Amritsar, The Holy City


Amritsar is a city in the northwestern Indian state of Punjab, 28 kilometers from the border with Pakistan. At the center of its walled old town, the gilded Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) is the holiest gurdwara (religious complex) of the Sikh religion. It’s at the end of a causeway, surrounded by the sacred Amrit Sarovar tank (lake), where pilgrims bathe.

Golden Temple

Everyone is welcome at Sikh’s holiest shrine (dawn – 10 pm). As when at any scared site, dress and behave respectfully. Everyone must remove their shoes and socks, wash their feet (take a cue from pilgrims), and cover their head. Tobacco and alcohol are strictly prohibited. Temple officials request tourists not to casually dangle their feet in the (holy) water tank but rather to sit a cross-legged. Photography is only permitted from the marble walkaway surrounding the pool. Volunteers are constantly washing the floor – watch your step, as surfaces can get slippery.

The temple’s architecture is a blend of Hindu and Islamic styles but with unique distinctions. The golden dome (said to be glided with 750kg of pure gold) represents an inverted lotus flower, a symbol a Sikh devotee’s aim to live a pure life.

For Sikhs, a visit to the Golden Temple is equivalent to trip to Mecca for Muslim.


Jallianwala Bagh

Near Golden Temple, this poignant park commemorates those Indians killed or wounded here by the British authorities in 1919. Some bullet marks are still visible, as well into which hundreds desperately leapt to avoid the bullets.


Gobindgarh Fort

Gobindgarh Fort was earlier occupied by the army but is now open to the public from 10th February 2017. The place has been of great historical importance. However, in my opinion, it wasn’t as exciting compared to other sites visited.


India-Pakistan Border Ceremony at Attari/ Wagah

People come to the border, 30km west of Amritsar, for two reasons; to enjoy the late afternoon border closing ceremony or to use the crossing between India and Pakistan.

  • Crossing to Pakistan
    • The border is open from 10 am to 4 pm but get there at least half an hour before it closes.
  • Onward Transport
    • From Wagah (Pakistan) there are buses and taxis to Lahore, approx. 30km away.

 

 

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