Amritsar is a vibrant city bustling with people and pilgrims from all over India who come to worship at the magnificent Golden Temple. Explore the Amritsar’s intriguing old town and discover modern Amritsar, which thrives across the railway tracks in the northern districts. Visit the town’s other temples and learn about its history at museums.
Amritsar was founded in 1577 by Guru Ram Das, after he discovered a bathing pool thought to have healing powers. It has grown to become the largest city in Punjab and welcomes millions of visitors each year, many of whom are Sikhs who come to volunteer and worship at their most revered shrine, the Golden Temple.
Admire the temple’s golden façade shimmering in the sun, appearing as if it is floating above the water. Before entering, wash your feet and cover your head with a scarf. Once inside, see the Guru Granth Sahib, a large book containing the holy scripture of the Sikhs, which is read aloud as part of the daily service. The temple is also home to the Central Sikh Museum, where you can find a large gallery of paintings documenting Sikh history.
Explore the old town within the 12 city gates and you will discover a number of other interesting attractions. Visit the cave-like Mata Temple, the city’s main Hindu place of worship. The former Summer Palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh is now a museum displaying weapons, oil paintings and other artifacts from the Sikh period.
Take a walk around the Jallianwala Bagh Gardens. These were planted in memory of the Amritsar massacre in 1919, when British soldiers killed over 1000 unarmed protestors.
Amritsar has an international airport and good rail links with all other major cities in the country. The city’s popularity means traffic can be busy, so auto rickshaws are the best way to get around. Winter, between October and March, is the best time to visit.