A cultural and religious wonderland in the heart of the Punjab state of India, Amritsar is known as the spiritual home of the Sikh religion. As such, Amritsar is home to one of the most important worship sites for Sikhs: Harmandir Sahib, also referred to as the Golden Temple. A must for anyone visiting the city, the Golden Temple was constructed in the 16th century and remains a sacred site for Sikhs, who regularly make pilgrimages to visit this incredible water-locked temple.
The graceful golden sights of Harmandir Sahib aren’t the only thing visitors should set their gaze on while in Amritsar. Wandering the colonial-era streets and historic gates of the old city surrounding the temple, visitors will find an enchanting array of street vendors and bazaars to explore, as well as Jallianwala Bagh garden and its towering monument, a memorial dedicated to the hundreds of Indians who lost their lives during the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919.
Another fascinating sight for visitors to behold is the evening procession at the Wagah Border, the only road border between India and neighboring Pakistan. As the sun sets, soldiers from both countries march with flags to the thundering cheers from crowds on both sides.
Sikh culture and Indian history seem to pour out of every facet of Amritsar, as do the wondrous flavors of the local cuisine. Punjabi food is at its finest here, especially at the restaurants surrounding Town Hall. After savoring the local culture, be sure to spend time exploring Amritsar through its tasty culinary offerings.
The weather in Amritsar is most welcoming for visitors in the months between November and March, when dry conditions and the temperatures are mild. Cool rains rule the monsoon season between July and October, and while the temperatures are tolerable, the rain can put a damper on sightseeing plans. From April through June, high temperatures scorch the city and can make a visit quite uncomfortable. It is cheapest to visit during this time though, due to the unfavorable weather.
For visitors who don’t want to bother with navigating the streets of Amritsar on their own, hired cars with private chauffeurs are available to make the trip easier. Cycle- and auto-rickshaws are plentiful and the de facto mode of transportation if not walking, but keep in mind that the fare for this relatively cheap service should be agreed upon beforehand. City buses are limited, though they do run a free route from the train station to the famed Golden Temple. With the city so easily explored by foot though, many visitors find it convenient to simply walk to their destinations.