This is a chance to relive the layered heritage of Amristar…
We start the tour from the British-made town hall before stopping to see the Saragarhi temple memorial where in 1897, 21 Sikhs under British command valiantly fought 10,000 invading Pathans (Afghans). Afterwards, we walk the narrow lanes of the holy city passing buildings constructed by Maharaja Ran Jain Singh, founder of the Sikh kingdom of Punjab. We also take in the Jalebiwala Chowk (market) where the ill-fated April 1919 protest started resulting in what is known today as the Jallianwala Bagh massacre – the murder of 1500 civilians at the hands of the British Indian army.
Today the same street hustles and bustles with activity and has grown a reputation for its delicious yet calorific jalebi snacks made of ghee (clarified butter). Hand-pulled rickshaws, locals carrying produce on their heads and people chatting animatedly on street corners make up a thrumming atmosphere. All this below once-grand dilapidating buildings strung with complex wire systems and old peepal trees that run through the architecture so seamlessly you need to do a double take.
We stop at an akhara, a site traditionally used for mud wrestling and afterwards, Amritsar’s beguiling markets. Each one has its own speciality from literature to glittering chura wedding bangles to a utensil bazaar selling traditional copper and brass pots and pans on an enormous scale. In the gold market, there’s such an abundance of precious metal that you’ll find people sifting through the drains and literally striking gold.
Consider this the prelude to Amritsar’s greatest treasure, the Golden Temple. Every day an average of 100,000 worshippers enter the gates to Sikkhism’s most sacred site (that’s more than the Taj intake). I’ve seen people with tears rolling down their face at the sight of its structures shimmering in gold leaf and hovering over a body of holy water. Not to mention the community kitchens where volunteers feed the streaming devotees dal, rice and chapatis, a real highlight for most.
After some time here, we end at the aforementioned Jallianwala Bagh garden memorial. It’s a sombre, emotional moment but an important one to understand the context of the city as well as an opportunity to see original photographs of Amritsar all those years ago.
Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Malcolm, who's travelled extensively in India. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember.
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