A Travel Guide to Amritsar

Amritsar Airport Directory (ATQ)
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Amritsar was founded in the 1570s by Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh guru. The city derives its name from the pool surrounding the revered Golden Temple, called Amrit Sarovar which means the Pool of Nectar. The Golden Temple, also called Harmandir Sahib, is the principal place of worship for Sikhs and one of the key tourist attractions in Amritsar. 

This capital city of Punjab is not just religiously relevant but also has a deep historical and cultural prominence. The city was ruled by multiple kings before the arrival of the British, post which Amritsar became one of the main sites during the fight for independence. The remnants of which can still be seen in the form of Jallianwala Bagh that stands there, bearing bullet holes and a dark history.

Over the years Amritsar has become a commercial and cultural hub. The city is not just a popular tourist destination because of the above mentioned sites but also for its textiles and cuisine. From woollens to phulkaris, you get the best here. And the food is one thing you cannot get enough of. The seasonal local dishes are a must-try when visiting Amritsar.

Best time to visit: To enjoy the best weather in Amritsar, you should plan your visit between September to December, and February to April.

How to reach Amritsar

  • Flights to AmritsarSri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport is the nearest airport to Amritsar, about 11 km from the city centre. IndiGo operates multiple flights between Amritsar and other major cities.
  • By train: Amritsar Junction Railway Station is one of the principal railway stations connecting the city with all the major Indian destinations through several daily trains.
  • By bus: Amritsar has an extensive network of buses, including private buses, that ply from nearby cities.
  • Getting around/local transport in Amritsar: Auto-rickshaws, cycle rickshaws, buses, and taxis are the city's main transportation modes. You can also rent cars to go around the city.

Most spoken language in Amritsar

  • Punjabi
  • Hindi
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7Kg
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Places to visit in Amritsar

  • The Golden Temple: Almost everybody's first stop in Amritsar is the Golden Temple, or Harmandir Sahib, and for a good reason. The beautiful gurudwara, known as Sikhism's holiest site, was built by Guru Arjan Dev. In the centre of the large complex is a beautiful water body, Amrit Sarovar, at the heart of which sits the gilded structure. The shrine was destroyed multiple times by invaders until the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh who rebuilt it in marble and copper, with the upper part covered in around 400 kg of gold foil. This place promises to give you a calm and soothing vibe. If for nothing else, visit this place for its sheer beauty. 
  • Jallianwala Bagh: The Jallianwala Bagh is located at a walking distance from the Golden Temple, on a recently renovated stretch called Heritage Street. The place is of importance because during the British rule, locals present in the Bagh, which means garden, were open fired at. Around 10,000 people had gathered there for the festival of Baisakhi when the incident took place. The site has been preserved with certain additions like Martyr’s Gallery, small museum, and a flame that burns all the time, among other things.
  • Wagah Border: Another thing worth experiencing is the ceremony that takes place every evening at the Wagah Border. It is around 30 km from Amritsar’s city centre but worth the drive. Crowds gather in large numbers at the Wagah Border to see this enthusiastic and patriotic sight which includes a parade, Beating the Retreat ceremony, change of guards, and lowering of the national flag at the end of the day. 
  • The Partition Museum: Another must-see in Amritsar is the Partition Museum. It is located in the Town Hall on Heritage Street and aims to inform people about the partition, when India gained independence. Displays range from letters and personal belongings to swords, jewellery, family heirlooms, recorded audio-visual narratives, refugee camp registration cards, and paintings. While here, you can listen to the heart-wrenching accounts of survivors and volunteers, and also witness touching stories of cross-border friendships that have survived. 

Places to eat in Amritsar

Kesar Da Dhaba
Kesar Da Dhaba

Started in 1916, the restaurant shifted base to Amritsar after partition. It is one of the most sought-after restaurants in Amritsar offering traditional Punjabi cuisine. Your trip is incomplete if you don’t taste their dal and phirni.

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Bharawan da Dhaba
Bharawan da Dhaba

Another great place to enjoy a meal is at the Bharawan da Dhaba. Serving only vegetarian food, it offers not just great Punjabi food but also a warm ambience. While here, do try the dal and sarson ka saag with makki ki roti.

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Sarhad Restaurant
Sarhad Restaurant

Opened in 2012 near the Wagah Border and less than 5 km from the Pakistan border, it offers both Indian and Lahori dishes. It aims to celebrate shared stories of the two nations with its specially curated menu. In addition to trying popular local dishes, do taste the Lahore-special kebabs and dal.

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Kanha Sweets
Kanha Sweets

Don’t get confused with the name of the restaurant, it doesn’t just sell desserts but has a great variety of local dishes. Opening at 8 a.m. in the morning, you can start your day here with a hearty meal of Amritsari kulcha with chole, and a glass of lassi. Additionally, chole and puri is another popular choice among regular customers. 

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Surjit Food Plaza
Surjit Food Plaza

Located at Lawrence Road, it is a popular choice among locals and tourists both. The must-try dishes are the tandoori chicken and fried fish.

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Shopping places in Amritsar

High-end shopping/luxury shopping/shopping malls in Amritsar

  • VR Ambarsar
  • Mall of Amritsar
  • Celebration Mall
  • Wagah Plaza
  • Omaxe Novelty Mall

Street shopping in Amritsar

There are a few things you cannot leave Amritsar without – traditional Punjabi juttis, phulkari dupattas, Amritsari papad, and wadiyan. Explore the markets to find all these things and more.

  • Lahori Gate: It is a popular shopping stop for clothes – fabrics, salwar kameez/suits, shawls, and more. The quality is good and price reasonable, but when shopping here, don’t forget to bargain. While here, don’t forget to try the street food.
  • Hall Bazaar: Stop at Hall Bazaar on your way to visit the Golden Temple. It is a one-stop place for all your shopping needs, from footwear to clothing, handicrafts, and street food. Do remember to pick up souvenirs, and don't miss the numerous shops and stalls selling varieties of aam papad, wadiyan, pickles and mithai.
  • Shastri Market: This is a well-known destination for jewellery shopping. Located near the Golden Temple, it is a popular market among locals and tourists. Additionally, you can find a good variety of clothing options, including many wholesale shops.

Where to stay in Amritsar

Hyatt-Amritsar

Hyatt This is a convenient staying option as it is located close to tourist attractions in Amritsar. The 200+ room hotel is situated adjacent to Mall of Amritsar. It offers all the modern amenities including complimentary shuttles to and from the Golden Temple, depending on your booking.

HotelCityPark

Hotel City Park With Golden Temple and Jallianwala Bagh located less than a kilometre away, this is popular choice for tourists to stay. With 45 rooms, this hotel offers all the services and amenities for a comfortable stay.

Ramada

Ramada Situated in the heart of the city, Ramada is walking distance from many of the tourist destinations in Amritsar. While here, do head to the hotel’s multi-cuisine restaurant, which has a live kitchen. Additionally, a highlight of the hotel, given the hotel’s proximity to the tourist sites, is the rooftop swimming pool which offers a great view.

Ranjit-Svaasa

Ranjit’s SVAASA A beautifully restored 200-year-old haveli-turned-boutique-hotel, Ranjit’s SVAASA offers a warm and royal ambience. With beautiful tapestries and antiques adorning the space, many of the rooms and suites offer private terraces. Do check out the Time Corridor at the hotel to see the owner’s family’s roots going back seven generations to Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Taj-Swarna

Taj Swarna The Taj boasts of spacious rooms and a contemporary design. Try the Ambarsar Chaa (tea) here and if you’re tired after a long day of sightseeing and shopping, head to Jiva Spa for a rejuvenating massage.

Nightlife/party places in Amritsar

To explore the fun side of the city, you need to wait for the evening. That’s when various places in Amritsar open up for people to enjoy great food and music. Here are some of the popular ones that you must checkout:

  • Peddlers
  • Irish Beach
  • The Peg 
  • Blue Icy Bar
  • Fuelstop 
  • The BrewMaster
  • Bottoms Up
  • RDX Lounge
  • Glass House Amritsar

More reasons to visit and top things to do in Amritsar

  • If you're a cricket buff, head to Jalandhar which is about 83 km from Amritsar. The city is home to some of the most famous cricket equipment manufacturing centres, with everything from bats to bails being made here. The city also has other tourist sites that you can explore while here.
  • About four hours by road from Amritsar is the beautiful city of Chandigarh. A well-planned city, situated in the foothills of the Shivalik hills, it is a popular tourist destination. While here, some of the places to visit include Rock Garden, Sukhna Lake, Capitol Complex, shop at the many markets here, and try the local cuisine. Chandigarh is easily accessible by road, train, and air – with IndiGo offering multiple flights to the city.

24 hours in Amritsar

If you are in Amritsar just for a day, then commence your tour with a walk down the Heritage Street to best explore this 400-year-old city. Beginning from the old Town Hall Building, which now houses the Partition Museum, go towards Jallianwala Bagh till the Golden Temple. This one kilometre stretch covers the city's iconic points. You can start with the Golden Temple to experience the morning rituals, followed by a walk down Heritage Street, where you can enjoy some street food, before visiting Jallianwala Bagh. After this, you can visit the Partition Museum. This will leave you with just enough time to visit Wagah Border or else you can go on a shopping spree and pick up some souvenirs, phulkari dupattas, suits, and beautiful juttis. In between don't forget to relish the amazing Amritsari dishes.

Festivals in Amritsar

Guru Purab

Guru Purab is a significant festival celebrated in Punjab, especially among Sikhs. It takes place twice a year – in January and November. The latter is also known as Guru Nanak Jayanti to honour the birth anniversary of the first Sikh guru, Guru Nanak Dev. During this festival, people visit the gurudwara to pay their respect, where religious scriptures are read throughout the day. On Guru Purab, you will see houses, shops, and places of worship decorated with lights and candles.

Baisakhi 

Baisakhi is one of the most important festivals in Amritsar and is celebrated with much enthusiasm. It is considered an auspicious day for the locals. Falling on 14 April, the celebrations often see fairs/melas taking place in the city, wherein local songs are sung, along with Bhangra, a local style of dance. There are also numerous stalls selling bangles, toys, local handicrafts, and more. Food stalls are also a significant crowd-puller. 

Lohri

Falling on 13 January, a bonfire is lit to celebrate this festival associated with the harvest of crops and start of the new year. Celebrated at various places in north India, this festival sees people gathering around the fire, singing songs, and munching on winter treats like revdi, gajak, and peanuts.

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