10 Essential Things To Know Before You Visit Amritsar
1) Guru Ka Langar
Do NOT forget to have meals in the langar which operates round the clock. Meals in the langar are simple vegetarian but tasty. They usually consists of rotis, daal, a vegetable dish and kheer. Having meals with strangers sitting in a line on the mat laid out on the floor of the langar hall is a wonderful experience you would love to cherish for the rest of your life.
2) Palki Sahib ceremony
Palki Sahib is ceremony of carrying the holy book Sri Guru Granth Sahib to and fro Darbar Sahib and Akal Takht Sahib. Sri Guru Granth Sahib stays in the Akal Takht Sahib in the night. It is carried to the Darbar Sahib by Palki Sahib (palanquin) in the early morning between 4 am and 5 am depending on the monthly schedule. In the same way, at the end of the day, it is carried to the Akal Takht Sahib by Palki Sahib (palanquin) from the Harmandir Sahib in the night at 10 pm. It all happens amidst chanting and reciting of hymns. The experience will surely be etched into memory.
3) Stay at SGPC Niwas
There are six Niwas, maintained by the Sri Darbar Sahib authorities, which provide lodging facilities for pilgrims. The reception counters work around the clock to cater to offline booking requests from visitors. Pilgrims can book Niwas online too. However, only two Niwas - Mata Ganga Ji Niwas and Saragarhi Niwas can be booked online 15 days prior to the check-in date. While booking one should remember the fact that rooms are only given to the family and for 2 consecutive days only. All Niwas, except Saragarhi Niwas is located just beside the Golden Temple and suitable for pilgrims visiting the holy place. The rooms are neat and clean and available at nominal price.
4) Bhagwan Valmiki Tirath Sthal/ Ram Tirath
Many people visiting Amritsar are unaware of the existence of Bhagwan Valmiki Tirath Sthal/ Ram Tirath, an important historical monument of Valmikis. As per the mythological beliefs, The temple dates back to the period of Ramayana and the place is famous for the ashram of sage Maharishi Valmiki. This is the place where the sage gave shelter to Sita, wife of Rama when she was abandoned after the Lanka victory. It is the birthplace of Lava and Kusha, sons of Ramachandra. The great epic Ramayana is also said to have been written here by Maharishi Valmiki. It is also believed that the fight between Lord Ram Chandra's forces and Lav and Kush also took place at Ram Tirth. Your trip will not be complete without visiting this temple complex which houses an 8 foot tall 800 kg gold plated idol of Lord Valmiki.
5) Durgiana Temple
If you have not already added Durgiana Temple or Lakshmi Narayan temple to your list of attractions, you should. A sense of peace, tranquility and spirituality welcomes visitors to the magical Durgiana Temple. This Hindu temple strongly resembles the Golden Temple. It is a wonderful place to relax and feel at peace.
6) Gurdwara Baba Atal Rai Sahib
Most of the pilgrims who visit Golden Temple fail to realize that one of the most important places of worship is just a stone's throw away [just beside Mata Ganga Ji Niwas]. You must visit this beautiful Gurdwara and the tallest building in Amritsar, built in memory of the nine year old son of Sri Guru Hargobind ji.
7) Jalianwala Bagh
If you have great expectations from this historical place where so many Indians were massacred without warning, you will be disappointed due to poor upkeep by the Government. It is in stark contrast to the Holy Golden Temple next door. Whatever may be the case, you should visit this place once to pay homage to the martyrs.
8) Kulcha @Bhai Kulwant Singh Kulchain Wale
Do you want to return to your place without savouring famous Amritsari Kulchas? If not, you must try this delicacy at Bhai Kulwant Singh Kulchain Wale near the Golden Temple. This small eatery is very popular among local people. They sell various kulchas - from gobi kulcha, aloo kulcha to paneer kulcha. A plate contains chick pea gravy, mixture of onions and green chutney along with kulcha. And don't forget to order a glass of lassi which is served in tall glasses with a thick layer of cream floating atop.
9) Gobindgarh Fort
Do you want to shell out Rs 180/- [as of Oct '19] per head to enjoy a quick 7D show and a laser show and wander around a fort that seems to have been made an amusement park? We would recommend to give it a miss to save your valuable time as well as money!
10) Enjoy Shopping In Amritsar
Are you a shopaholic? Amritsar will not disappoint you. The city offers a wide range local products - from garments, jewelry, shoes to food like papad, amla murabba etc. Some of the top places for shopping in Amritsar include Hall Bazaar, Lahori Gate Market and Shastri Market where you will find a range of things to buy. However, if you want to buy good woollen articles of clothing like sweaters, shawls etc at a low price, you have to visit the the wholesale market near telephone exchange. While buying anything, be it kada or any article, you must remember that the shops do not sell anything at fixed price [even if it is mentioned]. In other words, your bargaining power will be tested!