Posted 23 December 2022

Why you should travel to Amritsar for a winter holiday this season

Blessed with all-natural resources, Amritsar is opulent and grand, and during the festive season, the grandeur is magnified tenfold. Lakhs of tourists flock to Amritsar to enjoy the quiet, peace and pay their respects at the Golden Temple, enjoy the delicious and famous parathas and kulchas, and the brightness and vividness that Punjab is famous for. The city is rich in history with Jallianwala Bagh and Wagah Border.

Winter is cold, with temperatures averaging at about 5°C. The nights are extremely cold, with the daytime being pleasant and sunny. The cold weather makes for cosy nights around bonfires, with yummy makke di roti and sarson da saag.

People of Amritsar are often said to be very large-hearted and fun, and they celebrate their festivals with a lot of zeal.

Read more about - Five reasons to Plan your next trip to Amritsar

So, plan a trip to Amritsar to witness these winter festivals:

Lohri

Known as the winter harvest festival, Lohri is one of the main winter festivals celebrated in Amritsar. After the longest and coldest winter night, the holy Lohri fire is lit, and sesame seeds, jaggery and other ingredients that give warmth are offered to the fire. They play exuberant and exhilarating music and dance their hearts out. The festival is celebrated because it is believed that after Lohri, days start becoming warmer, and it marks the end of the cold winter.

The festival is a lot of fun with bonfires, folk songs and dances that take place around the fire. People offer sesame seeds, jaggery to the fire and distribute the same among the people. There is a scrumptious and hearty spread with traditional dishes like sesame rice, sarson da saag and makke di roti. Special celebrations take place in houses with newlyweds and newborns.

Things to do during Lohri:

  • Enjoy the winter weather around the bonfire, while taking part in the music and dance.
  • Feast on the delectable local Punjabi cuisine.
  • Visit the Golden Temple to pay respects.
  • Kite flying is an important part of Lohri. Awaken your inner child and spend the day frolicking in the sun.

Date of the festival: In 2022, Lohri will be celebrated on 13th January, so pack the winter clothes, make bookings and enjoy the festival, which is bright, fun, cheerful and light.

Basant Panchami

Often touted as the most famous festival of Amritsar, Basant Panchami is celebrated in January or February, when winter is slowly fading from the city. The festival is celebrated forty days before the arrival of spring. Yellow is an important colour of the festival, and mustard seeds sown in the farms bloom into a beautiful sea of yellow flowers. People wear yellow and fly kites. The celebrations are held at the Chheharta Sahib Gurudwara and start early in the morning, continue through the night and end the next afternoon. Devotees sing hymns and poems of Sikh literature throughout the night.

The Gurudwara management organises a fair for everyone to enjoy and participate in. There is special langar organised that serves khichri, kadhi, pakode, jalebi and kheer, among other items. The devotees believe that couples without kids should pray for one on this day. Medical services, free lunch and first-aid services are provided free of cost.

Things to do on Basant Panchami:

  • Kite flying is a major event of the festival, and there are competitions that are conducted. People fly colourful kites and try to cut the other person’s kite. It is an exhilarating and unique experience.
  • Take a dip in the holy water or sarovar in the Gurudwara Chheharata Sahib.
  • Watch the sadhus perform a ritual at the Sangam of the rivers Ganges and Yamuna.

Date of the festival: Basant Panchami will be celebrated on 5th February in 2022. Visit Amritsar in February to feast on the yummy meetha rice, sarson da saag and makke di roti. Enjoy looking up and viewing the colourful kites that light up the sky.

Read more about - 10 Punjabi delicacies to try if you want to relish the flavours of the Pind

Ram Tirath Fair

Regarded as an important religious event of Amritsar, the Ram Tirath Fair is held every year two weeks after Diwali. The festival is held at the Ram Tirath, which is 11 km away from the city and is said to be the birthplace of Luv and Kush, the twin sons of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita. The temple is considered to be the ashram of sage Valmiki, where he composed the epic Ramayana. Visitors of the temple can see a hut where the Goddess Sita gave birth to the twins and a pond which is said to have been dug by Lord Hanuman.

In November, Ram Tirath Fair occurs for five days, and women make lamps of flour, fill them with mustard oil or ghee and float these lamps in the pond while singing holy songs. The custom is called Tullu floating in Amritsar. Devotees visit the temple early in the morning to take a bath in the holy water of the pond. After their bath, they take rounds around the tank while chanting holy songs.

Date of the festival: The festival happens two weeks after Diwali, so bookings must be made accordingly. The festival is very popular among devotees of Lord Rama and is rich in history.

Gurpurab

Guru Nanak Jayanti or Gurupurab is an important Sikh festival that is celebrated with a lot of zeal and excitement. The festival celebrates the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji, who is the first Guru of the Sikhs and is the founder of Sikhism.

During this festival, the Gurudwaras in Amritsar are adorned with candles, diyas and lights. The holy religious scriptures of Sikhism Japji Sahib and Granth Sahib are read continuously without any gap. Prasad and free lunch are distributed. The festival is celebrated with great aplomb.

Things to do in Gurupurab:

  • Visit the Gurudwara to witness the peace and quiet.
  • Distribute langar among the devotees.
  • Enjoy the delicious Punjabi food.

Date of the festival: Gurupurab usually occurs in the third week of November. The winter is just starting in Amritsar, and the weather is very pleasant.

Christmas

Despite Christians forming a very small population, Christmas is celebrated with great gusto in Amritsar. There are events like gospel choirs, brunches, Christmas dinners and carolling that take place throughout the city. Families buy small Christmas trees and decorate them, while the children visit Santa in malls and sing Christmas carols and hymns. The St. Paul’s Church is decorated with lights, and there is a Midnight Mass held there on Christmas Eve.

Things to do on Christmas:

  • Enjoy the Midnight Mass at the cathedral, along with candles, music and lights.
  • Feast on the delicious Christmas buffets held in hotels all around the city.
  • Enjoy the beautiful firework display.

Date of the festival: Christmas happens on 25th December every year. Travel to Amritsar a few days in advance to enjoy the city, visit the Golden Temple and gorge on the delicious food.

Read more about -  The best Indian cities to visit in December for a Merry Christmas

Amritsar travel tips

  • As December is an extremely busy month, it is recommended to make bookings for accommodation and transportation in advance.
  • Keep some extra time in hand to allow for the local shopping, and taste the yummy parathas and kulchas when in the city.
  • Follow all Covid-19 protocols while maintaining a safe distance, washing hands regularly and wearing a mask at all times, especially when in public places.
  • Both men and women must cover their heads during the visit to the Golden Temple. Scarves must be carried for that purpose.

How to reach Amritsar?

Amritsar is well-connected by roads, railways and flights.

  • By road: The national highways of India connect Amritsar to all major cities of India. Driving to Amritsar from Delhi, Chandigarh, Dehradun and Gurgaon is very easy. There are many buses that ply from Amritsar to all major cities in India.
  • By rail: Amritsar Junction is the busiest and biggest railway station in Punjab that connects Amritsar to all cities in the country. With 10 platforms, it is easy to travel to Amritsar via train.
  • By air: Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport in Amritsar is a hub, and IndiGo operates non-stop daily flights to Amritsar from all major cities in India.

Best time to visit

November to March is the best time to visit Amritsar as the weather is pleasant and ideal for spending some time in the afternoon sun and exploring everything that the city has to offer. Visitors must carry ample warm clothes, as the nights tend to be very cold. In the winter months, the weather in Amritsar is quite cold. December is still pleasant with an average high of 23°C and an average low of 11°C.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a break, then plan a trip to Amritsar to witness these winter festivals. These festivals imbibe the true Punjabi spirit and are a testimony to the grand lifestyle and delicious cuisine that Amritsar is known for. Pack your winter wear, make bookings, hop on a flight and enjoy the beauty of Amritsar. The winter season in Amritsar is delightful, with the cold weather and hot food that are definitely not going to disappoint.

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