Synonymous with the Golden Temple, Amritsar is the holy place for Sikhs from all over the world. It is the religious capital of the Sikhs, and is also regarded as one of the holiest places on earth. One can easily say that the city itself has such a serene air about it, that the person automatically feels connected to God.
The area around the Golden Temple or Harmandir Sahib as it is popularly called by the Sikhs, was recently revamped by the Punjab Government. Since I am a regular visitor to the city I can say without any doubt that the area is much cleaner and tourist friendly now. The hawkers have been totally removed making it easier for the visitors to walk to the Sanctum Sacoturam. The path to the Golden Temple is no longer filled with pedestrians in small lanes, and it is much more clean. Unsurprisingly this has led to a significant boost in the number of visitors to the holy city.
In spite of the fact that more than 100,000 people visit the the Golden Temple everyday, one is struck by the spic and span surroundings. The temple itself is sure to take your breath away with its splendour. Being surrounded by water on all the four sides immensely contributes to the beauty of the Golden Temple. While it is open for public all through the day, the best time to visit Golden Temple is early morning when it is not too hot and the crowd is also relatively smaller.
While at Golden Temple, do go for langar or community kitchen, which offers food to all visitors regardless of caste, color, gender, etc. Although it is quite crowded, it signifies equality and a sense of community. It feeds about 100,000-500,000 people daily. A general set of rules relating to behavior, headscarves, no-shoes and no drinking have to be followed at all times in the Golden Temple.
In the nearby surroundings, a Jallianwala Bagh memorial is also a destination for all history-lovers. Made in the very park where police, under the orders of General Dyer (a British official) opened fire on a crowd protesting against British rule, it offers an insight into the conditions under which the horrific incident took place. It also has the Eternal Flame, which burns to commemorate the lives of more than 1,000 innocent civilians who lost their lives in the massacre.
Apart from these destinations, Amritsar is famous for its colorful phulkari suits, which will appeal to any woman looking to wear traditional Punjabi clothes. It is also famous for all its garment shops, located near the temple. Be sure to visit Bharawan Tha Dhaba near Jallianwala Bagh and Golden Temple to get tasty Punjabi food.
Amritsar is a beautiful city, and will surely leave its travellers with a sense of peace and humbleness.