It does not matter how many times you have visited Amritsar, you will be spellbound each time. Whether it is the raw and rustic feel of the old city, chaotic alleyways, and spiritual feel at the Harmandir Sahib, dominating aromas from the age old dhabas, a sea of people with colored pagris or the buzzing local markets, the city has a distinct character and many untold stories. From painful partition narratives to the food capital of India, Amritsar celebrates everything.
More than anything, you will be blown away by the hospitality and generosity of the people of Amritsar. The people of this historic city have experienced a lot during the partition times, yet their welcoming nature is simply incredible.
The perfect example of pure devotion of the Sikh people is seen on the premises of the Golden temple. The selfless dedication, warmth in the behavior, and the true sense of spirituality floors me each time I visit the iconic Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar.
Whether you are a backpacker, solo traveler, or a luxury traveler, the city offers varied experiences for everyone. From hostels, Airbnb’s, guest houses, budget accommodations to ultimate luxury hotels, you will get everything in abundance.
What are the top experiences in Amritsar which should not be missed?
Whether you are going to spend 24 hours or a week in Amritsar, you should not skip the top Amritsar experiences, which include visiting some of the must visit tourist places, relishing the delectable cuisine in the most famous eating joints, and walk in the alleyways of the local markets to get a sense of the local lifestyle. Let’s Find Out:
The Golden Temple
No visit to Amritsar is complete without paying a visit to the most famous tourist attraction named the Golden Temple. This is not just a religious place, but is regarded as one of the most sacred spiritual places for the Sikh community in the world. Also known as the Sri Harmandir Sahib, the temple complex was founded by the Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das in 1574. The golden temple was completed in 1604. It was Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who covered the upper part of the main structure of the temple in gold in 1830. The Gurudwara is known for their largest community kitchen in the world where they serve more than 10,000 devotees daily.
As soon as you step inside the Gurudwara complex, you have to submit your shoes and cover your head. It is advisable to carry a scarf for that purpose; otherwise you are provided the same at the premises. The very first look of the dazzling golden temple in the night leaves you in awe.
Also Read: ITC’s Welcomhotel Amritsar: The Brand New Luxury Hotel in Amritsar, Punjab
It instills a sense of spirituality immediately. It makes you calm within and you feel like sitting by the pool just to admire the spectacular beauty of the illuminating golden temple in the dark. The continuous flow of people irrespective of time, the spiritual aura, faith in their faces and the selfless Seva by the Sikh people are absolutely incredible.
Location: Golden Temple Rd, Atta Mandi, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab 143006
Entry Fee: This holy place has no entry fees.
Timing: Everyday -3 AM to 11 PM
What are the top places around the Golden Temple?
There are a few must visit places located around the Golden Temple. You can opt for a rickshaw to explore or if you like walking, you can cover a few of these places on foot as well.
- Jallianwala Bagh
- Partition Museum
- Durgiana Temple
- Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum
- Fawwara Chowk Amritsar
- Ramgarhia Bunga
- Kesar Da Dhaba
- Khairuddin Mosque
- Iskcon temple
- Gobindgarh Fort
Another must visit place in the holy city of Amritsar is Jallianwala Bagh. Within a walking distance of the Golden Temple premises, you can visit this historical site. The 7-acre garden complex is the most tragic reminder of the famous Jallianwala Bagh massacre that occurred on the festival of Vaisakhi on 13th April 1919. The garden complex houses a well, a museum, gallery and a few memorial structures. It is one of the popular tourist attractions in Amritsar and it gets a large number of tourists every day.
Location: Golden Temple Road
Timings: 6:30 am to 7:30 pm; Everyday
When in Amritsar, you can’t miss visiting the iconic Wagah border to see the Wagah-Attari border ceremony. Located 32 km away from Amritsar city, the geographical border between India and Pakistan is one of the main attractions for the tourist. Every day in the afternoon, the Indian Army performs the ceremony with high enthusiasm, precision and high voltage drama.
The crowd, which includes civilians and tourists sing along and dance to the most patriotic songs that play to cheer the crowd. The highly disciplined parade showcased by the Indian Army is one of the highlights of the ceremony.
I absolutely loved the way the army motivates and encourages people to participate equally from their respective seats. It is quite amazing that everyday the stadium is filled with crowds. The high pitch slogans, fluttering Indian Flags in the air and a documentary that is played on the large LED screen certainly contribute to create the aura.
The “Beating the Retreat” ceremony performed by India and Pakistan army from both sides of the gate, is a sheer spectacle. The way they march towards the border gate in perfect synchronized manner, taking down the Indian National Flag and closing the border for the night, is something one should witness in person. It surely gives you Goosebumps.
Location: Attari border
Timings: 6:30 am to 7:30 pm; every day
Visiting the Partition Museum is one of the top experiences you should certainly indulge in. It takes you back to the days of partition times when shattering painful partition narratives became part of our history. The museum is one of the top places to visit in the city of Amritsar. Each photograph, videos, and audio provides you everything that you need to know about the partition that two nations had to go through in 1947.
Whether it is the political scenario of that time, the plight of people from both sides of the border, the mass migration of people on foot, horror stories of atrocities, separation tales of loved ones, forced conversions of religion to survive or tales of those who survived the dark phase of the partition, I became numb while actually living those days through audios and videos inside the museum. More than 20 million people were affected due to the partition of India and Pakistan.
You can go through the multi-media experience in the museum through audio video stations set across the 14 galleries. You will see Refugee Artifacts, Oral history, virtual gallery, Art pieces and Archival Material in the museum. This is the world’s first partition museum and is highly recommended for everyone to visit it at least once.
Location: Hall Road, Town Hall, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar
Timings: 10AM to 6 PM (Tues to Sun), Closed on Mondays
Entry Fee: Indian Nationals: INR 10/- , Foreign Nationals: INR 250/- . ENTRY FREE FOR Children (5 years and below) and Partition Survivors
The Gobindgarh fort is one of the must visit places in Amritsar. Originally known as the Bhagian da Qilla, the mud fort was built by Gujar Singh Bhangi in the 18th century and hence the fort was named after his name. Later, Maharaja Ranjit Singh renamed the fort as Gobindgarh Fort after Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Guru of the Sikhs in the 19th century. The fort was opened to civilians on 10th February 2017 as a live heritage museum. While visiting the Gobindghar fort, don’t miss the Light and Sound Show named Whispering Walls.
Duration: 30 minutes everyday
Language: Punjabi and English
Timings: 7:15 pm (Punjabi); 7:45 pm (English)
The Fort houses museums, bazaars, café, dhaba, etc. One of the attractions of the Fort is the famous Pagdi Museum, where different kinds of turbans from allacross Punjab are on display for visitors. The Fort also has a7D show directed by Ketan Mehta, named Sher e Punjab.
Location: Old Cantt. Road, Vijay Chowk
Timings: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm; every day
- INR 150 to 649 per head for Indians depending on the attractions you want to include in the package.
- INR 250 to 1000 per head for foreigners.
Buy Phulkari dupattas at Katra Jaimal Singh Bazaar
How can you not shop for the colorful phulkari dupattas when in Amritsar? The best place to buy it is at Katra Jaimal Singh Bazaar. The wholesale market is crowded with shops selling vibrant colorful dupattas everywhere.Located just within walking distance from the partition museum, the market is buzzing all the time.
The shops are selling saris, suits, Punjabi jutti and garments for both men and women. The bustling streets are packed with retail shops, restaurants, and street vendors. This is one of the popular local markets in Amritsar and mainly known for the reasonable price range of everything you get here. This market is located in old Amritsar and can be covered on foot from the Golden Temple.
Relish food at the legendary Kesar da Dhaba
After you are done with your shopping, the best place to head for lunch is the legendary Kesar Da Dhaba. Negotiating the narrow lanes of the old Amritsar, the expert rickshaw driver can take you on a ride of your time to reach the dhaba. The place is always packed with visitors. If you arrive during the peak hours, you have to wait until you grab a seat. We waited more than half an hour to get a table. The food here is beyond legendary. The most famous dish is Dal Tadka, but more than that, I absolutely loved the palak paneer.
Before partition, the Dhaba was located in Sheikhupura, Pakistan and it belonged to Lt. Lala Kesar Mal and his wife Lt. Smt. Parvati. Later, after independence the Dhaba was shifted to Amritsar.
Tandoori Roti at Kesar Da Dhaba, Amritsar, Punjab
Since then, the Kesar Da Dhaba has been serving the best food and has become the highly visited Dhaba in Amritsar. It has collected numerous media mentions for its mouth-watering food and the services. After having their thali, you will definitely go into food coma. It is the most delicious meal you will ever relish in Amritsar.
Do not miss having Lassi at Gian Di Lassi
If you are fond of Lassi/Buttermilk, you must visit the most famous Gian Di Lassi, located in the heart of the city. The family run shop has been running since 1937. You get two different types of Lassi like Makhan Malai Wali Lassi and Perre Wali Lassi. The age old shop has been sourcing the milk locally and serving the best Lassi in the city. Especially, in the summer months, the shop gets maximum crowds,including locals and the tourists. The freshly made Lassi tastes heavenly in the torching heat of summer.They serve Buttermilk in the traditional tall steel glasses.
Buy Aam Papad at Ram Lubhaya and Sons
Don’t forget to buy the famous aam-papad (slices of mango preserve) and badiyan (sun-dried savouries) from the popular Ram Lubhaya and Sons in Amritsar. While buying variety of aam-papad available in the shop, you can also taste the famous aam papad chaat. The loud taste of the chaat stays in your mouth for some time. It is tangy and spicy at the same time. It has a very strong and distinctive flavor of its own.
Which are the Top 10 eating joints in Amritsar?
Amritsar celebrates food like no other, at least in north India. Whether it’s Amritsari Kulcha, makhan lassi, chole, fish tikka, spicy chicken, kulfi to quintessential sarson da saag and makki di roti, the city knows how to make people happy and compel them to come back again, only to relish palatable traditional cuisine in the holy city of Punjab. Find out the top places to have a great gastronomic experience in Amritsar.
- Kesar Da Dhaba for their legendary veg thali ( Location: Chowk Passian, Near Telephone Exchange, Amritsar Cantonment)
- Beera Chicken House for best roasted chicken (Location: Majitha Road, Sehaj Avenue, Opposite Bandari Hospital)
- Bharawan Da Dhabafor Chole Kulche (Location: Hall Bazar, Golden Temple Out Road, Town Hall, Katra Ahluwalia)
- Makhan Fish and Chicken Cornerfor Fish Amritsari (Location: Basant Nagar, 21 A, Near Madaan Hospital. Majitha Road)
- Bhai Kulwant Singh Kulchian Wale for famous Kulcha (Location: Bazar Bikaneria, Near Golden Temple, Katra Ahluwalia)
- Sharma Sweet Shop for Bun Samosa &ElaichiChai. Don’t miss the flat GulabJamuns (Location: Hathi Gate, near DAV College)
- Monu Kulcha Hut for Amritsari Kulcha (Location: Gali No, 10, Ranjit Vihar, N.R.I. Colony, NRI Colony, Gumtala Loharka Road)
- Bittu Meat Wala for Tandoori Mutton (Location: Ram Tali, Jahajgarh)
- Gian Di Lassi forMakhan Malai Wali Lassi and Perre Wali Lassi (location: Opposite Regent Cinema, Katra Sher Singh)
- Kanha Sweets for Puri Chole (Location: Lawrence Road)
- Ahuja’s Milk products & Sweets for Kesar Lassi and Phirni (Location: Basant Avenue)
Which are the Top Local Markets in Amritsar?
If you are a shopaholic, Amritsar will not disappoint you. Rather, the local markets of Amritsar will take you to its narrow lanes, packed with traditional attires, clothing materials, famous phulkari dupattas, suits, sarees, jewelry, PunjabiJuttis and many more. Find out the top local markets in Amritsar below …
- Katra Jaimal Singh Bazaar is a wholesale market, mainly known for the apparels for both women and men. You will get a variety of Phulkari Dupattas here. Visiting this market should be on your list of top Amritsar experiences. (Location: Near Hall Bazaar, Amritsar)
- Hall Bazaaris one of the oldest markets in Amritsar. Mainly known for dress materials, gadgets, lamps, Punjabi Juttis, (Location: Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar)
- Lahori Gate Marketis one budget friendly market where you can go for bargaining on your purchase. Mainly known for the clothing, jam, papad,etc. (Location: Near Lahori Gate, Amritsar)
- Guru Bazaaris one of the famous markets among locals, mainly known for gold and silver jewellery. (Location: Shiv Puri, New Amritsar)
- Kapda Bazaar is primarily known for the traditional apparels, dress materials, etc. (Location: Kapda bazaar, Amritsar)
- Old City bazaarhas a distinct charm and one of the top Amritsar experiences to have in the city. The old world charm is evident in the market which is mainly known for the Punjabi Juttis, Bangles and other garments. (Location: Old City, Amritsar)
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Visit the Serene Golden Temple When in Amritsar, the very first thing that you should line up is to visit the worldwide famous Golden temple. The beauty of the place is literally a treat to the eyes and the peaceful surrounding of the place is something that can relax you from inside out.