Amritsar Travel Guide

Tucked away in the extreme north of India is the small, Punjab-state city of Amritsar. Founded in 1577 by the fourth Sikh guru, Guru Ram Das, the destination remains the spiritual and cultural heart of the Sikh religion, which has roughly 30 million followers worldwide.

The city's name means 'pool of nectar', which pays tribute to Amritsar's most famous attraction, The Golden Temple. This magnificent structure is a pilgrimage site for Sikhs, but welcomes visitors of all faiths. The dormitories nearby offer free food and accommodation to all who enter. Aside from the Golden Temple, there are other attractions in Amritsar well worth visiting, including the Jallianwala Bagh Gardens, the Mata Hindu Cave Temple, and the museum at the Summer Palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Besides spirituality, Amritsar is also known to have the very best Punjabi food in India. The culinary tradition is famous for its spicy curries, pillowy breads and, in particular, its tandoori-fired meats. It is believed that the 'tandoor' (a large urn-shaped oven usually made of clay) originated in Persia and was introduced to India by the Arabs, and that people living in the Punjab region were the first to learn the art of cooking with it.

Amritsar's location makes it a great base to explore the north of India. A popular and fun excursion is to see the ceremonial inter-army march-off at the daily closing of the India-Pakistan border. Travellers armed with visas can explore further into the Pakistani city of Lahore.