If you hang around the dining hall entrance of the Golden Temple (near the accomodation blocks) you may get approached by someone asking you if you want a shared jeep to the border at Atari in order to watch the border ceremony. I hung around and a Sikh guy came up to me and asked if I wanted to go the border ceremony and I said "yes, how much?" to which he replied "75 rupees". The border is about 30km away so it worked out at being a good price. I said OK and he gave me a slip of paper from his small notepad with his name and mobile number on it plus the cost (which I had to give him Rs25 as a deposit). After he left, all I kept thinking was is this a scam or is it genuine? But it's hardly a scam if all he took from me was Rs25! But it wasn't a scam and I came back at the time he said (3pm) the guy appeared and told me to wait where I was. I saw a western couple walk past and then he and some other guy called to them and then called me over to them. A Toyota jeep was parked up and all together there was 10 of us going to the border. I was in the back on a bench seat with three other Hindu guys.
To get to Atari the best way is to use my way which is to take a trishaw from the Golden Temple to the bus station of Atari. I needed less than 2 hours to settle all the custom crossing procedures including buses and trishaws ride. I started from the Golden Temple by paying a trishaw man 30Rs for quite a distance of ride. If you are not sure, go to the information office inside the Golden Temple to ask, they are one of the most friendly peoples I met so far. When arrive at the bus station, ask people which bus to take to get to Atari, Atari, Atari. Pay the bus conductor 20 or 40Rs, I couldn't quite remember, to the last drop off point in about an hour. The bus will send you to the last drop off point and follow by taking a trishaw again 10Rs each to the border. At the border, you can have relaxing lunch before you enter the gate and meantime do exchange your money, lots of money changers here. After meal, take some photos, look around, toilet survey, etc and bon voyage.
Over at Wagah border, take normal city bus again to Lahore, approx. an hour. The bus is parked in front of the gate of Wagah, so no problem at all. Be expect the whole bus of Pakistanis come to greet you, very common practice in Pakistan.
(last date took the rickshaw - Jan. 28, 2004)
Atari Bus Terminal - Atari Border
Rickshaw fare - Rs 5
From Amritsar Bus Terminal to Atari Bus Terminal, you can now take a rickshaw for Rs 5. But usually they charge foreigners for Rs 10 at the beginning but stand firm...just tell and pay only Rs 5. Of course, you can pay Rs 10 if you want!
(date took the train - Jan. 22, 2004)
From Lahore (Pakistan), we reached the border at 12:30 pm
Passengers specially the foreign travellers were surprised when the immigration officer told us that the train will leave only at 8 in the evening!!!
We waited in this station for 8 solid hours in the middle of coldness night!
Departure time - 8:00 pm
Actual departure time - 8:20 pm
Arrival time - 5:04 am (Jan.23)