Amritsar, known to be the Cultural Capital of Punjab has a fair amount of things that you can experience during your visit. But strolling the lanes of the city and experiencing the culture of the city from the local’s point of view will just be a whole new add-on to your trip.
The team of City On Pedals will take immense pride in telling world-class travelers like you about the different offbeat things that you can experience in Amritsar. But as we said earlier in our previous blogs, there are many facets to Amritsar city about which many people are not aware. Today we are going to talk about some things that people can do being in the city. So making things easy for you to look for, we are listing down 20 such offbeat things that you must try in Amritsar:
Spotting Sikh people in Punjab is not difficult at all, all you have to look for is a man wearing a turban. Even in the crowd of thousands, Sikh people can be recognized from their attire. You can find them wearing turbans of different styles and colors. Though people in other parts of the country do wear Pagadi, for Sikhs, it is a blessing given to them by their Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji who established Khalsa Panth in 1699. So to showcase the respect and love for their Guru, they dress themselves in the attire in what Guru wanted them to be.
You will find many Turban Tying centers near the Golden Temple and get yourself an experience of the pride Sikh feels in decorating the Pagadi on their head.
Langar Seva is what it is called in the local language. Langar means free food service to the people of all creeds, religions, and races irrespective of any distinctions. It was started by the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, though this selfless service was moved into Sikh gurudwaras by second Guru, Guru Angad Dev Ji. The communal kitchen at The Harimandir Sahib serves around 1,00,000 people with food every day making it the biggest community kitchen in the world.
The raw material is even donated by the devotees from all over the world every day. Both men and women show equal participation in doing the service for the mankind. So during your visit to The Harimandir Sahib, be a part of this selfless service for mankind in any way you want to.
“I don’t like Phulkari.” said no Punjabi women ever. It is the pride of women in Punjab and part of the rich cultural heritage of Punjab. Phulkari literally means a floral work where the entire cloth is filled with flowery embroidery over it. While strolling on Heritage Street do get one for yourself or your loved ones.
Around thousands of devotees take a dip inside the pious pond of The Harimandir Sahib daily to get the blessings of the almighty. Some even believe that the Sarovar has healing power for the ones who are not healthy for a long time or have some problems going on with their health.
Filters are installed inside the holy pool to make the water pure as many people take the water of this “Healing Pond” with themselves as “Amrit“. Take a dip inside the holy pond and get yourself showered with blessings from the creator.
The Five K’s are taken together to symbolize that the Sikh who wears them has dedicated themselves to a life of devotion and submission to the Guru. These Five includes:
Know more about the history during your visit to Amritsar and you may also have a look at our blog of Five K’s.
In Amritsar, without a proper heavy meal on weekends, the daziness doesn’t go away and that urge for food is not fulfilled. Amritsari Kulcha is known to be the capital breakfast of the locals on weekends. Stuffed with boiled potatoes with different spices and then served with a gravy of chickpeas gives it an authentic and tempting taste.
Don’t miss out on this meal and take back the memories of its crispiness with you.
The fort used to be known as Bhangian Da Quila as it was controlled by Bhangi Misl, one of the 12 Misls in Punjab and was even built by them in the 18th century. At this time the fort is converted into a live museum displaying the history of Punjab. The original structure was renovated in 2017 and is becoming a good attraction place for the tourists though still an offbeat place to visit as many prefer to visit Wagah Border and other famous destinations.
The place is believed as the one where Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji treasure was kept which included the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond.
Rotis, the most common Indian food is the one without which no Indian can survive for sure. But making them perfectly round is what the art is all about. Most people believe that it is an easy task to do but when it comes to do it practically they raise their hands.
Women all over India are doing this for centuries now and know the art of making perfectly round rotis. Talk to the locals and if fortunate getting yourself hosted by one and learn this art. This activity is also included in our village tours where many more experiences are waiting for you.
Explore the narrow bylanes of the old city either by walking or rent a bicycle. These old streets of the ancient markets in Amritsar are a heritage in itself which were made centuries ago.
You will find everything from street food to clothes in these markets. The famous Papadan Wala Bazaar is also one of the famous markets in the narrow lanes just behind the Galliara of the Harimandir Sahib.
When it comes to the cultural Punjabi cuisine, everyone has the name of “Makki Di Roti & Sarson Da Saag” on their lips. One who visits Punjab & return without experiencing the soft buttery Sarson da Saag with Makki Di Roti has missed out the specialty Punjab is known about.
So don’t be one of them and experience the flavorful and buttery Punjabi cuisine with Lassi to gift your taste buds with the taste, they haven’t experienced anywhere. You can find it easily at almost every famous restaurant.
Partition Museum has a very special place in all these offbeat things to do in Amritsar. Though travelers often dodge themselves from visiting the museum by substituting it with some other fun-loving place. But this truly is not the place to miss out.
Learn about the events during the partition of the country in 1947 as it was the most defining event of the present India. The museum tells us the story of the ones who survived the riots during that time but lost their loved ones.
Also known as Ram Bagh Garden in the name of Guru Ram Das Ji. Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji made this garden making it resemble that of Shalimar Gardens in Lahore where he used to stay. Due to its natural beauty, it has become a center of morning and evening walks by the locals.
The hidden gem, Summer Palace of Maharaja is also in this garden. So take a stroll through the garden and enjoy the evening there with your folks.
This museum is also located in the Ram Bagh Gardens just a little inside from the main entrance gate. It is known by the name of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Panorama – Amritsar. To take a dip inside the pool of history related to Maharaja’s Golden Era, this will serve you the purpose.
Everything here in this panorama will help you experience the past with permanent visual documentation. So give yourself a chance to visit this beautiful gigantic panorama in Company Gardens.
Sitting amidst the hundreds irrespective of caste, color or religion and eating “Langar” displays what equality is all about. The common meal for all mainly includes “Dal-Roti”.
So on your next visit do give yourself a chance and experience the definition of equality at the biggest community kitchen in the world.
Just behind the Haarimandir Sahib is this famous Guru Bazaar. One of the oldest markets in Amritsar, whose origin is yet unknown. The market is famous for jewelry and bridal accessories that always attract the eyes of the women.
Hundreds of tourists, as well as locals, visit this market every day. Around 2000+ shops are there in this bazaar which makes this one of the main heritage markets in Amritsar.
The street from the Town Hall to The Harimandir Sahib is known to be the Heritage Street. The street was refurbished and was given a vintage look which was 400 years ago.
There is a magnificent statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh at the rotatory of the Heritage Plaza which displays the glorious history of Punjab under Maharaja. The street is always crowded with travelers and locals that makes it the busiest street in the Amritsar. Colorful shops, tempting street food shops, and street-side Hattis-small shops are spread all over the 1km stretch of the street. The night view is so mesmerizing that you might want to spend your time sitting there and experiencing the local life.
So taste the tempting street food and go shopping on Heritage Street which will one of the best experiences you will remember.
If you want to gift your taste buds almost with all the street food items, then Lawrence Road is not be missed out place. Always flooded with foodies, you will find everything you want to taste, from spicy to tangy and from salty to sweet. If you are craving for some Italian cuisine like Pizza and Pasta you will also find it here.
So experience the life during evening time at Lawrence Road and try the famous street food specialties of Amritsar.
I don’t think anyone in Amritsar can survive the day without having the morning tea. On your trip to Amritsar, wake up early and try out the morning tea from the best tea serving joint in Amritsar, Gianni Tea Stall.
Experience the tea like a local and be a story-teller there while enjoying your tea with the locals.
Being an iconic city that represents the true essence of Punjab, Amritsar is also home to numerous temples and gurudwaras that are grand, eclectic and spiritually uplifting.
The peculiar feature of this temple is the holy cave, the “Gufa” – (a Little water channel) which is a miniature of popular Vaishno Devi Gufa, with all the three deities residing in – Maa Katyayni Devi, Maa Chintpurni Devi, and Maa Jwala Devi. So have an offbeat experience by bending & crawling through narrow cave which is worth lifetime memory.
We all know what happened on 13th April 1919. The brutal display of powers and condemnable act by then General Dyer, A British Officer who gave orders to his military men to fire at the crowd without even giving the crowd a single warning to disperse themselves.
Hundreds died in just a small matter of time though their pain and sacrifice remain still alive even after 100 years. Feel the pain and learn about the incident minutely on your visit to the famous Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar.