Amritsar Things to Do

  • Indian / Pakistan Border
    Indian / Pakistan Border
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  • View of Golden Temple
    View of Golden Temple
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  • Night view of Golden Temple
    Night view of Golden Temple
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Most Recent Things to Do in Amritsar

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    Visit India- Pakistan Wagah Border ceremony

    by vinod-bhojak Written Oct 23, 2013

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    Wagah Border is the only open crossing border of India and PakistanThe Beating Retreat ceremony is a daily military practice that the security forces of India (Border Security Force) and Pakistan (Pakistan Rangers) have jointly followed since 1959
    The ceremony starts with a blustering parade by the soldiers from both the sides, done with fascinating pomp and ceremony that involves lots of tall soldiers in massive turbans goose-stepping about and slamming gates and ends up in the perfectly coordinated lowering of the two nations' flags. It is called the beating retreat border ceremony on the international level.

    As of Jan 2009, the flag lowering ceremony which happens around 4:15 PM everyday has become the main event for tourists. In addition, there is now a short cultural program also done by local folk dancers (Bhangra) for the waiting crowd before the flag lowering. Please take note that a peak crowd of upto 2000+ people can assemble on the Indian side on weekends/long weekends/public holidays. The crowd consists of both tourists & locals. The noise and atmosphere of the assembled crowds on both sides of the border is similar to that of a sporting match and very entertaining.
    The border gates have a visitor gallery on each side, basically concrete steps created around the border main road. This allows most people in the crowd to get a seat but it is not uncommon to see up to 500-1000 people standing at the periphery.

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    Guru-ka-Langar (Free food)

    by vinod-bhojak Written Oct 19, 2013

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    Langar
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    Langar is a free sanctified meal which is prepared daily and served at the temple. There is a huge kitchens ( has a chapati machine) prepare Dhal, rice and chapatis in Golden temple. food is available around 10,000 to 20.000 thousands pilgrims who visit daily to temple.All are welcome to join the masses eating on the floor in Golden temple All cooking of food and maintenance of the golden temple complex is carried out by worshipers, who volunteer their services. All cost is provided for by donations.

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    The Golden temple

    by vinod-bhojak Written Oct 19, 2013

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    The Golden Temple is situated in Amritsar, India, which is close to the border of Pakistan. It is the central gurdwara, or worship place, for all Sikhs in the world. Its proper name is Harmandir, which means "Temple of God" and is resepctfully referred to as Darbar (meaning "court") Sahib (meaning" Lord"). Darbar Harmandir Sahib is known as the Golden Temple because of its unique features. The gurdwara is constructed of white marble overlaid with gold leaf and stands in the center of a sarovar, or pool of fresh, clear, reflective water which is fed by the Ganges River. Pilgrims bathe and perform ablution in the sacred waters of the tank which is known for its healing properties. Visitors gather inside the Gurdwara to worship, listen to hymns, and hear the holy scripture of the Guru Granth Sahib(Holy book) read. The Golden temple has four entrances, one on each side, A bridge extends from the Golden temple to the Akal Takhat, the governing body of religious authority for Sikhs. The Guru Granth is kept in the Akal Takhat after hours.

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    Visit to Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar.

    by mittoo Updated Apr 1, 2013
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    On Sunday(3-3-2013) strolled around the Golden Complex area and made my way towards the "Jallianwala Bagh". situated in the same vicinity. As a student of History had read and memorized the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy and its association to the Indian freedom movement since school days .Here i was in person visiting this modern historical site for the first time in my life.I felt i knew the entire layout of this historical garden for it was similar as described in historical textbooks. Entered the garden at approx 0800 hrs through the narrow gate entrance, surprised at the ordinariness of this small historical garden.There were early morning joggers and walkers inside the garden besides tourists, the garden not very crowded .Spotted squirrels and wild doves inside the garden besides the chirping of birds in the trees, a cold pleasant morning in Amritsar.Walked along the circular pathway of the garden viewing the historical edifices preserved of that fateful day on 13th April 1919, Baisakhi day(Punjabi New Year) when a massacre of Indians was committed in this small garden by the ruling British Empire troops under the command of Brigadier General Reginald.Dyer. Viewed the "BULLET HOLE WALLS" in which the bullets fired by the British troops were indentured on the walls.1600 rounds of bullets were fired on approx 20,00 people gathered in this small garden with a narrow alleyway exit.Further down the narrow garden pathway was the infamous well in which numerous Indians jumped in order to avoid the hail of troop bullets, only to perish due to suffocation inside the well.Departed the garden happy that doves, squirrels and nature now lived in peace with humans inside this once infamous garden that triggered the "Independence Movement of India".This Garden is open in the mornings upto sunset .A "Sound and Light " show is held just before closure of the garden after sunset.

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    Wagah Border Ceremony (Pakistan/India Border)

    by Donna_in_India Updated Mar 2, 2013

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    India-Pakistan Border Gates
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    About 30 kms outside of Amritsar is the only road crossing to Pakistan. It is known by the Pakistan name, Wagah Border. The Indian name is Attari.

    Although traffic between the two countries has stopped a couple of hours prior, each day around sunset thousands of Indians, Pakistanis, and foreigners gather to watch the changing of the guards and the ceremonial lowering of the flags with the Indian BSF (Border Security Force) and the Pakistani Sutlej Rangers.

    Guards on both sides - in full dress uniforms - display their synchronized marching - in a friendly competition, each side trying to outdo the other with their high-stepping and foot stomping.

    Arriving from Amritsar, cars, rickshaws, buses, etc. drop you about a half mile from the entrance. Security officers will check you before you proceed. You are not allowed to bring any bags, backpacks, or even camera cases(!) in with you. If you get to the security point and have any of those things, you can leave them at a small stall nearby for a few rupees. (I would not recommend leaving anything of value here.) They are very strict about this - we were not even allowed to bring in our baby's diaper bag. Once through the security point, you can either take a cycle-rickshaw or walk to the entrance.

    Just before the large entrance to the viewing stands on the Indian side are "Welcome to India" and the "India The Largest Democracy In The World Welcomes You" signs, along with a touching memorial monument of two hands shaking with the inscription "Dedicated to 10 Lakh Punjabis Who Died Unsung in 1947". There's a sort of ramshackle Indian Customs booth and a very small BSF Museum which is worth a quick look. It has a small model of the "gate" and how it locks.

    If you are elderly or with an elderly person, you can enter through the main gate. You will get a seat (the best seats in the house) on the low walls along the narrowish two lane "road". If you are a foreigner (bring your passport), you can go through the gate (toll booth style gate) on the left side before the entrance. Follow the path around to the VIP section. (Do be nice; I don't think they have to let you into the VIP section.) All others enter up the stairs to the left on the main entrance. The viewing stands on the Indian side hold somewhere over 6,000 people.

    The crowds are warming up. There's likely to be Indians dancing in the "road" to some patriotic Bollywood songs. The stands are absolutely overflowing. On the Pakistan side there are separate sections for men and women, with an empty section in between. Behind us in the stands of the VIP section are 4 men waving large Indian flags.

    The ceremony starts and there is alternate cheering from each side. Military commands are bellowed as guards start to march towards the gate. New guards go to the gate, old guards come back. This continues for some time - with some additional military maneuvers - until simultaneously the flags of India and Pakistan are lowered and retrieved. Finally the gates between the two countries are slammed shut until the following morning.

    When the ceremony is over a chain is put across the street from between the general and VIP sections. The VIP section is closer to the gates and if you are sitting there, you can go and take some photos of the guards or even go up to the gate to take some photos. They don't allow much time for this so go check out the gate first!

    I just loved the pomp and circumstance, the Sutlej Ranger's uniforms, the good natured rivalry, and for some inexplicable reason - the gate, which I just thought was so cool. You could tell that the guards really enjoyed putting on a "show" in what otherwise might be a pretty boring job.

    But I think the thing that struck me most, was realizing that - all of the politics and other sh*t aside - we are all just human beings. I really thought this ceremony was special.

    On the way out, there is a small souvenir store which just sells small photos, keychains, etc. They were each Rs 10. It's worth buying a couple of items to support the BSF. Near the store is a long barbed wire fence. Just a note: This is NOT Pakistan. It was so funny to watch people standing there for photos, some waving their Indian flags thinking this was Pakistan.

    The actual ceremony starts about 5:30 p.m. and lasts about 30 minutes. I recommend leaving Amritsar no later than 3:30. We arrived about 4:45 and the stands were already packed. If we had not gotten seats in the VIP section, we would have been standing all the way at the top of the stands and would not have been able to see anything! You might want to bring binoculars in any case. There are no issues about safety; it's perfectly safe. Go and enjoy!

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    An Emotional Visit to Jallianwala Bagh

    by Donna_in_India Updated Mar 2, 2013

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    Martyr
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    Jallianwala Bagh is one of the most historical spots of India. April 13, 1919 was Baisakhi when Sikhs celebrated both the first day of the new year and the anniversary of the founding of the khalsa in 1699. Some 20,000 Indians had gathered to peacefully protest the Rowlatt Act, a British legislation that allowed British authorities to arrest any Indian suspected of sedition without trial .

    Upon seeing the crowd and acting on his own, British General Reginald Dyer positioned his troops inside the narrow entrance (and only exit) of the garden. He then ordered them to open fire. People scrambled, some jumped in a well and some tried to climb the high surrounding walls to escape the flying bullets. Within minutes 1,200 people were wounded and hundreds were dead including women and children.

    This horrific event was one of the defining moments in India's fight for independence. Public anger and acts of violence followed the massacre. Mahatma Gandhi's non co-operation movement (mass civil disobedience) quickly followed, with Gandhi declaring that "cooperation in any shape or form with this satanic government is sinful". He encouraged various boycotts including the boycott of British (and other) foreign goods and advocated that khadi (homespun cloth) be worn by all Indians. It would still take India another 2 1/2 decades to get its independence.

    The news of the massacre was hushed up and it took 6 months for the British Government in London to even hear of it. The incident was eventually investigated. Although there was international outrage, some thought Dyer a hero. His comments from the investigation, such as this one, "It was no longer a question of merely dispersing the crowd, but one of producing a sufficient moral effect" did nothing to lessen the outrage and General Dyer was eventually asked to resign.

    Today the park is accessed by the same narrow path that Dyer's troops blocked. Trees and flowers fill the quiet park and if you didn't know the history you would think it was a wonderful place to escape the city. There is a large memorial at the far end of the park but the most moving places are the Martyr's Well and the sections of walls (on opposite sides of the park), all with visible bullet marks.

    A few days before our trip to Amritsar we happened to catch the movie "Gandhi". The massacre scenes were chilling and it made our visit to Jallianwala Bagh so much more real. I recommend seeing the movie before visiting.

    The park is open from dawn until dusk.

    No admission fee.

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    The Stunning Golden Temple

    by Donna_in_India Updated Mar 2, 2013

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    The Golden Temple

    The Golden Temple - also known as the Hari Mandir or "Temple of God" - is the holiest shrine of the Sikh faith. All Sikh temples have four entrances to symbolize an egalitarian welcome to all castes. The main entrance to the Golden Temple complex is through the Hall Bazaar which takes you to the clock-tower - or "Darshani Darwaza" - gate. From the top of the gateway stairs you will have your first glimpse of the temple, which will look every bit as beautiful as any photo of it. (It is at this gate that you will also find the Central Sikh Museum.)

    The temple, which is part of a complex of buildings and historic and holy shrines that form a large square around the Golden Temple, is located in the middle of the Amrit Sarovar ("Pool of Nectar"). The water of the pool is said to have healing powers and you will see many people taking a bath in the water. A Parikrama - marble pathway - surrounds the pool. Each side of the pool is 510 feet long. Start your walk going clockwise around the complex.

    The temple itself is a mix of Islam and Hindu styles of architecture. After entering the Darshani Deorhi ("gateway of vision") - with silver doors and sacred verses carved on the walls - the temple is reached by crossing a 60m long marble causeway. The line on the causeway moves pretty quickly as you are ushered into the temple. You will first hear the ragis - musicians who sing verses from the Holy Book. Priests are collecting offerings/donations. You will have little time to take in the beautiful surroundings before being ushered out of the small inner sanctum. When you cross back over the causeway, you will be given a small bit of sweet prasad (holy offering). Be sure to receive this with your right hand.

    Temple details: the temple dome is covered in 100kg of gold and is shaped like an inverted lotus. The lower wall is made of white marble. The highlights of the temple include the Sheesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors) on the top floor, the marble walls with pietra dura inlay on the first floor, and the Durbar Sahib ("Court of the Lord") where the Guru Granth Sahib (Holy Book) sits during the day covered by a jewelled canopy. When the evening prayers are over, as part of a daily ritual, the Guru Granth Sahib is moved back to the Akal Takht (building) where it stays until daybreak when it is moved back to the temple. After the Guru Granth Sahib is removed from the temple, the floors are washed with milk and water, and the doors of the Darshani Deorhi are closed until the next morning.

    Enter through the clock-tower gate entrance. Leave your shoes in the cloak room just to the left and down a few stairs from the entrance. Walking towards the entrance you'll need to wash your hands in the large public basin and then walk through a very shallow pool of water to wash your feet. ALL men and women must cover their heads (kerchiefs, hats, etc. are available at shops across from the cloak room if you haven't brought one). Dress appropriately as well.

    Alcohol and tobacco products are not permitted within the complex. Photos may be taken freely within the complex (although you should try and avoid taking photos of worshippers) but you should check inside any building to see if you are allowed to take photos (you are not allowed to take any photos inside the Golden Temple).

    There is an Information Office near the main entrance. It is helpful to have a map of the complex. It is best not to go in the afternoon - there is alot of glare and heat.

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    Buildings/Shrines of the Golden Temple Complex

    by Donna_in_India Updated Mar 2, 2013

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    Akal Takht (l) and Golden Temple (r)

    The Golden Temple is without a doubt the most beautiful building within the temple complex. However, there are several other important - and beautiful - buildings and shrines within the complex.

    Guru Ram Das Langar - The building under the 2 minarets is the temple's communal dining hall and kitchen. Langar is both the name of the place (all Sikh temples have one) as well as the free meal that is served here. The kitchen can feed 10,000 people a day, 3,000 people at a time. The simple meal consists of chapatis/rotis (bread) and dal (lentils). Everyone is welcome. Lunch is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 7:00 p.m. onwards.

    Sixty Eight-In-One Sacred Place - This sacred place - also known as Athsath Tirath - is located at the water's edge near the dining hall. This 68 Holy Places represents 68 Hindu pilgrimage sites. Since the actual sites are located around the country, Guru Arjan Dev told devotees that is was enough to bathe here rather than go to each site.

    Akal Takht - The Akal Takht is a 5 storied building that is directly opposite to the causeway entrance to the Golden Temple. The name Akal Takht means "timeless throne". This is the seat of the Sikh's religious committee where the Sikh Parliament meet and day to day administration is done. It is an interesting and pretty building with a gilt dome that houses the guru's swords and flagstaffs. It is also where the Guru Granth Sahib (holy book) is kept at night. Each morning (at 4 or 5 a.m.) the holy book is moved to the Golden Temple in a special procession. When it is returned at 9 or 10 p.m. at night, a Palki Sahib (night ceremony) takes place. If you would like to see either, confirm the times (they change by season). The Akal Takht is also the building that in 1984 was destroyed by heavy fighting/fire with the Indian Army. It has been rebuilt to what it is today.

    Central Sikh Museum - The museum is located upstairs in the clock tower entrance. There are coins, paintings, arms, etc. on display create a vivid picture of the Sikh's struggles against the Mughals, the British, and the Indian Army. (No charge for entry, closes around 7 p.m.)

    Jubi Tree - Near the clock tower entrance is a 400+ year old jubi tree. It is believed to be the shaded resting place of the first priest of the temple. Today it is a favorite spot for marriages. Women hoping to be blessed with a son also tie colorful threads to the branches.

    Photos of the various buildings and shrines can be viewed in my Golden Temple Complex travelogues.

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    PEACEFUL PLACE

    by davidjo Written Mar 30, 2012

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    THE TEMPLE COMPLEX
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    The Golden Temple of the Sikhs is very special and you should spend some time there as it should give you a very special feeling of calmness, especially when you sit upstairs and observe the three musicians who are playing down below. One musician is playing the tabla, another the harmonium, and the third usually plays a stringed instrument while others sing and read from the Holy Scriptures. Whenever you go during the day it will be crowded with pilgrims and all sikhs are expected to work one week free at the temple during their lifetime. The musicians have played almost continually for around 400 years and they are amazing to listen to, and the place drew me like a magnet when i spent a week there some years ago. I would probably visit three times a day.

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    The Golden Temple

    by Liatris1 Updated Jul 27, 2011

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    We washed our feet and hands, covered our heads and walked excited inside the temple complex. Inside there is a large water tank, and in the middle of the water tank a temple, covered in gold, connected by a golden bridge that is full of people all the time. We stood in the line to the temple and became more and more impressed as we got closer and saw the exquisite details, in gold, of course. Inside the temple three men where chanting and broadcasted all over the temple complex. And at the second floor a priest read sacred texts from a huge book. Many visitors wiped away their imaginary footprints with their handkerchiefs as they walked backwards away from the temple or kissed the doorstep before they passed. A thick smell of incense made the atmosphere complete.

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    Khalsa College Campus

    by bnanno Updated Apr 4, 2011

    One of the most impressive building complexes in Amritsar, or indeed anywhere, is the campus and buildings of this university college, built in 1892 by the Singh Sabha movement and keeping with the Sikh ideals.
    The architecture is a wonderful blend of Indian and Mughal and ultimately Sikh; designed by Bhai Ram Singh with the help an engineer, Dharam Singh.
    There is a small museum in the campus, which now includes various schools.
    At the time it was built, it was outside the city limits. You cannot miss its dozens of distinctive red domes and arches set in landscaped lawns.

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    The nearby Wagah Pakistan Border Ceremony

    by MikeySoft Updated Jan 14, 2011

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    The Wagah Pakistan/India border is the only open land border between the two countries.

    Every day they have the flags lowering ceremony near dust which is a carnival like atmosphere and somewhat of a pep rally between the two countries.

    It is a large crowd when lots of bleachers but foreigners can go to the VIP bleacher to get closer to the border. Foreigners also don't have to wait in line before the area opens.

    These two professional videos from the BBC will give you an ideal what it's all about:

    Comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar' s Video
    Michael Palin's Video
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    The Golden Temple Complex

    by MikeySoft Updated Jun 18, 2010

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    The Golden Temple, Amritsar
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    The Golden Temple (Sri Harmandir Sahib) is considered the holiest shrine by Sikhs. You can check you shoes outside the complex for free, and then walk through a shallow pool of water to entre the complex (see my second photo). You can also borrow a head covering for use while in the complex.

    It is wonderful inside the complex. The temple is in the middle of a recurtangle pool and just walking around the pool is enjoyable. They are playing music and people are singing/humming and everyone is friendly. No one is asking for you to buy something or asking for donations.

    Photos are allowed except when you are in the The Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) at the center of the pool.

    I recommend going both during the day and at night, perhaps after the Pakistan Border Ceremony.

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    The Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre

    by MikeySoft Updated Jun 15, 2010

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    Jallianwalla Bagh
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    Jallianwalla Bagh is a large courtyard a short walk for the main gate of the Golden Temple Complex. It is where British General Dyer ordered solders in the massacre of innocent people before India got independence.

    You can see the bullets holes in the walls and the well where people jump into to avoid being killed as depicted in the movie, "Gandhi".

    In 1927, Dyer suffered a stroke and died of natural causes.
    The Morning Post remembered him in an article titled "The Man Who Saved India" and "He Did His Duty"

    But the Westminster Gazette wrote a contrary opinion:

    "No British action, during the whole course of our history in India, has struck a severer blow to Indian faith in British justice than the massacre at Amritsar."

    The Website: is a youtub link to the massacre in the movie "Ghandhi"

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    The Golden Temple

    by MikeySoft Updated Jun 15, 2010

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    Walk way to the Golden Tempel in Amritsar
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    The Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) is at the center of the pool in the complex

    It is the holiest site in Silken and thus you are not allowed to take photos when you are in it. However, I was allowed photos before I entered. You may also be checked for tobacco as it is forbidden.

    I entered the temple twice, once during the day, and again at night after I returned form the Pakistan Border flags lowering ceremony. The lines were not too long during the day and almost no line at night.

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