Traditional and historical places to visit in Amritsar: Amritsar is a city full of hustle-bustle and loved for being a melting pot of traditions, cultures, history and cuisine. The city was founded in 1577 by the fourth Sikh guru, Ram Das and has its heart situated at Golden Temple.
The city is divided into two parts by the railway lines. The Old City is to the South where you’ll find the Golden Temple, which is primarily the most important and most spectacular tourist site, along with other ancient historical structures.
On the other hand, the Northside of the town is crowded with restaurants, tall towers, modern homes, etc. But once you come to the city, you have no reasons to leave as the city has a myriad of things to offer. Let us see some of the most important places to visit in Amritsar.
It would not be wrong to say that the Golden Temple is the heart and soul of Amritsar. It is because of this site that the city breathes and lives peacefully. The Golden Temple has immense and unparalleled religious significance as it is the holiest shrine of Sikh Religion.
The architectural marvel of Golden Temple is only a tip of the iceberg and forms only a small but important part of the giant and amazing Gurudwara Complex. The Sikhs refer to the Golden Temple as Harmandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib.
The Temple looks like a glittering palace in the night and lights up the spirit and the atmosphere of the Gurudwara. The temple nestles beautifully on a rectangular platform amidst a pool of water called “Amrit Sarovar” and it is from this pond of water that the city derives its name.
At night, the site looks ablaze in the golden light of the gilded temple. The temple was not originally made of gold, but under the aegis of Hukum Singh Chimni and Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the temple was laden with gold and marble work which is awe-inspiring and continues take the visitors back.
You will see different reflections of colourful lights rippling in the Amrit Sarovar, making the sight look captivating at night. The Temple remains crowded at almost all the times and you will thousands of devotees chanting the name of the Lord in every nook and corner of the Gurudwara.
Another great aspect about the Temple is that the “Guru Granth Sahib” which is the holy book of Sikhs is installed in the temple every morning and returned to the Akal Takht at night. Akal Takht is the temporal seat of Khalsa.
- Timings: 3 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily
- Speciality: Akal Takht, Amrit Sarovar.
- Devotees will have to remove their shoes and submit them at the appropriate place.
- The most important thing is to cover your head before entering the temple.
Wagah Border Crossing
The Wagah Border is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in Amritsar where hundreds of people flock together to see the captivating ceremony performed on the Grand Trunk Road bordered by Wagah. Since it is the border between India and Pakistan, it was named as “Berlin Wall of Asia”.
The celebrative, passionate, and positive ambience and spirit of the environment bewilders people who would expect to see some animosity between the two Border States. The scene becomes even more beautiful with the exchange of pleasantries between the two countries.
The most amazing thing about visiting this place is the “lowering of flags” ceremony or Retreat Ceremony which is held every evening since 1959. This is one ceremony that visitors look forward too with much fervour, enthusiasm, and patriotism.
You will see big crowds of people swimming into each other on both the sides of the border. The Retreat Ceremony is scheduled 30 minutes before the sunset and public witnesses the patriotic songs of both sides as a part of its public address systems.
You will also see the Border Security Force (BSF) encouraging and motivating children to wave the national flags in their hands, race towards the gate and also dance to the tracks.
When you want to express and revel in the love for your country, then you must come at least once in life, to Wagah Border. You will be marvelled by the pageantry and the pomp which lures the gathering and works up as a great spectacle.
- Ticket Price: Free
- Timings: Starts 30 minutes before sunset, daily.
- Specialty: Bollywood dance parties!
If you have come to visit Wagah Border in Amritsar, then you must also try shopping in this beautiful city. Hall Bazar is a bustling shopping center of Amritsar which is situated near the Hall Road. So, those who want to enjoy their shopping spree can start off with Hall Bazar.
The shops offer a wide range of products such as handicrafts, clothes, electronics, home decor, books etc. One of the best things about this bazaar is that you will see a broad selection of quality woollen items with intricate designs and patterns such as blankets, shawls, and carpets.
Women will fall in love with the humongous range of accessories sold in the market from bangles to silver jewellery. After you are done with your shopping, you can take a halt at reputable restaurants and food stalls here and taste the lip-smacking food here.
- Price and hours vary from vendor to vendor
- Speciality: Quality textiles, jewellery and accessories.
If you want to explore the historical belt of Amritsar, then Jallianawala Bagh is one of the most important tourist sites of Amritsar. This Bagh has great historical importance because of the brutal incident that took place here during the British times which shocked the conscience of people.
History Books have etched the date April 13, 1919, in our hearts forever when hundreds of innocent people were shot at. This is marked as a blood day in the history of Indian independence.
Hundreds of innocent Indians had come to the park to protest against the Rowlatt Act that had been passed and also attend the Baisakhi Mela when the British troops on the order of General Dyer started shooting at innocent people.
This resulted in heavy casualties and people were killed without any fault. The moment to enter into the narrow passage and come out open in the park, the first thing that will be shown to you is the inscription on a stone plaque ‘this is the place where the bullets were fired from.’
After the shocking event of Indian Independence, this park was turned into a memorial to the people who sacrificed their lives. It is designed by American architect Benjamin Polk. The people were so terrified at the sudden gunfire that to escape the bullet shots they jumped into the well.
The well has been preserved in the park and stands a reminder to the deadly even at the hands of General Dyer. There is a wall in the park which has survived the gunshots of that day and has been preserved till date for visitors to observe.
There is a small room where you can read about the Jallianawala Bagh event. Some articles such as bullet-shot survived coin etc have been curated in that room that stands as a memory of the horrific event.
The Park is a very big lush space where you will hundreds of visitors being intrigued and saddened by the horrendous event of the colonial history of India. You can even relax and sit in the park after you have seen all the important things.
- Timings: 6.30 a.m. – 7.30 p.m. daily
- Speciality: bullet holes in the park wall
Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum
Previously, the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum was the “Summer Palace” of the first king of Sikh Empire, Maharaja Ranjit Singh. After that, the palace was made into a museum. The museum is enveloped by the well-kept garden grounds known as Ram Bagh.
The Museum is famous for its grand assemblage of arms, armour, paintings, old coins, and manuscripts, all of which were personal possessions of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
There are paintings in the galleries of the museum that depict the court and camp of the king. These paintings also provide insight into the palace’s history and the lifestyle of those its residents.
- Ticket Price: Free
- Timings: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Speciality: Famous painting depicting the city of Lahore.
Central Sikh Museum
Established in 1958, the gallery now hosts an Operation Bluestar is considered as one of the important parts in the history of Punjab. This operation was carried inside the Golden Temple and strikes a chord with Sikhs to entails some gruesome memories.
If you want to learn more about it, then the Central Sikh Museum is the place to be. The Museum has information related to the history of Skih’s martyrdom during the times of Mughals, Britisher, and Operation Bluestar.
This museum was made in 1958 and is home is to a collection of portraits of Sikh gurus, saints, warriors and prominent leaders. You will also be fascinated by a rich collection of coins, arms, and ancient manuscripts. It also has a great library.
To the oblivion of many, there is a place near Amritsar which is famous for having connections with Ramayana. Ram Tirath is an ancient and important pilgrimage center which is situated approximately 11 km west of the Amritsar city.
This site has a nexus with the period of Ramayana. The renowned sage, Valmiki, wrote the epic of Ramayana at Ram Tirath.
This is also said to be the birthplace of Lord Ram and Sita’s twin sons, Luv and Kush. You will also get to see Valmiki’s old hut here. Ram Tirath is said to have been dug by the Hindu God, Hanuman.
Today, this 5-story modern structure is decorated with marble and gold-leaf dome and has become a splendid sight for visitors to Amritsar. Akal Takht holds immense importance as it is one of the five seats of Sikh religious authority.
The stone of this building was laid down by Guru Hargobind Sahib on June 15, 1606. Akal Takht means the “Throne of the Immortal” wherein Akal refers to immortal being and Takht means throne. It also serves as the central altar for Sikh Political Assembly.
The importance is because of the supremacy of Akal Takht among the five takhts established by the panth (community). Akal Takht is followed by Keshgarh Sahib (Anandpur), Patna Sahib, Hazur Sahib and Damdama Sahib.
The original Takht of Guru was a simple platform, which was raised 3.5 meters high afterwards. Guru Hargobind Ji sat on this raised platform with all marks of royalty. It is from this raised platform that he did justice with people and gave his final word on all disputes in the Sikh community.
Kesar Da Dhaba
Going to Amritsar and not visiting Kesar Da Dhaba is like going to Paris and not visiting Eiffel Tower. This is the place where you will scrumptious food available at reasonable prices.
The Dhaba has been there for more than 100 years and has kept the visitors riveted to the taste of its food which is unparalleled and unmatchable with anything else in Amritsar.
So, if you have finished sightseeing and now you want to relish the real, legit, and true taste of Punjab, then Kesar Da Dhaba is a must-visit. You will leave the Dhaba singing praises of the food and wanting more space in your stomach to stuff in more of their tasty dishes.
You will have to ask people about the way to Kesar Da Dhaba or you can also use Google Map to get directions. It’s always better to ask someone for the exact location. Though the place and ambience is a bit shoddy, its food is equally outstanding.
For its delectable food, it is has become one of the most beloved eateries of Amritsar. There will be an appealing smell of desi ghee which luring enough to capture someone’s attention.
Try their chana, paranthas, dal, phirni and, kulfi, lassis and see what wonder does Punjab’s cuisine hold. It is not very far from the Golden Temple and if walking does not get your tired, then you can easily stroll around and reach Kesar Da Dhaba.
- Price: Mid-range
- Opening hours: 11 a.m. – 10.30 p.m.
- Speciality: Dal Fry, parantha thali and lassi
Thus, we have learnt about the famous tourists spots of Amritsar and what to expect there. Embark on your journey to Amritsar and begin your itinerary with Golden Temple. Seek the blessings here, then head to Jallianawala Bagh, and shop around in the complex.
You can then go to Kesar Da Dhaba for lunch and leave for Wagah Border in the evening. If at all, you have time, then go to the other places also as discussed above.
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