Home to the magnificent Golden Temple, Amritsar is the second largest city in the state of Punjab and is colloquially known as Ambarsar. Not only Golden Temple, Amritsar is home several other religious sites along with some iconic historical places and lip-smacking street food. It is one of the most significant cities in the Sikh religion and is known for its rich culture, history, and cuisine. The city is also known for the major historical event of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre and its proximity to Wagah Border.
The name Ambarsar means ‘pool of ambrosial nectar’ which is an ideal name to describe the peaceful and spiritual atmosphere of this holy place. Amritsar derives its name from the Amrit Sarovar that was built by Guru Ram Das in the village Tung. A temple complex was constructed around the sarovar and gradually, the village developed and came to be known as Chakk Ram Das, and finally became Amritsar. One of the most agriculturally productive cities in India, Amritsar today is a thriving city with active trade and tourism industries.
Places to Visit / Tourist Places in Amritsar
- Golden Temple: The infamous Golden Temple is the definitive landmark of Amritsar which is a two-story structure covered in real gold and circumcised by a 5.1-meter-deep manmade lake. This shrine is one of the most sacred places for Sikhs who make their visit here at least once in their lifetime from anywhere around the world.
- Wagah Border: The border between India and Pakistan, Wagah Border witness the impressive border closing ceremony every evening which involves an ostentatious display of goose-stopping guards from the BSF and the Pakistan Rangers saluting each other, lowering the flags, and closing gates at the border.
- Mandir Mata Lal Devi: The Mata Lal Devi temple is dedicated to female saint Lal Devi. It is believed that the temple can boost the fertility of the women who visit with devotion but to non-devotees, the labyrinth attraction resembles a funhouse. The passage to the shrine is also fun and eerie and is also a fun thing to do in Amritsar.
- Sri Ram Tirath Temple: Sri Ram Tirath Temple is another important religious place for Hindu devotees located a few km west of the city centre. The temple marks the birthplace of Luv and Kush, the twin sons of Lord Ram, which houses an idol of Valmiki, the author of Ramayana.
- Jallianwala Bagh: Tucked behind the Golden temple, the Jallianwala Bagh is the place where an estimated 1500 people were killed or injured by the British soldiers’ attack ordered by General Dyer in 1919. The bullet holes are still visible in the walls and the exhibition on the victims and some important figures of Indian independence can be seen on the Martyr’s Gallery located here.
- Gobindgarh Fort: Standing for more than 250 years and was built to protect Amritsar from invaders, Gobindgarh Fort has become a prime attraction of Amritsar and has been seeing the light of the day when the Indian subcontinent was divided into small principalities and ruled by kings. The fort has now been transformed into an educational attraction showcasing history and culture of Amritsar in the four museums namely Warfare Museum, Turban Museum, Sikh Art Museum, Sher-e-Punjab.
- Shri Durgiana Temple: Shri Durgiana Temple is in the sacred lake of the Golden Temple and has a half gold half marble façade, which gives the dome structure an appearance alike of Golden temple. Though located in the same place as the Golden temple, Durgiana temple is a Hindu pilgrim dedicated to goddess Durga, goddess Lakshmi, and Lord Vishmu and attracts devotees from across the country.
- Akal Takht: This is a Sikh temple that represents oen of the five seats of power in Sikhism. It is a significant place for Sikhs just like Golden Temple and features Sikh style of architecture, marble inlay, and a gold leaf dome.
Nightlife (Pubs, clubs, lounges)
- Underdoggs Sports Bar and Kitchen: Packing a punch of gourmet food, craft beer, music, sports, and entertainment, underdoggs serve cocktails, fresh brewed beers, and live sports and musical gigs to make the most of visitors’ experience.
- Peddlers: An old English pub where you can walk-in wearing t-shirt and shorts and still would be allowed. With chic furniture made of dark teak wood and walls adorned with posters of old British comedians, the pub is always alive with music and people enjoying drinks till late night all days of week.
- Proof -The Bar: Located inside Radisson Blu Hotel, this club features stunning décor in hues of red, highlighted with warm lighting and an impressive backdrop. The club is known for their signature cocktails and delicious finger food.
- Irish Beach: The pub has a lavish interior, DJ consoles, and a dance floor for some devilish fun. The menu consists of some tempting continental fast food which you can enjoy with some fresh draft beer and other brews.
- Stars N Bars: This is another famous place to enjoy nightlife which is spread in three levels. It is a sports bar, a fine dining restaurant, and a clubbing space with some appetizing and lip-smacking food.
- The Beer Café: A heaven for the beer lovers, the bar has stunning interiors, comfy couches, music and live performances, and a delectable menu that is enjoyed with some fresh beer brewed here.
- Buzz: It is a popular nightclub located in Lawrence Road and is known for its lively atmosphere and good music.
Street food in Amritsar
- Langar Ka Prasad: One must try the langar ka prasad or karah prasad served at the Golden Temple during the lunch time. Karah prasad is made from semolina, lots of ghee, and jaggery which is a delight to the taste buds and a must-try in langar.
- Chole Puri and Pinni: Puri is a fried flatbread which is served with a tangy and spicy gravy of potatoes and chickpea curry. Pinni is a sweet dish made from lentil paste, jaggery, and ghee and compliments the savoury items very well.
- Mah ki dal: Mah ki dal is black lentil which is simmered and cooked with whole spices and ghee for 12 hours and later served with lachcha paratha and butter naan.
- Ghee Roast Chicken: Ghee roast is a spice mix that is prepared by sauteing finely chopped onions, tomatoes, garlic, along with spices in lots of ghee. Then tandoori chicken is added to it and stir fried for some time with butter to achieve a lip-smacking and blissful combination ever.
- Kulfas: Big brother of kulfi, Kulfa is an ensemble made from a layer of phirni, topped with scoops of kulfi and falooda, some gond (edible gum), and a dash of syrup and rose water in a clay pot.
- Amritsari Kulcha: This is a traditional Punjabi flatbread stuffed with spiced mashed potatoes and onions, baked in a tandoor. It is served with chana masala and is a popular breakfast and lunch option in Amritsar.
- Butter Chicken: This creamy and flavourful chicken dish is a popular choice in Punjabi cuisine. The chicken is marinated in a mixture of yogurt and spices, cooked in a rich tomato and cream-based gravy, and finished off with a dollop of butter.
- Lassi: This refreshing and traditional Punjabi drink is made with yogurt, milk, sugar and flavoured with cardamom. It is a perfect drink to cool down during the hot summers of Amritsar.
- Chole Bhature: This is a popular breakfast dish in Amritsar that consists of spicy chickpeas (chole) and deep-fried puffed bread (bhature). It is served with onion rings and pickle.
- Amritsari Fish: This is a popular non-vegetarian dish in Amritsar, where fish is marinated in a mixture of spices and gram flour, deep-fried, and served with mint chutney.
- Makki ki Roti and Sarson ka Saag: This is a traditional winter dish in Amritsar made with a flatbread made with cornmeal (Makki ki Roti) and mustard leaves (Sarson ka Saag). It is served with a dollop of butter and jaggery.
- Hotel Raj Continental - starting from INR 800 per night.
- Hotel Sukhman International - starting from INR 900 per night.
- Hotel Puri Palace - starting from INR 1000 per night.
- Hotel Lawrence - starting from INR 1100 per night.
- Hotel Robin - starting from INR 1200 per night.
- Taj Swarna - starting from INR 10,000 per night.
- Hyatt Regency Amritsar - starting from INR 8,000 per night.
- Radisson Blu Hotel Amritsar - starting from INR 6,000 per night.
- Holiday Inn Amritsar Ranjit Avenue - starting from INR 5,000 per night.
- Ramada Amritsar - starting from INR 4,500 per night.
- Kesar Da Dhaba: This iconic restaurant in Amritsar has been serving traditional Punjabi food for over 100 years. It is famous for its dal makhani, palak paneer, and lachha paratha.
- Beera Chicken House: This popular restaurant is known for its delicious chicken dishes, especially the tandoori chicken, butter chicken, and chicken tikka.
- Brothers' Dhaba: This is a popular dhaba-style restaurant in Amritsar that serves authentic Punjabi food. It is famous for its Amritsari kulcha, chole bhature, and lassi.
- Bharawan Da Dhaba: This is another famous dhaba-style restaurant in Amritsar that has been serving Punjabi food for over 100 years. It is famous for its stuffed kulchas, chole bhature, and lassi.
- Kanha Sweets: This is a famous sweet shop and restaurant in Amritsar that is known for its mouth-watering sweets and chaat. It is a great place to try local street food.
- Crystal Restaurant: This is a popular restaurant in Amritsar that serves a mix of Punjabi and Chinese cuisine. It is famous for its vegetarian thali and spring rolls.
- Makhan Fish and Chicken Corner: This is a popular non-vegetarian restaurant in Amritsar that serves delicious fish and chicken dishes. It is famous for its Amritsari fish and tandoori chicken.
- Gurdas Ram Jalebi Wale: This is a famous sweet shop in Amritsar that is known for its jalebis. It is a great place to try local sweets and desserts.
Apart from the traditional market that Amritsar is known for, there are several malls which offer national and international brands under one roof along with dining place and entertainment. Here are some of the best malls in Amritsar:
- Trilium Mall
- Mall of Amritsar
- Alpha One
- Celebration Mall
- Soul Space Wagah Plaza
- Omaxe Novelty Mall
- Lawrence Road: The market is a great place to shop for men’s wear and accessories and that too at reasonable rates. There are shops for women clothing as well.
- Kapda Bazaar: This market is in proximity to the Golden Temple and is known for its wholesale clothing shops. It is a great place to buy kinds of different clothes in bulk and that too at affordable rate.
- Hall Bazaar: This is one of the oldest and busiest markets in Amritsar, located near the Golden Temple. It offers a wide range of products, including clothes, jewelry, spices, handicrafts, and souvenirs.
- Guru Bazaar: This market is located near the Golden Temple and offers a range of Punjabi dresses, traditional footwear, jewelry, and handicrafts.
- Katra Jaimal Singh Market: This market is known for its traditional Punjabi suits, colorful fabrics, and phulkari embroidery. It is also a great place to buy Punjabi juttis (shoes).
- Lahori Gate Market: This market is located near the historic Lahori Gate and is famous for its textiles, jewelry, and handicrafts. It is also a great place to buy traditional Punjabi dresses.
- Shastri Market: This market is known for its food products, including spices, dry fruits, and snacks. It is also a great place to buy traditional Punjabi sweets such as Pinni and Ladoo.
These are some of the most famous shops in Amritsar from where you can buy different items ranging from clothing, accessories, sweets, raw material, stationary, handicrafts, and Amritsar special as well.
- Gullu Exclusive
- kashmir art emporium
- Raunak Punjabi Jutti
- Queens Couture
- Novelty Sweets & Restaurant
- Pahwa Creations
- Fabindia Experience Center
- Pal Men's Wear
- Bansal Sweets
Museums in Amritsar
- Partition Museum: The Partition Museum displays the historic artifacts, documents, photographs, and oral history that depict a historic and revolutionary event called as the Partition of India.
- Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum: This museum is located inside the summer palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the founder of the Sikh Empire. It houses a collection of weapons, paintings, and other artifacts related to the life and times of the Maharaja.
- Central Sikh Museum: This museum is located inside the Harmandir Sahib complex, also known as the Golden Temple. It has a collection of Sikh relics, including historical weapons, manuscripts, and paintings.
- Gobindgarh Fort Museum: This museum is located inside the historic Gobindgarh Fort and showcases the history of the fort and the city of Amritsar. It has a collection of weapons, coins, and other artifacts related to the fort and the city.
Events / Festivals
- Guru Nanak Jayanti: This is one of the most important festivals celebrated in Amritsar, which commemorates the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm, and the Golden Temple is decorated with lights and flowers.
- Lohri : Lohri is a popular Punjabi festival celebrated in Amritsar and other parts of northern India. It is a harvest festival that falls on January 13 and is celebrated by lighting bonfires, singing folk songs, and enjoying traditional Punjabi food.
- Baisakhi : Baisakhi is another important festival celebrated in Amritsar, which marks the beginning of the harvest season. It is celebrated on April 13 or 14 and is marked by colorful processions, traditional music, and dance performances.
- Hola Mohalla: Hola Mohalla is a Sikh festival that is celebrated in Amritsar and other parts of Punjab, which falls on the day after Holi. It is a martial festival that showcases the valor and strength of the Sikh community, with mock battles and demonstrations of martial arts.
- Ram Tirth Fair: The fair is held during the months of October and November and is dedicated to the Hindu sage Valmiki, the author of the epic Ramayana. The devotees take a dip at the sacred tank at Ram Tirth temple which is considered to have healing properties. The fair also features religious discourses, cultural events, and bhandaras organized by religious and social organizations.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Amritsar is during the winter season, which runs from November to February. During this time, the weather is cool and pleasant, with average temperatures ranging from 5°C to 15°C. This makes it a great time to explore the city's many attractions, without being hindered by extreme heat or humidity. Moreover, the winter season is also the time when many important festivals are celebrated in Amritsar, including Guru Nanak Jayanti and Lohri, which makes it an excellent time to experience the city's vibrant cultural and religious traditions.
If you don't mind the heat, you can also visit Amritsar during the summer season, which runs from April to June, but temperatures can soar up to 40°C making it uncomfortable to roam around. The monsoon season, which lasts from July to September, can be humid and prone to heavy rainfall, which can hamper travel plans.
How to Reach
- Train: The nearest railway station is The Amritsar Railway Station – which gets many trains connecting to various cities in the country and buses and rickshaws are available from the station to the city centre.
- Flight: The nearest airport is Amritsar’s Sri Guru Ram Das Ji International Airport – which is well connected with flights within India as well as other parts of the world.
- Bus: Amritsar is located on National Highway 1 in India, and it is easy to get buses from the surrounding cities to Amritsar.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)
Where is Amritsar located?
Amritsar is a city in the north Indian state of Punjab.
What is Amritsar known for?
Amritsar is one of the largest and important cities in Punjab and is a major commercial, cultural, and transportation centre. It is known for the spiritual and majestic Golden Temple along with historic Jallianwala Bagh and Wagah Border as some of its tourist places along with its rich culture and delicious street food.
What is famous in Amritsar to eat?
Some of the famous and must-have food to try in Amritsar are – Langar ka prasad, chole kulche, Amritsari fish tikka, sarso da saag and makki di roti, lassi, puri chole and pinni, etc.
What is the best time to visit Amritsar?
November to March is the best time to visit Amritsar as the weather is comparatively pleasant and ideal to sightseeing. There are many festivals as well that come up during this time in Amritsar.