THE GOLDEN CITY BECK­ONS

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Travel - AirAsia X flies direct 4 x weekly from Kuala Lumpur to Am­rit­sar, In­dia.

AM­RIT­SAR, the largest and most im­por­tant city in Pun­jab, In­dia, is a ma­jor com­mer­cial, cul­tural and trans­porta­tion cen­tre.

The cen­ter of Sikhism, Am­rit­sar is home to hun­dreds of thou­sands of Sikhs and is the chief pil­grim­age des­ti­na­tion for Sikhs all over the world. It is also the site of the Sikhs’ prin­ci­pal place of wor­ship – the Har­mandir Sahib (Golden Tem­ple).

Am­rit­sar is also home to the first veg­e­tar­ian McDon­ald’s in the world.

The list of in­ter­est­ing places to visit would def­i­nitely in­clude the Golden Tem­ple – the most sa­cred of Sikh shirnes. Lo­cated in the heart of Am­rit­sar, this ever-in­cre­sas­ingly pop­u­lar tourist at­trac­tion is a ma­jor pil­grim­age des­ti­na­tion for devo­tees across the world.

Also known as Sri Har­mandir Sahib (House of God), this tem­ple was con­structed with real gold back in 1577 by Guru Ar­jan Dev Ji. In keeping with the Sikh tra­di­tion of “lan­gar”, the Golden Tem­ple feeds about 40,000 peo­ple a day for free.

An­other shrine to visit is Takht Sri Kesh­garh Sahib, the prin­ci­ple shrine of Anand­pur Sahib – the historic site where, on Vaisakhi in 1699, Guru Gobind Singh Ji ini­ti­ated his fol­low­ers into the or­der of the Khalsa (One Sikh Na­tion).

Re­built in the 20th cen­tury, Takht Sri Kesh­garh Sahib con­tains the sanc­tum sanc­to­rum where the be­long­ings of Guru Gobind Singh – a khanda, a dag­ger and sev­eral spears – are pre­served.

For a taste of na­ture, you must make a visit to Hari-Ke Wet­land and Wildlife Sanc­tu­ary. This wet­land ecosys­tem is an in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised bird sanc­tu­ary.

Dur­ing win­ter, thou­sands of mi­gra­tory birds ar­rive from the Hi­malayas, Europe and Siberia, mak­ing it the best time to visit. The wet­land is also home to sev­eral species of tur­tles, snakes and fish and the rare In­dus River Dol­phin can also be seen here.

Con­nect with the her­itage of Pun­jab at Sadda Pind, a Pun­jab vil­lage re­sort spread across five hectares of land lo­cated on the out­skirts of Am­rit­sar. This is where you can ex­pe­ri­ence the au­then­tic cul­ture, colours and flavours of Pun­jab, all in one place.

An­other in­ter­est­ing place is Gobindgarh Fort, a historic fort lo­cated in the cen­tre of the city of Am­rit­sar.

Once oc­cu­pied by the army, as of Feb 10, 2017 it is open to the pub­lic.

To­day the fort is be­ing de­vel­oped as a unique live mu­seum – a repos­i­tory of Pun­jab’s his­tory.

An­other ex­pe­ri­ence not to be missed is the low­er­ing of the flags cer­e­mony at the Wa­gah bor­der – a daily mil­i­tary prac­tice that the se­cu­rity forces of In­dia (Bor­der Se­cu­rity Force) and Pak­istan (Pak­istan Rangers) have jointly fol­lowed since 1959.

Char­ac­terised by elab­o­rate and rapid dance-like ma­noeu­vres which have been de­scribed as “colour­ful”, it is al­ter­na­tively a sym­bol of the two coun­tries’ ri­valry as well as broth­er­hood and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two na­tions.

This cer­e­mony takes place every evening be­fore sun­set at the Wa­gah bor­der, which was part of the Grand Trunk Road, the only road link be­tween th­ese two coun­tries be­fore the open­ing of the Aman Setu in Kash­mir in 1999.

Am­rit­sar is the largest and most im­por­tant city in Pun­jab, In­dia.

An ex­pe­ri­ence not to be missed is the low­er­ing of the flags cer­e­mony at the Wa­gah bor­der.

Am­rit­sar holds many in­ter­est­ing places to visit.

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