In the heart of the Punjab, Amritsar is home to the Sikh religion’s holiest shrine, the resplendent Golden Temple famed for its sacred shrine gilded with 100 kilograms of gold. Amritsar is Sikhism’s holiest city. Its name means ‘Pool of the Nectar of Immortality’. This sacred destination is a spectacular combination of Islamic and Hindu architecture. The narrow alleys of the old city are lined with crumbling havelis (traditional residences) and other heritage buildings whereas the modern areas boast slick cafés, hotels and eateries.
Our sample tour ideas in Amritsar
Founded in 1577 by the fourth guru Ram Das, Amritsar is home to Sikhism’s holiest shrine the Golden Temple. The gold-plated gurdwara glitters in the middle of its holy pool like a huge bullion bar, a sight that some visitors rate alongside the Taj Mahal. The Temple is a humbling place to visit and tourists are made to feel particularly welcome. During the ‘Going to Bed’ ceremony, when the Holy Book is paraded before jostling crowds in a palanquin before being taken to its nightly resting place. Before the ceremony, take a peek into the kitchen where volunteers daily prepare a simple meal for up to 3,000 visitors, encouraging rich and poor, men and women, to join together. This symbolises the Sikh’s belief of a caste-free egalitarian society.
Near the Golden Temple, this poignant park commemorates those Indians killed or wounded here by the British authorities in 1919. Some of the bullet marks are still visible, as is the well into which hundreds desperately leapt to avoid the bullets. There’s an eternal (24-hour) flame of remembrance.
Watch the evening ceremony of the guards on the Indian border of Wagah which attracts many spectators and is a moving reminder of the Partition of 1947.