A trip to the holy city of Amritsar is incomplete without seeking a blessing at the magnificent Golden Temple (Sri Harmandir Sahib).Located in the state of Punjab, one can easily get to Amritsar airport by direct flights from Mumbai or via flights from Delhi .From Chandigarh, Amritsar is only a five hrs drive and offers plenty of stay options from farm stays to 5 star hotels .Begin your journey in Amritsar by visiting the Golden Temple which is built on square platform in the centre of the Amrit Sarovar (tank) .Amritsar literally means ‘Pool of Nectar’. The four entrances of this temple from all four directions, signify a welcome to all people irrespective of their caste, colour or creed (Please cover your head, women with a dupatta or scarf and men with a handkerchief, before entering the temple premises as a mark of respect). It’s indeed an unique and divine experience to offer the ‘Seva’ or service here at the community kitchen or ‘Langar’ which serves free meals to thousands of pilgrims visiting the temple every day. Here you can either opt for actually helping in the preparation of meals or in serving the meals to the visitors. Do complete your visit by tasting the Karah Parshad (made with equal quantity of Wheat flour, sugar and ghee) which is also regarded as the food blessed by the Guru.
Talking about foodies, a stop at the Bharawan da Dhaba opposite Town Hall/ Brothers Dhaba or Kesar Dhaba for lip smacking Amritsari Kulcha Chole severed with Tangy Potato Curry and later head to the Ahuja Milk Bhandar near Hindu college to cool your stomach with a chilled glass of Sweet Creamy Lassi or a try out their delicious Firni. There are many shops outside the Golden temple which specialize in selling a variety of homemade pickles, papads and warian( which can be used in curries and vegetables). For all you non veg lovers, Amritsar is famous for Makhan fish Corner or Surjit Food Plaza that serves Amritsar Macchi (deep fried fish with spicy coating, served with mint chutney) or try out their Tandoori /Butter Chicken.
After feasting in this food lover’s paradise, ladies will have a great time to burn off their calories by shopping at the Katra Jaimal Singh market for traditional juttis (shoes) and phulkari duppatas. A must buy are colorful Phulkari Dupattas or suits which have flower shaped embroidery work, and range from Rupees 400 to 3500 depending on the quality of fabric and embroidery. Walking through the colorful array of fabrics in the market street is a visual delight. There are plenty of shops outside the Golden temple premises which sell Karas( metallic bangles), Kirpans (draggers) ,swords, or articles of religious importance.
Also if you have time to spare one evening before sunset do visit the lowering of the flag ceremony at the India- Pakistan border ( Wagah Border) to witness the synchronized parades by the soldiers of both the countries. You can also visit the Jallianwala Bagh memorial gardens near the Golden Temple which has a deep importance in India’s freedom struggle
Indeed this city should be on your list for a short getaway as it has something to offer for everyone for foodies to the kudis (girls) .So get ready to pray, eat and shop
(Team Veena World)