Spy a golden icon on a pilgrimage to India’s immortal city of Amritsar
India is laced with some glittering experiences but a trip to Punjab’s Amritsar, deep in the far north-west, is truly dazzling – literally. Its gilded shrine is the undisputed star of the city, and it’s now only a single jump away with Air India’s newly launched direct flights from Birmingham. Amritsar’s Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) is Sikhism’s holiest site, and its crowds of pilgrims create an infectious atmosphere for travellers.
Look past the gold, however, and you’ll find the shrine is part of a much wider temple complex – a city within a city. The milky blue waters of Amrit Sarovar – which the city is named after – are skirted by marble walkways, while the Central Sikh Museum houses paintings, manuscripts and a wealth of religious history.
But the Golden Temple isn’t the city’s only wonder, its streets beyond are pocked with further signs of devotion. The highlight is the labyrinthine Mata Temple, smothered in mirrored mosaics, wild carvings and deity statues.
On a more sombre note, the Jallianwala Bagh garden marks a spot where 1,500 demonstrators were killed by British soldiers in 1919, and its history (and that of India) is worth discovering at the onsite museum. Then finish atop the Baba Atal Tower (40m), the highest point in Amritsar – a city with its share of glittering highs.
Where to stay?
The colonial Hotel Ritz Plaza (ritzhotel.in) is a stone’s throw from the Golden Temple and Jallianwala Bagh; doubles from INR2,686PN (£30).
Get there now!
Air India flies twice-weekly from Birmingham to Amritsar. From £505 return; airindia.in
Or how about this…
Easyjet fly from London Luton to Palermo, Italy, three time a week from 27 Mar. From £50.19 return; easyjet.com
All that glitters… The Golden Temple lies at the heart of a much larger complex at the centre of Amritsar