Amritsar is a charismatic and historical city that provides many different places of attraction. Amritsar would ideally require two days to explore it to the full extent but if time and other factors allow you only one day’s time to discover the city, this is just for you.
The City On Pedals’ 1-day itinerary has been specially crafted to help the travellers explore the most important and popular places of the city including the most famous food places to fuel you for the day.
The day is divided into 2 parts – the first focuses on visiting the heritage places in and around the city centre and the second includes a visit to the Wagah Border, shopping for souvenirs and ending with a sumptuous dinner.
For the morning itinerary, it is suggested to start around 08:00 and explore the places in and around the city center of Amritsar. The area is called the walled city as earlier it was fortified with walls and had 9 gates. Amritsar has a haphazard blend of taste, smell, touch, and sounds and it can be draining for visitors new to India, more so when combined with the intense heat of the dry season. Thankfully, almost all of the main tourist sights are close to each other and are easy to explore albeit with a little bit of help with directions if and when needed.
We start at 08:00 with the beautiful and sacred Golden Temple which is the biggest Sikh pilgrimage in the world. The sprawling complex comprises a holy lake and right in the middle of it, stands the main block which is gold plated. Click here for location
For having an experience of the majestic side of the golden temple we can try the palki sahib (Palanquin) ceremony, it happens twice a day, one in the morning time and other in the evening time on daily basis. The morning ceremony which starts at 03:00 a.m. in which devotees decorate the holy golden carriage with flowers and sing the holy hymns while waiting for the first glance of Guru Granth Sahib. There is a sound of drums and trumpets all the time which makes the environment more pure and sacred. The head priest of Golden Temple carry out the holy book from the Akal Takhat (Throne of God) over his head and placed it inside golden carriage for the further procession. Devotees hold the carriage all the way over their shoulders to the Golden Temple. Once the Palki Sahib reaches to the front gate of Golden Temple, then the head priest takes out the holy book from the carriage and places it over the holy bed inside the temple for providing the first message of the day to the congregation. we can have the Golden Temple Walking Tour for experiencing these sacred ceremonies.
Tip: Sit by the lake and let the peace and serenity sink in. It should take you 1 hour to see and know all of it.
Pro Tip: Pay a visit to the Central Sikh Museum on the first floor of complex to know some fascinating tales about the Sikh religion history.
Jallianwala Bagh is at a walking distance from the Golden Temple complex. We can start here at ~09:30. It is the site where the massacre took place in 1919 when the British Indian Army under the command of General Dyer opened fire on unarmed protesters. Thousands died that day and a lot many jumped into the well. Even today the bullet marks and the well is there to see. It would not take more than an hour to explore this place. Click here for location
Another one of the admired religious places in Amritsar is the Khair-ud-Din Mosque. The beautiful mosque is situated in the Hall Bazaar and was built by Muhammad Khairuddin in 1876. The visit can be completed in under half an hour. Click here for location
Now, you will already be starving for lunch and it is the perfect timing for a traditional Punjabi lunch at the famous Kesar da Dhaba. The e-rickshaws will take you there and you can have the Punjabi food much to the delight of your taste buds followed by the refreshing Lassi. Click here for location
It should be ~13:30 when you finish lunch. It is time for a quick stroll across the local markets i.e., Shastri market and Katra Jaimal Singh market to buy any souvenirs you may want to get hold of. Be sure you are free by 14:30.
If you have your own cab/car, you are all set for a ride to the Wagah Border and if you are not sorted about the commute, you can take a ride in the shared cabs/taxis readily available near the Jallianwala Bagh. The Wagah Border is ~30 km away from the city. The Beating Retreat ceremony is a must-watch.
The ceremony lasts for 45 minutes and 16:15 is the time when it begins during winter and 16:45 during summer. The border gate is open from 10:00 to 16:00 pm. However, the ceremony starts only after 16:00. So if you want to watch the ceremony, you have to reach the place not later than 15:00.
Seats are packed on weekends and public holidays. No tickets are needed for the event. Click here for location
Tip: If you are a foreigner, you can show your ID to get a seat in the VIP area and a premium viewing position. All you need to carry is an ID.
Pro Tip: If by any means you are running a couple of hours ahead of schedule, you have a great chance to take a short detour and visit another historic gem in Pul Kanjari.
You should be back from the Wagah Border by 18:00 and after the eventful day you’ve had, you deserve another Punjabi treat. We will recommend the Beera Chicken House for a sumptuous dinner. Now, laden with beautiful memories, you are all set to board your train or take your flight back home. Click here for location
We thank you for visiting Amritsar. The final suggestion from us at City On Pedals is that if you want to experience Amritsar to the full, you will need at least a couple of days. So, the next time you plan on visiting Amritsar, you should consider the tours we offer. Check out our Amritsar Heritage City Tour for an ultimate cycling tour exploring the hidden places and unreal old architecture inside the old walled city of Amritsar! Best Wishes!