From childhood, I was very much attracted to the culture of north India. Especially the culture of Punjab. I remember when I was a child I had to go to school crossing the Punjabi colony of Bhawanipur in Kolkata. As we know in Bhawanipur, there are all over Punjabi stalls and markets, so I grew up watching the daily life of Punjabis. I love everything about their culture, the way they dance, the way they talk, the way they greet, the way they celebrate, it’s very unique and rich. From then I dreamt that one day I will visit the land of enthusiasm, Punjab. So in the year 2015, I went to visit Amritsar. Amritsar, also known as Ambarsar is the second most populous city in the Indian state of Punjab. It also known as the holy city, and situated in the northwestern part of India. It is 217 km away from the state capital Chandigarh. For going to Amritsar we chose to travel by train because I love to see the greenery of villages and the outskirts of the cities. I love to watch how the farmers work all day and night in his land and how the rice flakes move with the sweet strains of nature. Our journey started at Howrah station, Kolkata. The train slowly started to move and soon after we were out from the chaos of the city of joy. After 40 hours of journey, watching the green field of rice and sugarcane we finally reached Amritsar junction. It was 11 a.m. and our train was usually running late by 1 hour. Anyway, we stepped out of the train, and trust me from there I can already feel the energetic vibes of people there. We booked a taxi and went to our hotel. The hotel was nice. I can easily rate it four-star by no doubt and the price rate is pretty affordable. After getting the keys of our rooms, I finally entered my room. Trust me generally I don’t waste my time in a hotel room, but that time I had to take some rest as the train journey of 40 hours was really hectic. So I got fresh and after that, I went for lunch in the hotel’s dining hall.
The view from there is so nice. You can see almost the whole city from there. They cooked Chicken Patiala with chapatis for us and also they offered us their special lassi (a special Indian drink which is made by yogurt) as all know Punjabis are the best lassi makers in the world. After having the mouthwatering food with a spectacular view of the city we returned to our room. Our hotel manager also gave us a list of visiting places here. I entered my room with the leaflet and then I went through the destinations’ list. I already knew the places to visit in Amritsar but it is better to try to know more rather than sitting idle. After reading I took a nap and then around 5 o’clock I went out to the hotel. I love to explore roads and streets by walking and when you have a google map in your hand then there is no worry, so I started walking through the streets. After some time the street enters a bazaar. I never saw a bazaar that was so colorful like that. All over the market, there were so many things. Some people were selling dupatta with dozens of shades and that’s what attracted me. I bought one for my mother. I also bought some cute oxidized earrings for her. Trust me you can see their energetic, colorful culture in every piece of their selling items. I also made some conversation with the boy who was selling Kesar tea in one corner of the market. He told me about some historical stories of the city like how the city survived during India-Pakistan partitioning and about the story of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Listening to those stories I realized that the city which looks like a charming star has its own pathetic history. After roaming around the market I returned to the hotel around 9’o o’clock and directly went for dinner because the next day was our full day local trip so we had to go to bed early. They made us some spicy chapatis with mutton curry and they also offered some sweets as a dessert. After having it I went to my bed.
The next morning I woke up earlier than normal days because I wanted to see the sunrise in the new city. As usual, the sunrise was eye-catching. The first ray of the sun gleamed the city in gold. It looked like every day the city got its energy, enthusiasm, and charm from the very first sun rays of the day. That day I experienced new dawn full of zest, full of exuberance which I never experienced before. The city was beamed in her unique way from the very beginning of the new day. I watched that daybreak and after that, I went for a shower and got fresh. Then I went to the hotel’s dining hall. The time was 8 in the morning. They prepared special Punjabi gobi paratha with some spicy chutney for us. Ahh, the food! oh my god, that was so appetizing and delicious. Just for a moment, I considered that this was heaven for me as you know I love food. Anyway, I enjoyed it a lot unquestionably and the one fact which impressed me the most is their people. People there and their hospitality is as good as the spark of the city. Breakfast with moreish local food with a sparkly morning view of the city from the dining hall’s window made me so addicted to know more about the city. Soon after finishing my first repast of the day, I went to my room to get changed and ready for local sightseeing.
Amritsar has uncountable spots to visit and most of the spots are woven with history. We left our hotel at 9 in the morning and first we went to Partition Museum which opens at 10.00 am and is closed on Mondays. It is located in the town hall of Amritsar. For entry, we had to pay 10 rupees per person but if you are a foreigner then you have to pay 250 rupees for each. The museum is amazing; it shows the pieces, stories, and documents related to the post-partition riots which followed the division of two independent countries India and Pakistan by the British. The museum also elaborates the story of that riot, how millions of people found themselves on the wrong side of the country after drawing a map by British lawyer Cyril Radcliffe and how they survived. After visiting that place I realized that Amritsar was going to give me the best essence of history of the independence of India. I could already visualize the scenario of that riot era. Anyway, thinking about the documentaries and people from that era we reached our 2nd destination which was Jallianwala bagh, situated on the Golden Temple road.
It is a historic garden where the Jallianwala bagh massacre took place back in 1919 on 13th April. It is closed on Saturdays and is open from 6.30 am to 7.30 pm and entry is free of cost. Trust me if you go there you can feel that pathetic incident of the Jallianwala bagh massacre in each of the corners of the garden. Anyhow, I just managed to stop my tears because somehow after visiting that place I got so emotional. At that point, I could imagine the drastic view of that garden after the massacre happened. After recovering myself from this, we went to visit the Wagah border.
It is the border of India Pakistan and also one of the gates from where India Pakistan is linked via road. We reached there at sharp 4 p.m. We are lucky enough to manage that time because every day there is a flag hoisting ceremony in both the countries India and Pakistan. I had never seen the country border that much closer. By sitting in the gallery I can see the land of Pakistan and their people sitting over the opposite gallery which was a very enjoyable moment for me. Apart from that I also enjoyed the performance by the BSF (Border Security Force) and along with that flag hoisting ceremony done by the Pakistan Rangers and the BSF of India. It was so ebullient. After finishing the show we finally left for our last destination which was the golden temple.
We reached there at 5.30 pm. Wow! that view. The temple was looking so pretty under the full moon sky. The wall of that temple was made up of pure gold and the rays from the moon were adding the sparkle on it. Surrounding the temple there is a huge lake full of colorful fishes. We sat there and I just put my legs into the semi-cold water of that lake. The colorful fishes and that soft feathery touch of that water were recovering the tiredness of the day. Soon after the prayer began and we just listened to the chanting of the prayers from there. It was so peaceful and refreshing. Watching the shining golden temple under a full moon sky, free of cost, was just the heavenly moment after a long day. We also tasted their traditional holy offerings. It was made up of semolina with a richness of clarified butter. Overall the day ended with a mind-calming view. I never thought that a city could give me the essence of so many attractive things. If you love the energetic spark in yourself then go visit Amritsar and explore their People. Trust me you will never regret it. Amritsar has a lot of tourist attractions. But in that journey, we couldn’t cover up all the spots because our next plan to Vaishno Devi trek was already fixed but I promise I will go back to the land of exuberance, the holy land, and come up with another blog of Amritsar.