Amritsar, the city known for Golden Temple or Harmandir Sahib, is a beautiful amalgamation of folklore, culture, history and food. The southern side of the city has glimpse of the bygone era with the presence of Golden Temple (Swarn Mandir) and other structures that have withstood the test of time. By contrast, the northern side of the city is all about modern structures, fine dining restaurants and more. It is not only a significant center of Sikh religion, but is also the culinary capital of India. And guess what you can take a complete trip of this great city within 48 hours too! Do not believe it? Well, here is a a two-day Amritsar sightseeing itinerary for you.
#1: Golden Temple
4 AM: Watch the temple turn golden
Yes, you read it right, you need to head out by 4 AM to witness an exceptional view of Golden Temple in Amritsar. As you reach the Harmandir Sahib, the sun would start lighting up the sky and this gives you a chance to witness the golden rays of the sun light up the spires and domes of this great temple. It would also be the ideal time to attend the pre-dawn payer. After the prayers are finished, queue up to receive the delicious Kara Prasad. Kara Prasad here tastes different from anywhere else in the world. Another advantage of visiting the Golden Temple this early is that you get to stroll around without the madding crowds. This temple is the foremost among places to visit in Amritsar and it remains ever crowded, but not this early! So, you will have ample scopes to admire the architectural wonders of the Swarn Mandir. There is a rectangular platform on which the temple is situated and it is surrounded by a pool of water called the Amrit Sarovar. The temple is decorated with real gold. But before you move inside the temple, do cover your head and remove your shoes.
- Temple Timings: 3 AM to 10 PM
- Tip: Do carry an empty container to carry some Kara Prasad back.
8 AM: Breakfast at Kanha Sweets
Amritsar tourism is as much known for its food, as its heritage monuments. So, start your Amritsari food adventure at Kanha Sweets, situated on Lawrence Road. This restaurant serves the best Puri Chole in the town. They are known for their soft fresh golden Puris along with a delectable chole curry. You will not forget this taste for a very long time! After a hot helping of puri chole, do visit Ahuja Lassi near Hindu College as these guys are the benchmark for Lassi.
#2: Jallianwala Bagh
8 AM: Honor the ultimate sacrifices
Head to Jallianwala Bagh after breakfast and witness the gory details of the bloody day that took place on April 13, 1919, when hundreds of innocent Indians were killed in a shootout ordered by General Dyer. These people were participating in a meeting at the Bagh. The memorial designed by American architect, Benjamin Polk, came into being after India gained independence. There is a narrow passage, which leads to Jallianwala Bagh and has a stone plaque with ‘this is the place where the bullets were fired from’ on it. The well, in which people jumped, especially women with their children, in order to save themselves, has been preserved. Bullet holes can be still seen on the walls.
- Timings: 6:30 AM – 7:30 PM
- Must taste: Head to Gurdas Ram Jalebi Wala near the monument for the best and pocket friendly jalebis you will ever lay your hands on.
#3: Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum
10:30 AM: Appreciate the Royal way of life
Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum at Ram Bagh, was Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s summer palace. There is a beautiful garden around it called Ram Bagh and the museum gives you a glimpse into the Maharaja’s life with exhibits of arms, armor, paintings, old coins, and manuscripts. There is a beautiful painting at the museum that depicts the city of Lahore.
- Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM
- Entry fee: INR 40 for adults, INR 20 for children
12:30 PM: Lunch at Pal da Dhaba
After a bit of history hunting it is now time to treat yourself to a hearty meal. So, head to Pal da Dhaba at Hathi Gate. They serve best Kharode (lamb trotters) with Lachha Parathas loaded with butter. If you are a strict vegetarian, then visit Bharawan Da Dhaba near Golden Temple. This place offers awesome stuffed kulchas with chole. The seasonal Makki di roti and sarson da saag is a must have.
#4: Ram Tirath
1:30 PM: Witness mythology unfold
About 11 KM away from Amritsar’s heart, lies Ram Tirath. This is an ancient pilgrimage destination dating back to the times of Ramayana. Rishi Valmiki is said to have written Ramayana at Ram Tirath. Legends state that Lord Ram and Sita’s sons, Luv and Kush, were born here. There is an old hut here which is believed to have been once resided by Rishi Valmiki!
- Timings: 6 AM – 8 PM
#5: Wagah Border
3 PM: Get all Patriotic
When in Amritsar, you simply cannot afford to miss the special retreat ceremony held at Wagah Border. This is one of the must visit tourist places in Amritsar, and the retreat ceremony has been taking place here every single day since 1959. The ceremony starts about half-an-hour before the sunset and is greeted with much enthusiasm on either side of the border. People on both sides cheer their men. It is indeed a great spectacle and far moved from hatred, anguish and tension within the minds and hearts of people in both the countries. The Border Security Force (BSF) encourages women and children to dance on Bollywood numbers with national flags in their hands near the border gates.
- Wagah Border timings: 10 AM – 4 PM
- Retreat Ceremony timings: 4:15 – 5:15 PM
9 PM: Dinner at Makhan Fish
When in Amritsar you have got to try the popular Amritsari fish fry and this place does it the best. Both fried, as well as oven baked fish, is what you will get here. There are other dishes made using mutton and chicken too. It is a non-vegetarians’ haven. The fish dishes are served by weight. It is a very simple quaint place; so, do not expect any fancy sit out etc. Simply, come, order, eat and enjoy. Vegetarians can try Bade Bhai Ka Brothers Dhaba near Town Hall for an authentic Amritsari experience.
8 AM: Breakfast at Sanjha Chullha
After a day-long Amritsar sightseeing, it would be apt to allow this day to roll past at a leisurely pace. So, start with a delicious breakfast at Sanjha Chulha, which is any vegetarian’s favorite place. Do try their special Thali with lassi for breakfast. This simple yet authentic place is situated at Lawrence Road.
#6: Gobindgarh Fort
9 AM: History hunting
Post breakfast, start for the Gobindgarh Fort situated on Old Cantonment Road. This marvelous fort was built by the army of Gujjar Singh Bhangi. Later in 1805 to 1809, the place was given a facelift by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The fort has a square pattern and has two gates with a rampart. The two gates called Nalwa Gate and Keelar Gate are supposedly connected to the tunnel of Lahore. The fort is now taken care of by the Indian Army.
- Timings: 10 AM – 10 PM
- Entry fee: INR 25
- Tip: The Light & Sound show here is very attractive and a must watch.
#7: Guru Ka Langar
11 AM: Visit the World’s Largest Community Kitchen
Guru Ka Langar feeds about a lakh people every day and hundreds of people work together to make the langar work. There’s no charge to eat here, all they ask for is voluntary help. Right from cooking to washing the utensils, volunteers are needed to carry out the chores. It is highly recommended that you do community service here and follow the Sikh principles of hospitality, community service and charity. For lunch you can have simple yet tasty servings of dal, roti and rajma. It is popular belief that no one goes to bed hungry in Amritsar and the credit goes to Guru Ka Langar. Visit here for a truly humbling experience working as a volunteer as well as tasting the Prasad for lunch.
#8: Central Sikh Museum
2 PM: Witness the history of Sikhs
Head to the Central Sikh Museum, after Guru Ka Langar, and peep into the history of the Sikhs’ and Operation Bluestar. The museum that came into existence in 1958 has a gallery with portraits of Sikh gurus, prominent warriors, saints. It is situated nearby the Guru Ka Langar at Golden Temple Road.
- Timings: 9 AM – 9 PM
4 PM: Evening Snacks at Giani Tea Stall
Head to Cooper Road and take a bite into hot fresh Kachoris with chai at the famous Giani Tea Stall. There is no seating arrangement here, so stay ready to stand and have a bite.
4:30 PM: Shopping at Hall Bazaar
After a fulfilling day, reach Hall Bazaar, where you will find all that Amritsar has to offer in terms of shopping in Punjab. You will get handicraft, books, home décor items, electronics, Punjabi juttis, Phulkari sarees, suits, dupattas and a lot more. Visit Raunak Punjabi Jutti (Shop 16–17) and Rangat Punjabi Jutti (Shop 10) outside Hall Gate for beautiful juttis and Raja Exclusive (near Arya Samaj Mandir) for Phulkari.
9 PM: Dinner at Beera Chicken
As simple as it gets, Beera Chicken is a no-fancy place serving finger-licking chicken. Seating is limited but they will be happy to serve you in your car. The Chicken Tikka with Keema Naan is highly recommended, along with Tandoori Chicken. For all the vegetarians out there, Kaser Da Dhaba located at Chowk Passian is the place to go. They serve the best Maa di Daal in the city. Do try Baingan Bharta, Paalak Paneer and Lacha Paratha too. To finish off the Amritsar tour on a sweet note, visit A-one Kulfa. Their special Kulfa is made with Phirni sliced in three portions and a huge dollop of Badam Pista Kulfi. This is then topped with Faluda, Rabri and dry fruits. A hint of kewra is also added. It tastes divine!
Now that you know, plan a quick trip to Amritsar on the next long weekend you have at hand. Do not forget to book tour package from RailYatri, for a hassle free trip experience.