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  • Overview

    Tucked away in the extreme north of India is the small city of Amritsar. Despite being home to more than a million people, Amritsar is not known for fabulous restaurants or nightlife: people travelling to Amritsar are searching for a more spiritual experience.

    Amritsar is the spiritual and cultural heart of the Sikh religion, which has roughly 30 million followers worldwide. This faith is reflected in the day-to-day life of the city: for example, nearly all the restaurants in Amritsar are vegetarian.

    The city's name means 'pool of nectar', which pays tribute to Amritsar's most famous attraction, The Golden Temple. This magnificent structure is a pilgrimage site for Sikhs, but welcomes visitors of all faiths. The dormitories nearby offer free food and accommodation to all who enter. Aside from the Golden Temple, there are other attractions in Amritsar well worth visiting, including the Jallianwala Bagh Gardens, the Mata Hindu Cave Temple, and the museum at the Summer Palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

    Amritsar's location makes it a great base to explore the north of India. A popular and fun excursion is to see the ceremonial inter-army march-off at the daily closing of the India-Pakistan border. Travellers armed with visas can explore further into the Pakistani city of Lahore.

    Golden Temple of Amritsar

    Considered one of the most beautiful temples in the world and the veritable heart of the Sikh religion, it's no wonder that tourists come from all over the globe to see the Golden Temple of Amritsar. Situated in the middle of a sacred lake fed by an underground spring, the golden structure is a unique blend of Hindu and Muslim architectural styles. Within the temple is the Adi Grantha, the sacred scripture of the Sikhs, displayed on a jewel-studded platform. Visitors to the Golden Temple can enjoy the serene and spiritual atmosphere, with the sound of Sikh hymns accompanied by flutes, drums and stringed instruments.

    Golden Temple of Amritsar Golden Temple of Amritsar Asajaysharma13
    Dharamsala

    The state of Himachal Pradesh's largest hill station, Dharamsala, is a gorgeous and deeply spiritual place. With a large Tibetan population, the community centres around the teachings and activities of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th and current Dalai Lama, who resides in Dharamsala for a large portion of the year. Cool, alpine Dharamsala has been attracting hordes of tourists for years. Some are drawn by its staunch and inspiring Buddhist culture; others by the meditation, yoga, reiki and cooking classes on offer in the area known as McLeod Ganj; and yet others simply come to enjoy its considerable natural beauty.

    Jallianwala Bagh

    Jallianwala Bagh is a sombre historical attraction; it is the site of the April 13, 1919 Amritsar massacre, when hundreds of innocents were gunned down by British troops. Thousands of men, women and children had gathered peacefully in the Jallianwala Bagh garden to celebrate the festival of Vaisakhi but, as public gatherings were illegal at the time, the British decided to make an example of them: between 379 and 1,000 people were killed, and more than 1,000 wounded in this tragedy. The massacre was a turning point for British colonial rule in India and, ultimately, a step towards the country's independence.

    Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar Vinoo202

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    English Pronounciation
    Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport
    Location: 6.8 miles (11km) northwest of Amritsar
    Time: GMT +5.5
    Getting to the city: Getting to Amritsar from the airport is easiest by taxis, which are readily available from the city side of the Arrivals area. The nearest bus station is 8 miles (13km) from the airport, and there is no bus service from the airport. There is a free shuttle to the Golden Temple, and many hotels in the area operate airport shuttle services.
    Car Rental: Several companies operate car rental facilities at Amritsar Airport. Note that travellers are strongly advised against driving themselves around India.
    Airport Taxis: Metered taxis are available outside the arrivals area.
    Facilities: Airport facilities include duty-free shopping, medical facilities, lost and found, currency exchange, and restaurants and cafes.
    Parking Parking is available at the airport.

    Amritsar is the spiritual and cultural centre of the Sikh religion. It is not surprising then that the main attractions of Amritsar are the temples, and that visitors come primarily to experience the spiritual potency of the city. The Golden Temple is considered one of the most beautiful places of worship in the world, and it is one of India's top tourist attractions. Other wonderful temples in Amritsar popular with tourists include Harmandir Sahib (best visited at sunrise) and the Durgiana Temple. The political seat of the Sikhs, Akal Takht, is also a lovely and moving place to visit.

    Aside from the inspiringly friendly and humble people, probably the best attraction a city can have, Amritsar is famous in the history books for being the site of the terrible Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919. This tragedy is memorialised at the original site of the massacre, in the Jallianwala Bagh Garden, and is an interesting attraction to add to any visitors' itinerary in this holy city in order to gain some historical perspective, particularly as the people killed were gathered to worship at a religious festival.

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    No direct flights from Heathrow to this Destination