A beautiful city in Punjab, India, mainly famous for the Golden Temple, also known as Harmandir Sahib and Atari border (Bagha border).
I always dreamt of visiting this place, and finally got a chance to visit here in May(Summer peak,). Initially, I was in dilemma to whether visit at this time of the year as summers are considered to be super hot at this time. Hence not a favourable time of year to visit.
After a little discussion and planning with one of my friends, we decided to visit Amritsar on a long weekend. We directly booked midnight flights from Pune to Amritsar for saving our time.
The excitement was high so didn’t felt liking sleep. We reached early morning to Amritsar, booked an uber and checked in to the hotel booked online which was located just near the golden temple. The hotel turned out to be a disappointment for us. It was a little different the way it was shown in the pictures. First turnoff of the day. So just to convert our disappointment into satisfaction we got ready, had our free breakfast and left to golden temple.
It was walking distance so it took hardly 10 minutes for us. We submitted our shoes in the shoe placing cloakroom and walked barefooted towards the temple. It was too hot for our feet to handle but at multiple places, proper shades and carpets are provided to avoid any kind of inconvenience.
The first look after entering was amazing. The temple was huge and beautiful. The main temple is plated by pure gold and thus the name. It is surrounded by a man-made super clean lake called ‘Sarovar’/’Amrit Sarovar’. It has lots of exotic fishes in it and we can take the holy bathe in it.
We headed towards the mainline and got darshan in around half an hour. The ‘Kada Prasad’ they offer after darshan is just awesome.
Since our stay was just for 2 days, we also planned to visit the Famous India-Pakistan border Attari border(also k/s Bagha Border) the same day.
The Golden temple is situated just in the main market so while roaming around we inquired and booked a local sharing vehicle to visit Bagha border for 140 INR per person. Interestingly the driver was a young boy with the name ‘Danger’.
We carried two full water bottles and started our journey along with few others around 13:30 IST from mall road. The distance was around 35 km and generally, it takes an hour to reach the destination, but it took around 2 hours for us as our lovely vehicle ran out of fuel in the middle of the journey and we had to wait for someone to help us, we even pushed it for some distance.
We even ran off out of drinking water it in the middle of the journey as the sun was too hot and we had to walk in the hot sun. We were sweating a lot and even little irritated, not knowing what to do as we don’t miss the main parade.
Our cab driver “Mr Danger”, being a localite arranged the fuel as soon as possible and even made sure to make us reach on time so that we can grab the best seats (the seating arrangement is on ‘first come first serve basis’).
As soon as we reached here, we could easily see so many food stalls selling fruits, ice cream, water etc. After parking our vehicle, Mr Danger gave us a few tips and directed us towards the main entrance. There was no entry fee. After a few checkup/ screening, we entered the main area where the parade takes places before sunset every day.
The seating area looked like a small stadium. Initially, we were not happy with the place we got, as it was directly facing the sun, we were sweating and kept looking for a chance to move to a better place. The place starting filling up quickly. There were so many vendors selling caps, water and ice cream inside but was expensive or we can say just double rate. With no options left, we purchased only water.
The ceremony usually starts at 17:15 IST, and around 16:30 IST, they started playing the patriotic songs loudly and you know what,….almost all went at the vacant space in the middle and started dancing. I have never seen such a beautiful crowd. All of them were dancing on the tunes and shouting Indian slogans.
Woah!! Such a great feeling.
Even we joined and danced a lot. It was fun. During the dance, we changed our place and now sat in the opposite direction with a clear view of everything. We could now easily see Pakistan border and the people sitting at their place to watch the parade.
At exact 17:15 IST, the parade started. The ceremony lasted for 45 minutes. These 45 minutes were one of the best times I ever had. I enjoyed every bit of it. The way it is carried out with full enthusiasm was mind-blowing. I didn’t even record/clicked many pictures as I completely enjoyed with my naked eyes. The whole ceremony was amazing and I am recommending everyone to visit here at least once. The place was filled with a different kind of patriotism. It was great.
After the ceremony ended we came out and searched Mr danger and headed back to Amritsar. The whole way now felt good, throughout the way I was super happy after watching the parade.
In the evening, we visited the local market at mall road. We purchased a few beautiful Punjabi dress materials and after little shopping, we again visited the Golden Temple for “Langer”.
As all of us are aware, Free ‘langars’ are served at all gurudwaras, throughout the world. But the langar at the Golden Temple is special indeed. They serve 50000 meals in a day and we were fortunate enough to get a chance to have this delicious meal which includes Rotis(Flatbread), rice, dal (lentils, curry vegetable and kheer(sweet).
After having stomach full meal, we took a round of complete vicinity. The place looked more beautiful at night.
We went and sat just near the Sarovar. The temple was looking very beautiful at night. The reflection of the temple and the full moon in the Sarovar made it more beautiful. So many Fishes can be easily seen and slow soothing ‘Gurbani’ which kept playing through the day was making the place more amazing. Even after the presence of so many people around, the place was giving peaceful vibes. Nobody was in hurry; everything felt slow and calm.
We could easily feel the midnight cool breeze and could not even realize that we’ve spent around 6 hours there sitting and laying down quietly.
The place and the people won my heart. There sweet gestures of serving people just win everyone’s heart. Hundreds of volunteers keep serving every day in the temple be it washing utensils or serving food or cleaning/polishing the shoes. The place was neat and clean and all of them were so kind and helpful.
I would love to visit this place again. With such beautiful memories, we came back to Pune.
Best time to Visit: November to March but we visited in May, it was super hot but still manageable. Budget: Upto 10000 INR(including travel)
Important tips to ponder:
- Both Golden temple and Attari border can be cover in a single day easily but I would recommend keeping three full days for a relaxing trip to Amritsar as there are many other places and famous local dhabas which everyone should visit to have good Punjabi food. As I went just for the weekend, I missed that scrumptious food. Don’t regret like me later.
- Do not miss the Langer at the golden temple.
- Make sure to visit the temple at least once at night to see the beauty and feel the peace by sitting just near the Sarovar and listening to ‘Gurbani’.
- Both males and females must cover their head while in the Gurdwara, so carry a scarf /handkerchief and even the main entrance has some scarfs which you can use and return wile exiting.
- There are so many hotels present nearby golden temple so just going directly and choosing a good hotel is recommended as we were disappointed by our online booking.
- All the people out there are very kind and helpful. If you stuck somewhere feel free to ask for help.
- In the local market, you’ll get all kind of Punjabi dress materials(especially for girls), please bargain as much you can and you can get a good deal.
- Make sure to carry a water bottle while travelling to the Attari border.
- Do carry light coloured and comfortable clothes especially if you are visiting in summers.
- Do carry Sunglasses, Sunscreens, Caps, basic medicines and cash.
- Do carry any original national ID card and keep emergency contact numbers handy.
Happy Tripping 🙂