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Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK) - - Contents -

Spy a golden icon on a pil­grim­age to India’s im­mor­tal city of Am­rit­sar

Why go?

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

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