I decided to do a spotlight on one of the more recent places that I've been - enjoy!
Throwback Travel Thursday: Amritsar, Punjab, India
We took a local bus from Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh. I found that bus times in India are generally pretty accurate - except for some of the crazier bus routes up north (*ahem* Dharamsala to Chamba - terrifying, but beautiful).
Anywho, we got off the bus and made the mistake of getting into a rickshaw right away.
Turns out the bus station is not very far from the golden temple, where there are tons of hotel options within a few blocks radius.
Granted, it was ridiculously hot and sweaty outside, so we took the easy way out. We saw a few places and settled on one with clean sheets, a proper shower nozzle, an air conditioner for my mom and sissies, and a big, loud fan for us.
We found the best dang restaurant ever - Brother's Dhaba.
Just go. Don't think about it. You're welcome.
The Golden Temple
We dropped our stuff and headed out to see the infamous golden temple - it's the holiest Sikh Gudwara, with approximately 100,000 visitors a year.
Tip: bring something to cover your head and a pair of sandals that you're not afraid of losing.
We ended up buying these hilariously bright-coloured head scarves with the Sikh scythe motif on it, and stashed our sandals amongst a pile instead of waiting to put them in the legit place - there was a huge line-up (read: mass of people - 'lining-up' isn't really a concept seen in India very often).
We splashed through the water basin to wash our feet before entering into the mass of people walking around the golden temple.
It is surrounded by a big pool of water, with walls all around the outside, and a walk-way to go inside the building.
It truly is a beautiful sight - there are so many people walking around, lying in the shade, eating some of food that are provided at all of the Gudwaras I visited in India, waiting in the ridiculously long line-up to go into the temple (which we did not partake in), people bathing in the water...it's an amazing experience.
However, we didn't have much time - we planned a taxi to take us to see the border-closing ceremony with Pakistan.
Border-Crossing Ceremony with Pakistan
Tip: As a foreigner, you do NOT need to go at 5pm. The taxi ride is about an hour, and we are able to go in an express line - unfortunately, people with an Indian passport need to wait in quite a long line-up.
Tip: Bring your passport. I won't get into it here, but it will save you a headache.
Tip: Bring a hat. Or an umbrella. And sunscreen. It's hot sitting out on those stands waiting for the sun to set.
Overall, I thought the border-crossing ceremony was highlarious - the soldiers on both sides take turns marching at the gate to see who can kick their leg up the highest. The Indian crowd is huge and noisy, whereas it's a bit less populated on the Pakistan side.
The entire event is a serious show of nationalism - it's crazy to think that they do it every night!
Definitely something to check out if you have the time.
The Golden Temple at Night
Also, the stone floor is much less hot, and you sweat a heck of a lot less when you don't have the baking-hot sun beating down on you.
- Have YOU been to Amritsar before? Anything I missed? Is it on your "I MUST GO" list now??