Amritsar, The Golden City of India literally a Pool of Nectar, derives its name from Amrit Sarovar, the holy tank that surrounds the fabulous Golden Temple. Golden Temple is also known as Sri Darbar Sahib or Sri Harmandir Sahib, is named after Hari (God) the temple of God. The Sikhs all over the world, pay a visit to express deferential respect at Sri Harmandir Sahib in their Ardas. Amritsar is situated in northern Punjab state of northwestern India, lies about 25 km east of the border with Pakistan.
This was one of my long-distance trips for such a short time, in fact, the stay was only for two days. I reached Amritsar via train from Delhi. On the way to Amritsar, you should definitely get a glimpse outside your window to have a classic view of the farms of sesame, sugarcane, wheat and many more. I could not stop myself from murmuring the song “Dharti sunehri ambar neela, har mausam rangeela Aisa des hai mera, ho… aisa des hai mera”. I found that the people of Punjab were so loving and affectionate. What else do you want in an unknown city in India?
My day started with rushing for Wagah Border from my stay at Park View Hotel near the Golden Temple. The Wagah Border is popular for the beating retreat ceremony which takes place every evening before the sunset. It starts at 4:15 PM in winter and 5:15 PM in summer and lasts for about 45 minutes. I strongly suggest one should reach the location at least an hour before the ceremony.
I advise eating at the Dhabas in Amritsar, instead of restaurants or hotels, which have the authentic taste and finger-licking dishes, if you really want to get the feeling of Amritsari taste. Chole bhature, sarso da saag, makke di roti, aloo paratha and so on.
In the late evening, I visited the holy shrine – Golden Temple the shimmering reflection of it in the Amrit Sarovar was mesmerising. It was full of positivity, serenity, spirituality and is believed to be a true symbol of secularism with its four entrance doors, which signify that God exists everywhere. It is said that by taking “Amrit”, many people are benefited and recovered from illnesses. So it is considered to have special properties and a cure for many ailments. I had a grand community dinner called ‘Langar’ which is run by the volunteers and open for all irrespective of caste, creed and class.
My next day started with a visit to the Jallianwala Baug which is a ‘memorial of national importance’ in Amritsar, India, preserved in the memory of those wounded and killed in the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre that occurred on the festival of Vaisakhi, 13 April 1919. It is a heart-wrenching sight for us as Indians though everyone should visit this place once in their life.
Here, my day ended at “Amritsar – The Golden City of India” and I left for the “Devbhoomi Himachal Pradesh” the snow-laden city. Read more about it in my next blog…