Things to Do in Amritsar (10 AM-10 PM)

Travel Diaries P.1
A friend and me planned a visit to Amritsar. She was visiting North India for the first time and I knew there would be no better place than Amritsar for her to taste real Punjabi food. We just had one day and we had to see so much! Here is our list of things to complete in a day:
1. Golden Temple
2. Jallianwala Bagh
3. Kesar da Dhaba
4. Wagah Border Retreat Ceremony
We did manage to squeeze in a fifth place:
5. Gobindgarh Fort


Journey:We took a Volvo at 6:00 AM from ISBT 43, it made a very short stop at Jalandhar Haveli and we reached Amritsar at 10:00 AM.
Location: ISBT 43 to Hall Bazar
Cost: 585 per person
Time: 5 hours
We were trying to book a train ticket but it was unavailable. So you can pre-plan it better and go via an early morning train too.


10:30 AM1. The Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib)


This was my fourth or fifth visit to this beautiful and serene place. The Golden Temple is a must visit place for anyone going to Amritsar. The serene water body surrounding the glinting structure is a mesmerising sight. We sat on the steps for sometime and then stood in the Dharshan line. The line was really long but it was moving pretty steadily. A lot of times people don't stand in the line because its too long and go back without doing Darshan. Please don't do that!!!!! (Yes, these many exclamations are needed!) Do stand in the line and do Darshan because its the most beautiful, peaceful and calming experience ever. Golden Temple is even more awe-inspiring from inside. The notes of Gurbani float in the air and you bow your head in gratitude. After the Darshan you are given the most delicious kadha prashad, its atta ka halwa (halwa made of wheat), you'll want that second helping too!
Essentials: Carry a scarf or a handkerchief because your head needs to be covered at all times. 

They forbid people from clicking pictures. We clicked some pretty quick ones to not get caught.
Wear clothes which protect you from the sun if you are visiting in April-June.
Don't indulge the people selling wares or suggesting places to shop at.
Don't lose your shoe token.
12:00 PM2. Jallianwala BaghJallianwala Bagh is at a walking distance from the Golden Temple. It is the site of the infamous massacre ordered by General Dyre. There is a memorial established by Indian Government in 1951 where a torch is lighted all the year round. It is a heart-wrenching story and the place is a narrative of all the deaths and inhumanness of the act. You can spot bullet holes and see the well where people jumped to save themselves. People go there to know more about the history of the place and to pay their respects.
Essentials:
Do read the signs there, they have inscribed the story so go even if you don't know a lot about it.
1:00PM3. Hall BazarWalk out of Jallianwala Bagh and you'll be delighted with the colourful shops, thread duppatas and junk jewellery. We shopped Phulkari duppatas, thread work dupattas and some embroidered plazzos from the shops in Hall Bazar. The deeper you go inside the lanes the better the price you get. Don't shop from those air-conditioned showrooms if you want the best bargain. Enroute to Kesar da Dhaba from The Golden Temple you'll cross a lot of small shops, try bargaining there.
Essentials:A friend who can bargain!
2:00PM4. Kesar da Dhaba

 
Rajma Chawal



Laccha Prantha and Black Daal 
Gobi Prantha with Masala Curd
You can take an auto or a rickshaw from Jallianwala Bagh to Kesar da Dhaba. We came to taste real Punjabi food and which place to go to other than the famous Kesar da Dhaba!
This is a very old establishment, the ambience is dingy, a place in the middle of a narrow lane, inside there are rickety benches and old-school tables, the split-AC is the only modern thing in this truly rustic place. We were 3 girls and we order 3 lassi, 1 laccha prantha with black dal, 1 gobi prantha, 1 rajma chawal and chilled firni. Oh my! My tastebuds were blown away! Even writing about this is making my mouth water! The crunchy laccha prantha dipped in delicious, buttery, piping hot black dal, tangy rajma with peas pulao and stuffed Gobi prantha with masala curd, my god, foodgasam right there! We also ordered chilled sweet and delicious Firni to finish it off with. The best food I've had in ages! A lot of it was left over so we got it parcelled for dinner.
Essentials:A huge appetite
Cost For 2: under 1000 (depends purely on appetite though! :P)


3:00PM5. Gobindgarh Fort After that scrumptious meal we wanted to walk the city. We walked from Kesar da Dhaba to Brothers' Co. (another amazing place for food we had to miss), opposite an auto stand. We hired an autowala who would take us to Wagha Border. On way we stopped at Gobindgarh Fort. It seemed like a newly developed place. What Google says: "The Fort was earlier occupied by the army but is now open to the public from 10 February 2017" . There you have it. So you can watch movies and shows depicting the history of Punjab, we didn't have a lot of time so we just took a standard entry ticket and clicked a lot of pictures inside. The fort has a historical significance  There is a food court, small shops and games like archery and camel ride. We spent some 30 mins here but you can surely come here to spend from 4-5 hours including the shows and movies they have.

Essentials:
Good camera to click pictures :P
Negotiate a good price with the Auto Driver, he was asking 700/- we bargained till 500/- for an individual auto, just 3 of us.

5:00PM
6. Wagah - Attri Border, Retreat Ceremony 

It took us an hour to reach here from Gobindgarh Fort. We stopped at the auto stand, 1 kms from the border. There is a dingy place where they make you keep all your belongings. We were very nervous about keeping our bags there but it turns out that's how they roll :P
We walked, and walked fast to the seating area, got one of the best seats..and lost them to dance. 
So, Wagah border Retreat Ceremony is full of theatrics and drama. The 'Hindustan Jindabad' and 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' calls are followed by a Bollywood Patriotic Songs dance! It was a girls only dance and they called all the woman on the road where the march takes place and played songs like 'Chak de India', 'Ye Dil Hai Hindustani' and 'Jai Ho' to name a few. It was the most fun we've had in ages but alas we lost our seats. Anyone travelling to Amritsar must see this ceremony at least once. 
Essentials:
You can't carry  power-bank, ear-phones inside, ideally, travel light and keep all the valuable somewhere else. 
There is another enclosure where people book their seats, there are chairs for seating in that area. We didn't know about this, apparently this is the link.

After the ceremony we took a Volvo back to Chandigarh. This Volvo was pretty late, it started at 10 PM and we reached Chandigarh at 2:00 AM. There are no buses or trains post 5 PM from Amritsar to Chandigarh. This was the only bummer, we could've taken the early morning bus next day but we didn't want to spend one night in the city. So maybe you can plan it accordingly.

Thats all folks!






Comments