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Amritsar

Amritsar, as the name suggests, is rightfully a pool of nectar. Located in the state of Punjab, Amritsar is one of the most important pilgrimage centres especially for the Sikhs in the country. The city is characterised by some of the must visit religious, historical as well as contemporary sites of importance. The Golden Temple, where Sikhs from all over the world come to pay their reverence to Guru Granth Sahib and take a dip in the Amrit Saras Kund (Pool of Immortality) for spiritual purification is the major landmark of the place. Amritsar is also characterised by the hard working and warm-hearted people.

Sightseeing:

Golden Temple:

The Kumbh Mela, held after every 12 years, is the greatest of north Indian festival-fairs. It attracts millions of devotees from all over the world who congregate at Allahabad on the banks of the holy river to wash their sins and gain redemption. If the Kumbh falls on a Monday, it is called the Somvati Amavasya and is considered to be the most auspicious moment. A dip in the Sangam at that moment is supposed to increase the spiritual benefits manifold. The last Kumbh Mela was held at the Sangam in January 2001.

Jalianwala Bagh:

A historical monument that tells the sad story of mass killing during the independence movement in India, Jalianwallah Bagh is another must visit in Amritsar. Here lies the memorial of the martyrs of the 1919 massacre by British General Dyer. Presently the place also has a park. The Martyr’s Gallery is open from 9 am to 5 pm in summers and from 10 am to 4 pm during winters.

Durgiana Mandir:

Amritsar also houses a wonderful temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess Durga. Easily accessible from the Golden Temple, the Durgiana Mandir also offers puja to deities of Lakshmi and Narayana. Supposedly built during the 16th century AD, the temple lies in the middle of a medium sized lake giving it a wonderful overall view. The temple, a massive structure, was built on the style of the nearby Golden Temple. Worth a visit.

Baba Atal Rai Tower:

Located at a distance of few kilometres from the main town, Baba Atal Rai Tower is also a site worth visiting. It is believed that Guru Har Gobind died at this spot. Named after the son of Guru Har Gobind, this nine storied building is an important landmark of the place. Climbing on to the top gives you a panoramic view of the entire area. The first floor of the tower houses some of the miniatures related to Guru Nanak’s life and his preaching. Makes a must visit.

Wagah Border:

One of the many nearby places to visit from Amritsar is the Wagah Border. Located on the Indo-Pakistan border, Wagah is 28 kilometres from the Amritsar main town. A good number of visitors come to this place to see the change of guards ceremony and the flag hoisting and lowering activities which are done with great skill and precision by the border security forces of both the countries. A site you cannot afford to miss.

Excursions From Amritsar:

Amanat Khan Serai:
Amanat Khan Serai is famous for its ornamental gateway and glazed tile decorations. A must see, it is located at a distance of 38 kilometres from Amritsar.

Baba Bakala:
Located at a distance of 45 kilometres from Amritsar, Baba Bakala is an important site to visit around Amritsar. The magnificent Gurudwara here is dedicated to the ninth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Tegh Bahadur.

Dharamsala:
Located at a distance of 200 kilometres from Amritsar in the state of Himachal Pradesh is Dharamsala, a popular hill station. It is also famous as the present home of Dalai Lama. This wonderful and picturesque hill station is characterised by magnificent deodar and pine forests, tea gardens and beautiful hills. Situated at an altitude of 1250 metres to 1982 metres, there are many spots to visit in and around the town. Mc Leodganj (10 km), the Tibetan Medical and Astro Institute, Bhagsunath (11 km), St. John's Church (8 km),the Kunal Pathri (3 km) and the War Memorial (2 km from the town centre) are some of the major places to visit in Dharamsala. Dharamsala also provides access for a visit to some of the other nearby exotic destinations.

Gobindwal Sahib:
Located at a distance of 30 kilometres from Amritsar, the Gobindwal Sahib is another place to visit during your excursion from Amritsar. Here you can also have a look at the final resting place of Guru Angad Devji that stands nearby.

Tarn Taran:
Located at a distance of 25 kilometres from Amritsar, Tarn Taran is a famous excursion point. One of the important spots to see here is the sacred tank which is believed to have curative powers. It is believed that if a leper successfully swims across the tank, he or she can be cured of the disease. Tarn Taran also has a highly revered Gurudwara built by Guru Arjan Dev in AD 1768. This Gurudwara is built in memory of Guru Ram Das. It is amazing to see how the architecture of the Golden Temple has influenced the other significant structures. The Gurudwara of Tarn Taran is also made in the same architectural style.

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