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Things to Do in Amritsar

Amritsar, a Punjabi city and the capital of the Sikh religion since the late sixteenth century, is home to one of India’s most impressive religious sites, the Golden Temple. Originally built in 1601, Sikhism’s holiest temple, or gurdwara, is named for the gold-plating covering much of its surface that reflects both the sunlight and the surface of the lake upon which it sits.

The city itself is named after this very pool -- the name translates to the “Holy Pool of Nectar.” The old half of the city, where the Golden Temple is, contains narrow lanes and chaotic bazaars you’d expect of India. The modern half is dominated by restaurants, hotels and cafes that would be right at home in the nation’s capital as well.

While the Golden Temple is by far Amritsar’s biggest draw, the city offers several other worthwhile things to see and do during your stay. If you want to learn more about the clashes with the British that took place here in 1919, visit the serene Jallianwala Bagh park. The Ram Bagh Museum details the history of Punjab, while the Sikh Museum offers insight into the religious beliefs and tumultuous history of Sikhism.
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Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib)
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Harmandir Sahib, popularly known as the Golden Temple, is among the most sacred of Sikh gurdwaras. It’s surrounded by a large complex with a marble walkway and a pool, known as the amrit sarovar, which holds holy water. As at all Sikh temples, everyone is welcome here, regardless of their background or religion.

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Jallianwala Bagh
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Jallianwala Bagh is a public garden in the northern city of Amritsar in India’s Punjab province. It serves to commemorate the massacre of hundreds of innocent civilians celebrating the religious festival, Baisakhi on April 13, 1919. Under orders from Commander General Dyer, British soldiers opened fire at a group of unarmed men, women, and children without warning. Official sources estimated the fatalities at 379, with 1,100 wounded. However, both the casualties and fatalities of that day are believed to be significantly higher than that which was officially reported.

The garden span 26 square­ meters with the memorial monument, the Flame of Liberty, at its center. Inaugurated by Dr Rajendra Prasad in 1961, the first President of the Republic of India, the monument is a towering pylon made of red stone and featuring the the Indian national emblem upon it. Stone lanterns stand at each corner of the monument, which are inscribed with words of homage in Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, and English to commemorate the victims of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Dignitaries, locals, and tourists from around the world have visited Jallianwala Bagh, including Queen Elizabeth II in 1997.

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Attari-Wagah Border
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The Attari-Wagah border is a crossing between India and Pakistan that is known for its Beating Retreat ceremony, which is held each evening as the border closes. Visit at the end of the day to see the guards from both sides march in elaborate military costumes and face-off across the border in front of packed crowds.

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