India

Amritsar

The largest city in the state of Punjab, Amritsar is the holy city of the Sikh faith. At its heart you will find one of India’s most spectacular and serene sights, the Golden Temple, Sikhism’s holiest shrine. Whilst Amritsar is a bustling modern city, within the old town you can step back into a bygone era, treading the narrow alleys to seek out historical treasures and colourful bazaars.

What to see

Golden Temple

Golden Temple

The Harmindar Sahib, or more informally the Golden Temple, is the spiritual heart of the Sikh faith. It was built in the 16th century by Guru Arjan Dev and richly gilded in shimmering gold; the dome alone is said to have 750 kilograms of it! The temple itself seemingly floats on the sacred waters of the Amrit Sarovar (Pool of Immortality-Giving Nectar) – all Sikhs try to make the pilgrimage here at least once to bathe in the purifying waters. Adding to the atmosphere within the temple’s inner sanctum priests and musicians keep up a continuous chant of verses from the Sikh holy book. Visit at sunrise to witness the sun’s first rays glinting off the temple’s golden roof or in the evening to enjoy beautiful music.

Old town

Old town

With the Harmindar Sahib at its heart, Amritsar’s old town is like a step back into a bygone era, where you can tread the narrow alleys to seek out historical treasures and colourful bazaars. Entered by 18 medieval gateways (only one is the original) it is a fascinating place to explore – just sitting down for a drink with a view of the streets can provide hours of entertainment. Visit the Jallianwala Bagh memorial, dedicated to Indians killed and wounded when British troops opened fire on unarmed protestors in 1919. In fact, this massacre was one of the key reasons Gandhi initiated his civil disobedience campaigns. A small exhibition tells the story of some of the victims.

Wagah Border

Wagah Border

Amritsar sits close to India’s border with Pakistan the border crossing of Wagah just 27 kilometres west of the city. Every night crowds of Indian tourists (and Pakistani’s on the other side of the border) descend to watch the elaborate border closing ceremony. The showmanship is fantastically over the top, with synchronised speed marching, high kicks and stomps, cheered on raucously by the crowded. The lowering of the flags and slamming of the gates marks the border closed for the night.

Where to stay

Radisson Blu, Amritsar

Close to Amritsar's airport, the quiet and comfortable Radisson Blu boasts contemporary interiors and classic Indian hospitality. Stay in a tranquil environment with state-of-the-art amenities in both the rooms and public spaces. Make use of the spa, pool and fitness centre and relax at the lounge bar.

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Hyatt Amritsar

Located in the heart of the city, the Hyatt Amritsar just minutes from the Golden Temple and Amritsar's main market. Elegant and sleek in design, make use of the spa, fitness centre and pool and relax in spacious, contemporary accommodation.

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Hotel Ramada Amritsar

Located within the old walled city, just 15 minutes from the Golden Temple, the Ramada Amritsar is at the heart of the action. Priding itself on its Punjabi hospitality, the Ramada exudes traditional values and boasts modern amenities that prioritize comfort - perfect after a day of exploration.

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