It boasts rare plants and trees, water channels, and a statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh seated on a horse. Amidst the peaceful garden is built the two storied luxurious summer palace of Ranjit Singh. The Palace is now converted into museum displaying a splendid exhibition from Ranjit Singh’s life and expeditions, as well as, his personal sword, shield and replicas of a golden throne and the Kohinoor diamond.
Wagah Border: Wagah border is the international border between India and Pakistan. It lies 30 km from Amritsar. The ceremonial display of the Beating Retreat and Change of Guard at feet’s distance makes it an extraordinary spectacle. This ceremony was started in 1959 and continues today. Around 5,000 people visit Wagah border everyday.
Durgiana Temple: This temple dates back to 16th century AD. It is dedicated to Hindu goddess Durga and hence known as Durgiana temple.
Jallianwalah Bagh: The Bagh is marked by a Martyrs’ Memorial built in the shape of an eternal flame to remember the innocents who died in Jallianwala Bagh Massacre on April 13, 1919. A section of the wall, pock-marked by bullets, as also the well, has been preserved as a reminder of the tragic event.
Ram Tirth: It is believed to be the ashram of sage Valmiki who wrote the “Ramayana” here. People never forget to visit Ram Tirth which had been a witness to the birth of the sons of King Rama. Making a special place in the holy scripts of ancient religions. Khair-ud-Din Masjid is also famous for Muslims and people use to visit it in large number whole year.
Another attraction to visit is Devi temple which have its own importance in history. If one dreams of legendary living he can visit Summer Palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, which is in the Ram Bagh park. Now the palace houses a museum, exhibiting oil paintings, miniatures, coins and weapons of the Sikh period, which travelers love to watch.
Apart for tourism Amritsar is also famous for its Punjabi food. It is famous for Kulchas, lassi and jalebi. People also love to enjoy religious music at Gurudwara shahidan