Amristar - is it worth a side trip?

#1 Jul 12th, 2011, 01:34
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  • TheThing is offline
#1
We are planning a (petty) 10 day trip to South India. I'm trying to decide whether it's worth the time and effort to take a 2 day detour to Amristar to see the Golden Temple? What is the Golden Temple like? Are foreigners allowed inside? Is there anything to do in Amristar besides visiting the temple besides the border ceremony? I can't seem to find much information or trip reports on Amristar.

This will be our 4th time to India but the first one in 7 years. In the past, we really loved Varanasi, the temples of the south, but we weren't huge fans of big Indian cities.

Many thanks for the help.
#2 Jul 12th, 2011, 01:43
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#2
Yes, everyone is allowed inside the Golden Temple. It's nice, and there's lots to see inside the temple and at the Langar (the dining hall where meals are given to all visitors). It's worth a visit, though if you had to cut something equally worthwhile and travel from South India to Punjab you could also give it a skip.
#3 Jul 12th, 2011, 02:21
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#3
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheThing View Post ... What is the Golden Temple like? Are foreigners allowed inside? Is there anything to do in Amristar besides visiting the temple besides the border ceremony?... we weren't huge fans of big Indian cities...
We agree with thirdreel's assessment.

We spent two days in Amritsar in a wicked cold February. We spent altogether eight hours at the Golden Temple, some early in the day till noon, some late in the afternoon. (Mind you, as one is required to go barefoot on marble, no socks, a wicked cold February is really wicked cold.) We were particularly moved by seeing the Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh holy book) carried in procession from the Hari Mandir across the Guru's Bridge to be "put to bed" in the Akal Takht for the night

There are indeed other things to see in Amritsar. We visited he Durgiana Temple, a Hindu Temple which mimics the Golden Temple by being sited in the middle of a large tank.

It is important, I think, to visit Jallianwala Bagh, now a commemorative site to the martyrs of the most notorious massacre under the British Raj, quite possibly one of the most shameful acts in British history, now a peaceful garden.

There are other temples and tanks and gardens to be seen, but we didn't have time for them, despite the fact that Amritsar is really quite a small town, not just another big, dusty Indian city. Check Lonely Planet or any other good guidebook for more suggestions or just wait for other IM'ers to pipe up.

Since you're planning on the border ceremony, we append a link to some comments we've already made about it, plus notes on the hotel we used.
border ceremony and hotel recommendation
#4 Jul 12th, 2011, 02:54
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#4
Amritsar was the highlight of my last visit to India in October 2008. The Taj, while spectacular was a tomb. The Golden Temple is a living breathing shrine. I felt welcomed there and not once in Amritsar was I pestered by touts or beggars. I only had a few hours there, so I cannot speak to anything but the temple and the surrounding area. It was an awesome, moving experience.
#5 Jul 12th, 2011, 03:07
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Agree with others, Amritsar is a great place, and the Golden Temple is trully one of those "That's why I love India" moments, and likely the highlight of many north India trips.

However, to come from the south is really out of the question (unless you HAVE TO leave India via Delhi)

The time taken to get to and visit Amritsar would be much better spent relaxing in the south, and the cost of including Amritsar would be better spend upgrading to some awesome hotels in the south.
#6 Jul 12th, 2011, 03:22
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#6
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Originally Posted by steven_ber View Post ...However, to come from the south is really out of the question (unless you HAVE TO leave India via Delhi)

The time taken to get to and visit Amritsar would be much better spent relaxing in the south, and the cost of including Amritsar would be better spend upgrading to some awesome hotels in the south.
We had meant to say the same thing but got so swept up in chuttering on about Amritsar that we forgot. Thanks, Steven.
#7 Jul 12th, 2011, 11:46
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#7
Forget about everything, (not Golden Temple of-course ) but go their for food. Amritsar is a legendary city when it comes to culinary delights....
Foodiye - If you are looking for Indian Recipes and Eating out suggestions.
#8 Jul 12th, 2011, 14:34
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#8
There is also the evening ceremony near the Wagah border in which Indian and Pakistani forces participate. you may have a look at my post for details.
Thanks,
Deep
visit my blog at http://yougodeep.blogspot.com
#9 Jul 12th, 2011, 16:15
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#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by shashank.aggarwal View Post ...go their for food. Amritsar is a legendary city when it comes to culinary delights....


Dal Makhani, Saag and Lachcha Parantha at Kesar da Dhaba
Stuff Paranthas at Bhrawan da Dhaba
Puris at Kanhaiya
Jalebis at Khubi Halwai
Lassi at Ahuja Lassiwala
and legendary Kulchas at 'All India Famous' on Maqbool road.....
I did not fully understand the dread term "Terminal Illness" until I saw Terminal 1 D of Delhi Airport.
#10 Jul 12th, 2011, 21:40
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#10

Wink thank you

Dear all, thank you for your replies. Amristar sounds very tempting, as confirmed by you.
We have a choice of flying into Delhi, so from there it will be just a short flight to Amristar.
The question is whether Amristar is more exciting then the trip to the hillstations in the South. khmmmmm.....
#11 Jul 12th, 2011, 21:59
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#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheThing View Post The question is whether Amristar is more exciting then the trip to the hillstations in the South. khmmmmm.....
when the places change - people,language,terrain,climat e etc changes.

and here the comparison is between north Indian city and a hill station in south.

both these places are equally exciting in there own way hence the comparison doesn't exist as per my opinion.

Amritsar is known for the golden temple(religious and historical),Jalianwaala bagh (historical) and Wagah border(don't know which category this place should fall in)its famous for its "lowering the flags ceremony".

if you are considering Ooty or Munnar as your SouthIndian hill station, it is more do about nature and a minute bit of history.

So you decide what you would like to see and visit the most.
#12 Jul 12th, 2011, 22:24
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#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheThing View Post We have a choice of flying into Delhi, so from there it will be just a short flight to Amristar.
The question is whether Amristar is more exciting then the trip to the hillstations in the South. khmmmmm.....
I've just had to make some very difficult decisions about what places to leave out of a KERALA Itinerary, it was extremely difficult to chose just 4 places, and we'll be in Kerala for 22 days.

So you can see why I think Amritsar is 1 place too many, and too far away to add to your Itinerary.

It's not even the warmer clothes you'd need for Amritsar (depending on the time of year), just the fact that you can't rush the south, you'll do better to add a day to each of your destinations in the south and slow down, otherwise you could be risking losing the biggest attraction of the south, the relaxed pace.
#13 Jul 12th, 2011, 22:39
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#13
Ah, how could I forget my favorite cuisine, Punjabi cooking..
#14 Jul 12th, 2011, 23:00
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#14

Thumbs down

I've been a couple of times in Amritsar and love it. To stay at different moments of the day at the Golden Temple are between the most moving moments in India but...., there are so many much more interesting sites between South India and Amritsar than I don't even think about this idea one single second.

Jorge
Last edited by Jorge Reverter; Jul 13th, 2011 at 00:07..
#15 Jul 14th, 2011, 10:03
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#15
Again, many thanks for your thoughts. I completely agree with the notion of not rushing the South (or North for that matter) Yet, I've been to the South and this is my return trip. I haven't been to Amristar and it seems like such an awesome living spiritual place.
From what I understand, considering that we'll be traveling in August, it's really a sub-optimal time to visit the hill stations of the South. My main interest in the Hills would be to see the animals. From what I've read, many parks are closed during July-August.
I've been to Darjeeling; while i loved it, i much preferred Sikkim -- the hill stations of Darjeeling are much too quiet and polished for me
Forgive my rambling

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