Amritsar in 48 Hours: Things to Do

  • Golden Temple in Amritsar

Amritsar is a city in the northwestern Indian state of Punjab, 28 kilometers from the border with Pakistan. At the center of its walled old town, the gilded Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) is the holiest gurdwara (religious complex) of the Sikh religion. 

Day 1:

Morning: Start your day with a visit to the Golden Temple, one of the most revered and beautiful religious sites in India. Take a peaceful stroll along the marble walkway that surrounds the holy tank, and watch the faithful offering prayers and taking a dip in the water. You can also volunteer at the langar, a community kitchen that serves free food to thousands of visitors every day.

Afternoon: Next, head to Jallianwala Bagh, a public garden that was the site of a brutal massacre in 1919. Learn about this tragic event at the on-site museum, which features photos, artifacts, and first-person accounts. Afterwards, visit the Partition Museum, which tells the story of the mass migration that followed India's partition in 1947. The museum also has a range of interactive exhibits and multimedia displays.

Evening: Finish your day with a Punjabi dinner at Kesar da Dhaba, a legendary restaurant that has been serving up hearty vegetarian fare since 1916. Try the chana masala, a spicy chickpea dish, and the lassi, a sweet yogurt drink. If you have energy left, head to the Beating Retreat ceremony at the Wagah Border, where Indian and Pakistani soldiers perform a flag-lowering ceremony in full regalia.

Day 2:

Morning: Start your day with a visit to the historic Ram Bagh Gardens, which date back to the Mughal period. The gardens are home to a number of monuments, including the summer palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Sikh ruler who united Punjab in the early 19th century. You can also take a stroll through the nearby Gobindgarh Fort, which has been recently restored and offers a range of cultural and entertainment activities.

Afternoon: Next, head to the colorful bazaars of the old city, where you can shop for everything from spices and textiles to jewelry and souvenirs. Don't miss the Amritsari papad, a crispy lentil wafer that is a local specialty. You can also visit the Khalsa College Museum, which showcases the art and culture of the Sikh community, or the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Panorama, which offers a 360-degree view of the ruler's life and achievements.

Evening: End your day with a dinner at Brothers' Dhaba, a popular restaurant that serves up delicious tandoori chicken and other Punjabi dishes. If you're feeling adventurous, head to the Sadda Pind theme park, which offers a range of experiences that showcase local culture, including folk dances, village games, and traditional food stalls. If you prefer a more relaxed evening, watch the Gurbani Kirtan, a devotional music performance at the Golden Temple that takes place every evening.

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