Amritsar is the spiritual and cultural centre of the Sikh Religion and the largest and most important city in Punjab state, only 25 km away from Pakistan.
This was our first encounter with the Indian city life. We arrived on a rainy grey day at 7 AM, being a bit overwhelmed by the crazy traffic and chaos around us, we went straight to our hostel and sleep until the sun went out.
There are two main attractions in the city.
Things to do:
The Golden Temple
This is the principal focus for the Sikh pilgrims from India and all over the world.
The entire top of the temple is made of pure gold, making it so glowy and special. It also has the world’s largest free kitchen which feeds 50,000 people on an average day. We were told that even some of the richest people come here to cook and serve food, considering it a way to wash their sins away.
Everybody can enter the temple, regarding religion or country, but you have to cover your head with a scarf. In case you don’t have one, they provide at the entrance for free.
Price: Free (donations are accepted, but not required)
The Wagah-Attari Border Ceremony
The ceremony takes place every day before sunset. It starts with cheering on music from both sides, followed by a parade and some dancelike moves, each soldier rasing his leg as high as possible and it ends with the lowering of the flags.
How to get there:
We booked a tuk tuk from the hostel together with an Italian girl we met there and we paid in total 600 INR (7,5€) roundtrip. Departure was from our hostel at 3 PM.
You can also negotiate with drivers in the city center for a cheaper price, but then you have to share the tuk tuk with other people (we also saw tuk tuk’s with 8 people in it!) and it’s not very confortable for the long ride.
Make sure to take your passport with you as foreigners have a different smaller queue and sit in the “VIP area”.
Where to stay:
The wisest decision would be to book somewhere close to the temple.
We wanted to stay a bit away from the crowded streets and booked outside the old town area. Our hostel was clean and the staff there very nice, but maybe a bit difficult to get home at night.
Where to eat:
First restaurant we went to was recommended by the guys at the hostel and apparently it’s a very famous one in Amritsar.
Food was tasty and big portions, but the price a bit higher than other places we’ve been to.
South Indian Madrasi Dosa Wala
We discovered this place by accident and ended up eating 3 times here. It looks like a typical local small restaurant, but the food was delicious. We haven’t had dosas as good as this in any other place in India.
Right around the corner on the right side from South Indian Madrasi Dosa Wala we found a juice bar, very cheap, where they mix any fruits you want and make smoothie bowls. They don’t have a name but if you search Juice Bar on Cooper Road, you’ll find it.
How to get to Amritsar:
We booked a public morning bus at 7 AM from the main ticket office in the city center.
Price: 300 INR (3,70€)
Duration: 5’30 hours
You can also get here by train from other cities or even by plane in case you don’t want to loose time by train or bus.
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