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Things To Do In Amritsar
Amritsar is a beautiful North-Indian city that was formed in 1577 by Guru Ram Das. The town is famous as a cultural and spiritual hub for devout Sikh pilgrims. The Baisakhi festivities are famous all over India for the sheer quality of the food cooked around every nook and cranny, the special Punjabi dresses, and all the fun and frolic going on around town. Amritsar's rich historical roots and cultural heritage means that a visit to historical landmarks such as Jallianwala Bagh and the Wagah Border crossing involves a patriotic touch. Apart from this, tourists can also visit some of the sacred shrines in the city, discover tranquil spots at the wetlands and the bird sanctuary, or try on fascinating military attire. Let us look at some of the things to do when in Amritsar.
Put on Punjabi Attire
Punjabi clothes are famous for being bright-colored, bubbly, and cheerful. This traditional attire includes items such as the peculiar short kameez, the classic all-white kurta and pajama, and the famous Patiala salwar. Tourists can even take it up a notch and try on a Punjabi turban to get into the shoes of an average Punjabi man. Drive to one of the many shopping hubs in town to find your desired traditional attire and slip on some fine Punjabi getups with ease. Visitors cannot leave Amritsar without trying out the jackets, shawls, saris, and suits that have been ingrained with the most exceptional Phulkari artwork. Phulkari dupattas occupy a special place within the wardrobe of every Amritsar family.
Get acquainted with the Local Inhabitants
Punjabis are renowned all over India for their happy go lucky nature and their hospitality. The passion with which they go through life's different phases and the vigor with which they celebrate even the smallest of achievements shows how remarkable they are. If you manage to make friends with anyone of these welcoming locals, you can rest assured that it would only help add more fun and frolic to your trip. Put on a typical Punjabi outfit and partake in some of the vibrant celebrations that take place during festivals such as Baisakhi and Lohri. The radiating colors of the traditional dresses only add to the joyous mood that these nonchalant locals.
Visit the Crossing at Wagah Border
The Wagah Border forms the boundary between India and Pakistan. Since 1959, the local authorities have hosted a retreat ritual named "lowering of the flags" at this venue. Several domestic as well as international tourists throng the border every day before sunset to experience military forces from both sides showcase their patriotic fervor. The radio systems tend to play patriotic songs for most of the ceremony, raking in the crowd as well with their loud cheers. The main aim of this ceremony is to rekindle a love for one's own country and nurture a feeling of respect towards the other nationality. These dance performances are a completely different event as compared to the usual hatred between both parties.
Step into Bharawan Da Dhaba
Popular among the locals as "praa-waan," Bharawan Da Dhaba has been offering mouth-watering Punjabi cuisine since the turn of the 19th century. The traditional Punjabi Thali here provides channa (chickpea), dhal, and paneer on a magnetic platter. These food items can be tasted along with roti, rice, or naan depending upon visitors' preferences. Punjab's very own version of garlic bread, the Punjabi Kulcha, only pleases tourists' taste buds furthermore. Once done with the main course, visitors cannot miss out on the delicious dessert named Phirni. A rice pudding seasoned with cardamom, Phirni only adds to the incredible list of food items that draw customers into Bharawan Da Dhaba.
Explore Gobindgarh Fort
Although Gujjar Singh Bhangi's military forces initially constructed it, the Gobindgarh Fort received its finishing touches from Maharaja Ranjit Singh at the turn of the 18th century. This splendid fort even came under British rule, where they built a Hawa Mahal, a Phansi Ghar, and a Darbar Hall. The majestic Gobindgarh Fort is a product of architectural brilliance with its unique square design. Some of the highlights of the fort include two prime gateways, a rampart, and four grandeur bastions. While the main gateway has been named Nalwa Gate, the secondary gateway is called Keelar Gate. An age-old local myth states that the secondary gateway provided access to the Lahore tunnel.
Feast at Guru-Ka-Langar
Guru-Ka-Langar is a gigantic dining hall that can host huge crowds. Situated along the southern rims of the Golden Temple, this hall provides food free of cost to close to approximately 100,000 visitors every day. Pilgrims pay their respects to God and then even help the authorities wash out the dishes in which the attendees eat food. The organizers serve food for the rich and the poor in equal measure. This gesture of the Sikh community highlights their involvement in charity acts and their friendly temperament. The diet includes simple items such as rajma, roti, and dhal offered in steel plates. The famous motto of the authorities here states that Amritsar doesn't allow anyone in the city to go to bed hungry.
A Tour of Jallianwala Bagh
Situated within proximity of the Golden Temple, Jallianwala Bagh is a public park that spreads across a splendid 6.5-acre expanse. This garden memorializes the heart-wrenching sufferings of the unarmed Indians who had to face the wrath of ruthless firing from the British soldiers. Today, the local authorities conduct tours around Jallianwala Bagh that provide insights about this grievous incident and showcase portraits of valiant martyrs. Tourists will still be able to notice the holes dinked inside the park walls by the constant firing of bullets at that time. Visitors can even catch a glimpse of the well that several protestors dived into to avoid being shot by a bullet.
Mata Temple pays respect to the saint Lal Devi, a goddess belonging to the 20th century. Ancient folklore suggests that the devout pilgrims may be granted with powers that enhance their fertility chances. The temple boasts of an intriguing structure, with tapering staircases meandering through the main hallway. This hallway calls for special mention thanks to the exciting carvings, mirrored mosaics, and hidden deities present in the alley. At the end of the hall lies a prototype of the Vaishno Devi Cave Temple submerged under. With such intriguing designs and carvings throughout its expanse, Mata Devi Temple calls for a must-visit place.
Saunter into Hall Bazaar
Amritsar's Hall Bazaar hustles and bustles with visitors from domestic as well as international quarters. Situated along Hall Road, this shopping hub presents tourists with a variety of merchandise, including handicrafts, electronics, books, clothing, and home decor. However, the highlight of Hall Bazaar is its beautiful collection of woolen products such as blankets, shawls, and carpets. Women find themselves at home with the trendy silver jewelry and wooden bangles on offer. Hall Bazaar also hosts eateries of good repute and delicious cuisine for families to feast at. Tourists can carry back home exceptional jewelry items as souvenirs.
Venture into Harike Wetland and Bird Sanctuary
Spanning a 4,100-acre expanse, Harike Wetland and Bird Sanctuary form one of the most significant wetlands in the northern hemisphere of India. The high spots of these wetlands include the stunning Harike Lake and the splendid bird sanctuary. The sanctuary nurtures amphibians, birds, snakes, invertebrates, and fish. Some of the magnificent birds that breed at Harike Wetland include yellow-footed gull, brown-headed gull, Indian skimmer, Pallas's gull, cotton pygmy goose, white-rumped vulture, hawk, and Eurasian tree sparrow. Thanks to such an exciting presence of migratory birds and other native species, the sanctuary forms a perfect haven for bird watchers and ardent photographers.