Our first encounter with Indian city life was Amritsar. 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.
Amritsar is the spiritual and cultural center of the Sikh Religion and the largest and most important city in Punjab state, only 25 km away from Pakistan.
Not many visitors plan a trip to this city, but it certainly has a different vibe than other parts of India. In this article, I talk about the best way to spend 2 days in Amritsar.
There are two main attractions in the area, therefore the first day we decided to visit the city and The Golden Temple. We walked around for a full day and then we spent 2 hours at the temple.
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 glowy and special. It also has the world’s largest free kitchen which feeds 50,000 people on an average day. Someone told us 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 second day, we planned to see the famous ceremony from the border between India and Pakistan. Our pick-up time was at 3 PM, so we had time to visit the surroundings of The Museum of Partition.
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 raising 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 a total of 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 comfortable 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
The guys from the hostel recommended us the first restaurant we went to and apparently, it’s a very famous one in Amritsar.
Food was tasty and big portions, but the price rather high compared to other places we’ve been to.
South Indian Madrasi Dosa Wala
We discovered this place by accident and after that, we ended up eating here 3 times in two days. It looks like the typical small local restaurant, but the food is delicious. In other words, we haven’t had dosas as good as this in any other place in India.
Right around the corner 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. The agency we used is called Yashika Travels.
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 lose time by train or bus.
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