The historic city has witnessed some of the defining moments of our country – from the massacre at Jallianwala Bagh to the Partition to the Operation Bluestar. But it's not just about history. Amritsar is famous for its food, be it the kulchas swimming in white butter or ghee, the Sarson ka saag, the lassi or the multitude of meaty delights. And then, there's the shopping. It can be a bit confusing, but it's not a large city, so if you know exactly where to go, you can make the most of your stay.
Best time to visit: To enjoy the best weather in Amritsar, you should plan your visit from October to March.
How to reach Amritsar
Most spoken language in Amritsar
Originated as a small restaurant, now is famous and is one of the most sought-after eating places in Amritsar. Your trip is undoubtedly incomplete if you don’t taste their supremely delicious Dal Makhani and creamy Phirni.
Even if it’s become a tourist cliché, it’s for a reason. The vegetarian offerings here are legendary, including the bharta, dal makhni and sarsonka saag.
The quirky Sarhad restaurant, close to the Atari-Wagah border, is as famous for its hearty local food (think Amritsari and Lahori dishes) as it is for the artwork that showcases the Indo-Pak relationship uniquely and funnily. Its motto is Celebrating Peace Through Food and even its menu has the words peace and shanti on it.
The favourite breakfast spot offers beautifully crisp, piping hot puri-aloo and chana, and refreshingly chilled lassi. You can also pick up some mithai from the shop.
Popular with celebrities from all over the world, this iconic spot is known for its tandoori chicken and fried fish.
There are a few things you cannot leave Amritsar without–traditional Punjabi juttis, phulkari dupattas, Amritsari papad and wadiyan. Explore bazaars such as Hall Gate and Katra Jaimal Singh, where every second shop sells these wares in a dizzying array of colours. Both Raunak Punjabi Jutti and Rangat Punjabi Jutti have gorgeous footwear, from classic Lahori styles to modern, floral-printed juttis that can be worn with the Western wear as well.
Hyaat This is a convenient luxury option that offers complimentary shuttles to and from the Golden Temple, even for the pre-dawn service. The hotel can also organise a visit to Jallianwala Bagh and the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Panorama.
Hotel City Park With Golden temple at just 200metres, Jallian Wala Bagh at 100meters, Hotel City Park is the perfect address to stay close to all famous tourist spots. It is counted among the most beautiful and luxurious hotel in Amritsar and boast of superb service and best-in-class amenities.
Ramada This hotel is walking distance from The Partition Museum and the Golden Temple. A highlight, especially given the hotel’s proximity to the sights, is the rooftop swimming pool.
Ranjit’s SVAASA A beautifully restored 18th-century haveli-turned-boutique-property, this one features Art Deco-style flooring, beautiful tapestries and antiques and many of its rooms and suites offer private terraces.
Taj Swarna The Taj is a bit of a drive from the tourist sights, but the standard Taj luxuries make up for it. Try the Ambarsar Chaa (Tea), in which a variety of teas are presented, along with the famous street food items. And if you’re tired after a long day of sightseeing and shopping, head to the Jiva Spa for a rejuvenating massage.
To explore the fun side of the city, you need to wait for the evening. That’s when various bars, and nightclubs in Amritsar open up for people to enjoy great food and music, here are few of the popular ones that you must checkout.
If you are in Amritsar just for a day, then 'Heritage Street' walk is the best thing you can do to explore this 400-year-old city. Beginning from the old Town Hall Building that now houses the Partition Museum and goes towards Jallianwala Bagh till the Golden Temple, this one-kilometre stretch covers all the city's iconic points. Hence you can start your day by soaking into the Golden temple's sacredness, have yummy langar, hit the Heritage street and visit Jallianwala Bagh, situated at a short distance from the temple. Then move towards Partition museum, and if you have ample time, you can visit Wagah Border or else go on a shopping spree and pick up some souvenirs, phulkari dupattas, suits and beautiful juttis. In between don't forget to relish some yummy kulchas, Sarson da saag, sweet kheer and surely lassi.
Hola Mahalla is considered a Sikh Olympic event lasting for three days, consisting of camping out and enjoying various fighting prowess and bravery, followed by kirtan, music, and poetry. For meals, which are an integral part of the Sikh institution (Gurdwara), visitors sit together in pangats (Queues) and eat vegetarian food of the langars (community meal stall). The festival is celebrated for three consecutive days. Members of the Sikh community display their physical strength by performing dare-devil acts like bareback horse-riding, standing erect on two speeding horses, Gatka (mock encounters), tent pegging etc. This is followed by music and poetry competition to lighten the charged up atmosphere.
Guru Purab is a significant festival of Punjab which is followed in two different times of the year. The first one is observed in November whereas the second one is organised in January. The first Guru Purab celebrated across the length and breadth of Punjab, is followed by Amritsar's people. In
Baisakhi is one of the most important festivals in Amritsar. It is celebrated in April with a lot of enthusiasm, mostly among the Sikh community. The Punjabi folk song and folk dance, Bhangra, is performed by the locals. During the celebrations, numerous stalls selling bangles, toys, local handicrafts, etc. are sold on the streets. Food stalls are also a significant crowd-puller. Baisakhi is considered a very auspicious festival in Amritsar because it was the sacred day when Guru Gobind Singhji established the Khalsa Panth. This is when harvested crops are gathered in, and the farmers rejoice to fulfil their year's hard work.