THE GOLDEN CITY BECKONS
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.