Closely linked with Sikhism, a relatively novel yet a religion that has been spread all over the world and Sikhs are known for their principles of faith and meditation on the name of the one creator, divine unity and equality of all humankind, engaging in selfless service, striving for justice for the benefit and prosperity of all and honest conduct and livelihood.
Around the world, there have been a lot of times, when Sikhs have been spotted helping the people in crisis with food and shelter. Being intrigued by the religion and the major sites of pilgrimage of Sikh tradition, Golden Temple is only natural. Today, we are going to take you through the city of Amritsar, the must-try food and must-visit places that one should uncheck in their travel to list along with answering your current concerns.
Amritsar, a name that is derived from the Amrit Sarovar (pool of nectar) amidst which stands the Golden temple, the most sacred shrine of Sikhs. Also, known as Harmandir Sahib (abode of God) and Darbar Sahib (exalted Court), Golden Temple is the most important Gurudwara in the world and celebrated the beauty of the religion that allows the mankind to be seen as one, despite the age, colour, sex and religion.
With the foundation being laid by a Muslim Pir from Lahore, Mir Mian Mohammed in 1577 as requested by the Guru Arjan- the fifth Guru of Sikhism to be designed in a way that the temple compound is open on all sides to emphasise that it was open to all, the evidence is not required to showcase how this religious spot allows one to feel welcomed. Today, the temple offers food (langar) to the thousands of the tourists and locals that visit the place with the help of hundreds of volunteers, who cook, clean the dishes and even serve the food.
Having already mentioned about the Golden Temple, Amritsar does hold a lot of other sites that one must visit and explore the other aspects of the city. Jalianwala Bagh is a site that has witnessed hundreds of unarmed civilians being fired upon and killed by the British Indian Army ordered by the Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer.
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place on 13th April 1919 when the villagers gathered to celebrate the important Sikh festival of Baisakhi and peacefully protest the arrest and deportation of two national leaders, Satyapal and Saifuddin Kitchen. Dyer to "punish the Indians" as they gathered although he banned all the meetings blocked all the entrances and with no warning ordered open fire on the crowd for almost 10 minutes. This level of causal brutality and lack of accountability stunned the entire nation to act as some historians mention it to be a historic step towards the end of British rule in India.
During the 20th century, Amritsar was turned into the hub for education as the Khalsa College was founded by the visionary leaders. Established in 1892 AD as a part of the Singh Sabha Movement, the educational institution, the idea came from the mindset of leaders that Sikh scholars thought about providing higher education to Sikhs and Punjabis within Punjab.
The 300-acre campus has a main building designed and crafted in the Indi-Saracenic style of architecture with an imposing domed red-sandstone facade fronted by grassy fields by Bhai Ram Singh, who was decorated for his services by the British with the Member of Victorian Order, the highest civilian award of British India.
As already mentioned, the Guru Ka langar is something that one can start their Amritsar trip with as it is not the food but the experience of witnessing everyone in sync from the largest free kitchen in the world. The simple roti or flatbread, with dal or lentil soup, kheer or rice pudding and a sabzi or a vegetable dish is served in the langar. Even if you don't have time to have langar, you cannot leave without Kara Prasad, a ghee-laden delicacy that is for everyone.
Each part of India has its speciality as it differs geographically from the rest of India, So while in North India, flatbreads are commonly seen. As soon as you enter Amritsar, you will see the term "Amritsari Kulcha" on various boards from roadside stalls to shops that have been there for decades. The Amritsari version of the flatbread is filled with the filling of different vegetables from potato to cabbage, etc. cooked in Tandoor, crunchy from outside and soft from inside, topped with butter or ghee and served alongside chana or chickpea masala, and tamarind chutney and of course lassi, the buttermilk that makes the meal worth it!
While, it is also famous for the Durgiana temple, the Wagah border and delicacies like Chicken Tikka masala, we recommend that one tries out the maximum of it on their short trip to Amritsar.