It began a few months ago when we informed the child at home that we will be visiting a different destination, in fact close to the border and it would be a different religious shrine.
As plans were getting formalized with flight schedules, our other destinations being chalked out , we had soon questions coming in for the different kind of temple.
(Lost looking at the shiny and peaceful shrine).
As someone who does loves travelling and also travelling in comfort and being sure we don’t hurt offend anyone or any culture, I had read enough on visiting the Golden Temple. The rules or expectations of covering the head for men and women including children, appropriate clothing and so on. These are simple rules and surely one can embrace it wholeheartedly as it teaches everyone at home to adhere to customs, etiquettes and of course a great learning curve for everyone.
This also gave us as adults an opportunity to research, talk about and even find books that talk on Sikhism or warriors who took part in the Freedom Struggle. We also realised it also gave an opportunity to talk on customs, beliefs, culture, our ways of praying at home, something we don’t talk in routine conversations.
We reached the Golden Temple late in the evening after our visit to the Wagah Border. It was quite a different and unique experience to see a border that has so many battles in its history and people over there separated by a gate.
(Crowds that cheer non stop at the Wagah Border)
The first view of the temple mesmerized us and it looked much more beautiful than whatever I had read on the Internet. We did visit the next day too but I would strongly recommend visiting the shrine once if possible in the night. It also helps in avoiding long queues, the weather is pleasant and breezy and you can spend time sitting around the lake. We spent about two hours close to midnight before it closes for sometime and re-opens again early morning.
Amritsar of course is popular because of the Golden Temple but it also has one of the best cuisines offered. Be it food sold by street vendors or the more popular ones like Brothers dhaba adjacent to Partition museum, the food is simply outstanding. We suggest you forget about calorie intake and go in for the food as it is quite irresistible.
(Delicious meal at Brothers or Pra da Dhaba)
Amritsar the religious destination has enough things to offer and it is one of those destinations that can keep a visitor engaged with various other activities apart from the visit to the holy shrine.
The Partition museum is a great must-do activity for adults and kids who are nine and above to understand concepts like war, why it needs to be avoided and even to get empathy from kids to understand countless people from both countries went through.
(Partition museum at Amritsar)
The bylanes and the main path leading to the shrine is closed for vehicles beyond a point and it almost depicts like a exotic destination with pleasant soft lighting across the streets. From toys to artificial jewellery to clothing, tourists can definitely pick something to take back home.
Our stay at Saraghari Sarai was without fanfare yet with modern amenities like Air conditioned rooms, clean and spacious rooms and washrooms. The only drawback was there wasn’t any availability of hot water for a shower but except that this is one of the best rooms that we have stayed in an economical price. It is also at a walking distance to good food joints and Golden Temple which makes it a great choice.
(Our stay at Amritsar -Saraghari Sarai))
For those who want to ring in a different holiday where history is rich, religious significance is rich and so is cuisine that is absolutely finger licking, you should have Amritsar on your holiday list.