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What better place to begin than the ‘home of God’? This is the English translation of Sri Harmandir Sahib – or the Golden Temple – the architectural jewel of Punjab. The holiest shrine in Sikhism, the original architect demanded that the temple be open on all sides in an expression of openness and equality, a value that’s extended to tourists who can visit the temple for free. Just make sure to pack a scarf – all visitors are expected to cover their heads inside.
Wandering around the gorgeous white marble of the extended temple complex, you might pick up on some mouth-watering foodie aromas wafting past. If it’s lunchtime, you’re in luck. In the huge langar hall, temple volunteers cook delicious vegetarian food for pilgrims, tourists, and the needy. In Amritsar, no-one sleeps hungry.
Soul and stomach suitably nourished, why not sit yourself by the edge of the Sarovar – the huge man-made lake that surrounds the Golden Temple. The name ‘Amritsar’ means ‘holy pool of nectar’, and the pools are meant to possess healing powers. Dip your toes in, watch the golden sun setting over the golden temple, and thank your lucky stars you’re in Amritsar.
Another must-see is Jallianwala Bagh, a beautiful park memorialising the site of a massacre of a peaceful assembly of men, women, and children by British soldiers. The space has been transformed into a beautiful, simple space, with visitors following a tree-lined pathway to reach a redbrick cenotaph, illuminated throughout the evening. However, you can still get a visceral sense of the place’s violent past – some original walls remain shot with bullet holes from British guns.
For something a little different, go to the border for the patriotic frenzy that is the Wagah-Attari retreating ceremony, or visit the Mata Lal Devi temple if you’re in the mood for something more bizarre. This sacred Hindu temple is a garish, psychedelic treat, and is believed to have miraculous fertility-improving powers.
Add on an experience pack to your holiday to theme it around your interests. If it’s a life-altering spiritual experience that you’re after, selecting the Once in a lifetime pack will allow you to attend a holy Sikh Palki ceremony. Head over to the itinerary builder to discover the other experiences you can choose from to make sure your trip is truly unforgettable.
The Golden Temple is not only a marvel to behold, with its amazing dome clothed in 750kg of gold, but it is also the holiest shrine in Sikhism.Discover more
Jallianwala Bagh is a public garden, housing an elegant red-sandstone monument honouring the dead.Discover more
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