Home > Blog > Journey to the Divine: Pilgrimage to the Holy City of Amritsar

Journey to the Divine: Pilgrimage to the Holy City of Amritsar

Table of contents

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Nestled in the heart of Punjab, Amritsar stands as a land known for its spirituality and cultural heritage. Steeped in history dating back to the 16th century, this vibrant city is renowned as the spiritual capital of Sikhism. Its name, derived from the sacred pool of nectar, the Amrit Sarovar, reflects its deep-rooted significance in Sikh tradition. Amritsar serves as a sanctuary for pilgrims and travellers alike, offering a plethora of attractions that showcase its rich tapestry of religious, historical significance.

Beyond its religious significance, Amritsar has plenty of other attractions and activities catering to all types of travellers. Visitors can explore the winding alleys of the old city, adorned with intricately carved facades and bustling market stalls for an immersive experience.

If you’re planning an Amritsar pilgrimage, this article will give you all the information you need for a hassle-free experience.

Holy City Amritsar – History

Amritsar’s history is deeply intertwined with the rise and spread of Sikhism, dating back to the 16th century when Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh Guru, founded the city. Its name, “Pool of Nectar,” was inspired by the Amrit Sarovar, a sacred body of water. Over the centuries, Amritsar evolved into a spiritual and cultural epicentre for Sikhs, attracting devotees from far and wide to its revered sites.

The construction of the iconic Golden Temple further strengthened Amritsar’s status as a holy city. With its exquisite architecture and shimmering gold-plated domes, the Golden Temple welcomes visitors of all faiths to experience its serene ambience and beauty.

However, Amritsar’s history is also marked by moments of strife and struggle, most notably the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919. This tragic event remains etched in the collective memory of the nation as a symbol of colonial oppression and resistance. Today, Amritsar not only stands as one of India’s most popular pilgrimage trip but also as a land of vibrant culture, rich history, and delectable cuisine.

Best Time To Plan A Trip To Amritsar

To experience the true essence of Amritsar, plan your pilgrimage from October to March when the weather is pleasant. During this time, you can comfortably explore the city’s attractions without hassle. Avoid the scorching heat of summer, which spans from April to June, and the monsoon season from July to September, when heavy rains can disrupt travel plans.

How To Reach Amritsar: Holy City

By Air

Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport is the primary gateway to Amritsar. Direct flights are from major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Chandigarh. Upon arrival, taxis and private cabs are readily available at the airport to transport you to your accommodation.

By Rail

Amritsar Junction Railway Station is a major railhead connected to various parts of the country via an extensive rail network. Several trains, including the Shatabdi and Intercity Express, operate daily between Amritsar and cities like Delhi, Jaipur, and Kolkata, providing convenient options for travellers.

By Road

State-run and private buses operate regular services to Amritsar from neighbouring cities and states, including Delhi, Chandigarh, and Jammu. The city is also well-connected by road, with national highways allowing for smooth travel by car or hired taxis.

Places To Visit on Your Trip To Amritsar

On your trip to Amritsar, make sure to visit the below places. Each place is unique and offers something for all types of travelers.

1. Golden Temple

The Golden Temple, or Harmandir Sahib, is the spiritual and cultural heart of Sikhism. Located in the sacred city of Amritsar, this temple is the main reason for an Amritsar pilgrimage. Adorned with shimmering gold-plated domes, this architectural masterpiece exudes a sense of divine splendour and serenity. Surrounded by the tranquil waters of the Amrit Sarovar, the temple symbolises unity, equality, and peace.

It’s a holy site that welcomes pilgrims and visitors from all walks of life. Inside the temple, the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of Sikhism, is enshrined, drawing devotees who come to offer prayers and seek spiritual solace. The langar, a community kitchen serving free meals to all visitors regardless of caste, creed, or religion, symbolises the Sikh principle of seva. One of the top destinations in Amritsar, make sure to visit the Golden Temple on your Amritsar holy city trip.

2. Jallianwala Bagh

Pay homage to the martyrs of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre on your trip to Amritsar. This place is a reminder of a dark chapter in India’s history. Located in the heart of Amritsar, Punjab. this historic public garden witnessed a tragic massacre on April 13, 1919, when British troops indiscriminately opened fire on unarmed civilians who had gathered to protest against colonial rule peacefully.

The massacre left a deep scar on the collective minds of the nation, symbolizing the brutality of British rule and the resilience of the Indian freedom struggle. Today, Jallianwala Bagh stands as a memorial, with bullet marks on its walls bearing witness to the sacrifices made by countless individuals in the pursuit of freedom and justice. Here, you can pay your respects at the Martyrs’ Well and the eternal flame monument, reflecting on the enduring legacy of those who lost their lives in the pursuit of independence. Make sure to add Jallianwala Bagh to your list when visiting the land.

3. Wagah Border

Wagah Border, situated on the India-Pakistan border near Amritsar, is renowned for its daily Beating Retreat ceremony. This ceremony is a symbolic display of patriotism and camaraderie between the two nations. Every evening, crowds gather to witness the meticulously choreographed ceremony, where border guards from both India and Pakistan engage in synchronised drills, flag-lowering rituals, and spirited marches.

The atmosphere is electric, filled with chants of “Jai Hind” as spectators on either side cheer on their respective countries. Despite the political tensions that divide them, the Wagah Border ceremony serves as a reminder of the shared heritage and cultural ties that bind India and Pakistan. It is a testament to the enduring hope for peace and cooperation between the two neighbouring nations despite historical animosities.

4. Gobindgarh Fort

The Gobindgarh Fort is another popular attraction in Amritsar that you cannot miss. Steeped in history and heritage, it is a majestic symbol of Punjab’s rich cultural legacy. Constructed in the early 19th century, the fort served as a strategic stronghold and witnessed numerous battles that shaped the region’s history.

Today, Gobindgarh Fort welcomes visitors to explore its walls and delve into the fascinating past and princely grandeur. The fort’s imposing architecture, sprawling courtyards, and well-preserved artefacts offer a glimpse into its storied past, while cultural performances and light and sound shows bring history to life. Here, you can enjoy the panoramic views of Amritsar and immerse yourself in Punjab’s heritage and beauty.

5. Partition Museum

The Partition Museum, nestled in the historic Town Hall of Amritsar, is a tribute to the legacy of India’s partition in 1947. The museum showcases the events that led to the division of India and Pakistan through immersive exhibits, personal stories, and archival documents. You can explore the galleries dedicated to the refugee experience, witness the impact of displacement on communities, and reflect on the enduring scars of partition.

The museum’s interactive displays and audiovisual presentations offer a compelling insight into the lives of those affected by partition. If you’re interested in history or looking for more information about the partition, then visiting the Partition Museum is a must.

6. Akal Takht

The Akal Takht, meaning “Throne of the Timeless One,” stands adjacent to the Golden Temple within the spiritual complex in Amritsar. As the highest administrative and political seat of Sikh authority, it holds immense significance in Sikhism. It serves as a symbol of justice, sovereignty, and Sikh tradition. Established by Guru Hargobind Sahib, the Akal Takht serves to address social, political, and religious issues affecting the Sikh community. Pilgrims and visitors to the Golden Temple complex often pay homage to the Akal Takht, seeking blessings and guidance in their spiritual journey.

7. Durgiana Temple

The Durgiana Temple, also called the Lakshmi Narayan Temple, is a revered Hindu shrine in the heart of Amritsar, Punjab. Known for its architectural grandeur, the temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga and is adorned with intricate carvings, vibrant murals, and ornate domes reminiscent of traditional Hindu temple architecture. Bearing stark similarities to the Golden Temple, it’s a popular attraction in Amritsar.

Devotees and visitors flock to the temple to seek blessings, offer prayers, and partake in religious ceremonies, particularly during festivals like Navratri and Diwali. During these festivals, the temple is illuminated with lights and the air is filled with festivities. With its serene ambience, spiritual significance, and cultural heritage, the Durgiana Temple is a sacred sanctuary for spiritual seekers and pilgrims.

Food To Try On Your Trip To Amritsar

Amritsar is also known for its delectable cuisine and variety of dishes. Here are some must-try dishes when visiting the land:

1. Amritsari Kulcha

A quintessential Amritsari delicacy, kulcha is a leavened bread stuffed with a savoury mixture of spiced potatoes or paneer. Served piping hot and garnished with butter, it pairs perfectly with tangy chole for a satisfying meal. This is a must-taste on your trip to Amritsar.

2. Tandoori Chicken

Succulent chicken pieces marinated in a blend of yogurt and spices, then roasted to perfection in a traditional clay oven (tandoor). Tender and flavourful, tandoori chicken is a beloved dish showcasing Punjabi barbecue’s artistry.

3. Makki ki Roti with Sarson ka Saag

This classic Punjabi dish is a winter speciality featuring maize flour flatbread served with sarson ka saag. The robust flavours and rustic charm of this dish capture the essence of Punjab’s agricultural heritage.

4. Aloo Tikki

Crispy potato patties seasoned with aromatic spices and served with tangy chutneys and yogurt. Aloo tikki is a popular street food snack with a delightful combination of textures and flavours.

5. Paneer Tikka

Paneer tikka is another popular recipe you must try out when visiting the land. Paneer cubes are marinated in a flavourful mixture of spices and grilled to perfection. Paneer tikka is a vegetarian dish that is perfect if you do not eat meat.

6. Aloo Paratha

Aloo Paratha is a beloved Punjabi dish consisting of unleavened bread stuffed with a spiced mixture of mashed potatoes, onions, herbs, and sometimes green chillies. The dough is rolled out, filled with the potato mixture, and then cooked on a hot griddle until golden brown and crispy.

Aloo Paratha is typically served with a dollop of creamy yogurt, tangy pickle, and sometimes a drizzle of melted butter or ghee. It is a popular breakfast option in Amritsar and is enjoyed throughout the day as a hearty and satisfying meal. Your trip would be incomplete without tasting this dish in Amritsar.

Things to Keep in Mind On Your Trip To Amritsar

  • Respect the Religious Customs: When visiting the Golden Temple, ensure that you cover your head with a scarf or head covering and remove your shoes before entering the sanctum. Maintain decorum and refrain from smoking, consuming alcohol, or engaging in disrespectful behaviour within the temple premises.
  • Langar Etiquette: Partake in the langar, a communal meal served at the Golden Temple, with humility and gratitude. Follow the instructions of the volunteers and maintain cleanliness while dining in the langar hall.
  • Modest Dress Code: Dress modestly and conservatively when visiting religious sites in Amritsar, covering your shoulders and knees as a sign of respect.
  • Security Checkpoints: Be prepared to undergo security checks and screenings at the entrance to the Golden Temple and other sensitive locations in Amritsar. Cooperate with the security personnel and follow their instructions for a hassle-free experience.

Embark on a transformative journey to the divine city of Amritsar, where spirituality, history, and culture converge to create an unforgettable experience. From the sacred Golden Temple to the memorial at Jallianwala Bagh, every corner of Amritsar tells a story of resilience, devotion, and unity. Book your Amritsar tour packages with Thomas Cook and get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant colours, flavours, and culture of the land.

Table of contents

    Recommended Articles for you