Amritsar, in northwest India, is a vibrant yet relaxed and friendly city, full of well-stocked bazaars, mosques, and temples of the Sikh and Hindu religions. It is most famous for the spectacular Golden Temple, the holiest shrine of the Sikh religion, whose golden exterior shimmers in a pool of sacred water. Sacked by the Afghans in 1761, the shrine was rebuilt by the Sikhs’ greatest secular leader, Maharajah Ranjit Singh, who donated the gold top for which the temple is now renowned.
Click on your destination of interest
Top things to do in Amritsar
Explore the Golden Temple and old bazaar
Amritsar's highlights include the Golden Temple, Jallianwala Bagh and the old city market. The Golden Temple, the holiest shrine of the Sikh religion, is topped with a golden dome, said to be guilded with 100kg of pure gold. Just a 5-minute walk from the temple is the park known as Jallianwala Bagh, which commemorates the 2,000 Indians who were killed here by the British in the 1919 massacre. The labyrinthine streets of the bazaar offer a bewildering array of colourful saris, Indian jewellery and jootis (colourful Punjabi slippers).
Sunset visit to the Wagah ceremony
Each day at sunset the border guards of India and Pakistan assemble for the border closing ceremony. In eager anticipation of the spectacle, the crowd launch into a hedonistic series of Bollywood songs and dancing. Each army parades in an immaculately turned out display of synchronised marching and bellowed military commands, with each side doing its best to out-do the other with its shouting and marching. The ritual ends as the sun goes down and the flag of each country is lowered before the border gates are finally closed for the day.
The latest from Compass - our online travel magazine