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Best Places To Visit Near Amritsar - Weekend Getaways
The city of the Golden Temple, Amritsar is on most northern tour itineraries. But have you ever wondered where else can you go if you already live in this beautiful Punjabi city? Of course, there are plenty of options; from the hill stations up north in Himachal to the historical cities east — Delhi, Agra etc. But which places are nearer and which are farther? How much time does it take to reach them? Can you do a weekend trip easily? Well, if you’ve been wondering that and searching for the best places to visit near Amritsar for a weekend getaway, then here’s our little list for you!
A town on the banks of Sutlej, Ferozepur is popular for its Punjabi history and the connection it has to the Tuqhlaq Dynasty. Located 130 km from Amritsar, this town is perfect for a short weekend away, especially if you are into touring historical sites and monuments — there is the Pothimala, Gurudwara Gurusar, Jain Mandir etc; and war memorials and museums like National Martyrs Memorial, Anglo Sikh War Memorial, Saragarhi Memorial, and Barki Memorial. Winter months are best for a visit.
Located up north of Punjab, in the Jammu region of the UT of Jammu & Kashmir, Vaishno Devi is a pilgrimage centre named after the goddess who resides in one of the caves. It is a revered and highly coveted pilgrimage, taken by many Hindus by hiking up the mountain to the cave of the deity. From Amritsar, Vaishno Devi is 268 km away, which takes almost 5 hours to cover. But the time spent hiking and going for darshan of the goddess is worth every second, with loud chants of devotees, colourful flags and scarfs flying. After the trip, you can also explore the Jammu City or check out other temples nearby like Bhairavnath temple, Shiv Khori caves or the Ardh Kumari cave.
In the Dhaulandhar Ranges, surround by green pastures and serenity, Palampur is a town that is perfect to just relax and rejuvenate. Tea plantations here are the best, suffusing the mountain air with their sweet fragrance. What also works in Palampur’s favour is that it is relatively tourist free, giving you the space to just be. And because it is just 229 km away from Amritsar, you can take an impromptu trip without any preplanning. The summer and winter months are perfect for a weekend getaway.
The jewel of Kangra Valley, Dharamsala is one of the most picturesque hill stations in the mountains of Himachal. Another town in the Dhaulandhar Ranges, Dharamsala is bifurcated into the upper and lower Dharamsala, with the lower part serving as the town for hospitals, schools and government offices while the northern part serving as mostly residential. The upper part is hence called Mcleod Ganj, home to the the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama. You get to enjoy some of the best cafes, hilly, snow-covered hikes, tattoo studios, indie bands and an astonishing crowd of young people. Dharamsala is around 208 km from Amritsar and best visited in summers.
In Dalhousie, you will be in for lots of hiking, solo backpacking, sightseeing and drinking hot chocolate. The hill station is home to five gorgeous hills that are dotted by Victorian style residences courtesy the British. The best time for a weekend getaway to Dalhousie is summer months from April to November. Since it is only 204 km from Amritsar, you can easily plan a trip and escape the summer heat of the city.
The land of gods, Kangra is a spiritual retreat as well as a beauty that has no comparison. It is a sightly offbeat tourist place but if you are into trekking then do make it a point to get away from Amritsar for a short weekend. Kangra Fort, Chamunda Devi Temples, the Art Museum are just some of the places to visit around here. There are also lush orchards, tea gardens and hike trails across pine forests for you to enjoy! Kangra is 203 km from Amritsar.
Khajjiar is called by many — the Switzerland of India. Perched on an elevation of 6500 ft, this hill station, like many others, is surrounded by lush green meadows, deodar and pine forests, icy peaks and paradise-like sceneries. Lying 225 km away from Amritsar, Khajjiar is also home to many 12th Century temples. Trekking, picnics and zorbing are just some of the fun things to do here. So if you are hunting a place to escape Amritsar’s scorching heat, then Khajjiar it is!
The half of the union territory of Jammu And Kashmir, the Jammu region is home to Dogri and Punjabi population. Known for attractions like Vaishno Devi and Raghunath temple, excavation sites of Akhnoor, Bagh-e-bahu garden and Dogra Art museum, Jammu is perfect for a nice long weekend away from Amritsar. About 217 km from the City of Golden Temple, Jammu is on most itineraries during the winter season, as its winter-spring months are quite pleasant.
Chamba is a town in the state of Himachal Pradesh, located on the pretty confluence of River Sal and Ravi. It is not a popular hill station or tourist spot, hence is untouched by tourist hands for the most part. You can travel from Amritsar to Chamba for a weekend in its serene backdrops. Additionally, Chamba also has a rich, almost 2000 year old history. So along with forests and lakes and rivers and snowy mountains, you will also get to see ancient temples and ruins. Summer is a great time to visit.
Named after the demon king Jalandhar, this is a unique city. Also, since the city lies between the two rivers —Sutlej and Beas, it is called Jalandhar (the one that lies underwater). Home to forts, museums, temples and gurudwaras, Jalandhar is a great escapade for history and lore lovers. From Amritsar, it is not much far; only about 90 km. Trains are also a good way to ply between the two cities. Since summers here are just as hot as Amritsar, you should pick a time between October and March to visit Jalandhar.
Named after a Sufi saint, Faridkot is home to some of the most beautiful gurudwaras. Aside from these gurudwaras, visit the Qila Mubarak, Fairy Cottage and Raj Mahal. Farid Mela organised in this town between 15th Sep-23rd Sep is also a great place to unearth the culture and history of Faridkot. From Amritsar, Faridkot is 128 km away, hence a weekend trip is pretty inevitable now or then. September is great for a visit if you want to visit the Farid Mela, but weather-wise, October to January is better.