Amritsar
Amritsar is the religious and administrative city of Punjab. A must see destination of India with the magnificent Golden Temple and the story of Jallian Wallah Bagh massacre. Huge glasses of Lassi, delectable Punjabi curries and Indian breads make you for

Location

The holy city in the North of India is the administrative head quarters of the State of Punjab. It is well connected by air and trains. State run buses can be used for commuting within Punjab. This is the only state where buses ply across the border to Pakistan. However, this based on the fragility of the political scenario at a point of time. Check information at the embassy before trying this. Also, there are strict rules regarding Visa for Pakistan.

History

Amritsar,or erstwhile 'Ramdaspur' and 'Guru Ki Nagari' derives its name from its chief destination, the Golden Temple. The pool surrounding the temple is known as the 'pool of nectar' which also translates into 'Amritsar'. It is the most important spiritual destination for the Sikhs and can well be called the cultural centre for the community. It is said that more pilgrims and tourists put together visit the Golden Temple, than the Taj Mahal in Agra. Apart from a glorious Sikh history, the modern reference to Amritsar is often made for the infamous Jalianwala Bagh incident in 1919. The ruthless operation Bluestar in 1984 ended up in the massacre of thousands of innocent Sikhs when fire was opened in a small park on unarmed civilians in protest of the killing of the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. The park is close to the Golden Temple and still bears the ill-fated evidence of bullet marks on the walls.

Cuisine

Punjabi food pretty much defines the rich curries that define North Indian cooking all over the world. The cheerful nature and genuine hospitality of the Sikhs is often shown by copious amount of servings if you are visiting them. Lassi (a cold beverage made of curd) is served in huge glasses with thick cream on top. You must leave all your diet plans at home as this is a sinful delight where richness in food is concerned. Thick dollops of butter on ‘Makki ki Roti’ (Indian Bread) goes very well with a specific green vegetable! This combination is famous through the world to have earned it a winning spot in some of the most lip-smacking dishes of India. The famous butter-chicken is the quintessential Indian cuisine that everyone is familiar with and one can find plenty here. The veggies should not be disappointed as fresh picks from the fields are in plenty!

Language

The chief language spoken in Amritsar is Punjabi, but however one can get around with Hindi quite easily. Being a tourist destination, people are also familiar with English to get by. As helpful as Indians are one can never e stuck on the grounds of communication. Someone or the other is bound to come to your rescue in minutes and help you translate.

Attractions

The magnificence of the Golden Temple and the infamous history that lives in Jalianwala Bagh are two relevant sight-seeing destinations. Visit the temple early in the morning as the chants of the prayers waft through the peaceful sleepy town. Also, having a look at the fully lit Golden Temple at night is yet another exclusive experience. Ensure that you get a guide for the Jalianwala Bagh so you get the correct context of the place. Apart from these two places, one can also see the Mata Temple, Summer Palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Ram Tirth. Mata Temple is dedicated to a female saint called Lal Devi and resembles a Hindu cave temple. The former palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh is now a museum which exhibits exclusive oil paintings, weapons and coins from that era. The Golden temple has a massive library which many people do not visit! It will be something unique to do! Read more
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