We began our journey with a vibrant & a colorful city of Amitsar.
Exploring the gorgeous Golden Temple
The best way to start a trip in Amritsar is to take the blessings at a beautiful and stunning piece of architecture – Golden Temple! It is the heart of Punjab and it should be in your list of must visit places in Punjab. Millions of devotees seek for blessings of Sri Harmandir Sahib at Golden Temple each year.
The temple has its own aura. As soon as I stepped into the temple, it felt pure and calm from within. It felt like you can hear and feel your soul.
It is also one of the most cleanest worship place I have ever visited in India. Before entering the premises you need to clean your feet in a pool of water which is located at the entrance. Also, there is a ritual of covering your head at all times inside the temple which everyone need to respect.
Must do: Visit a ‘langar’ at the temple which is available all day.
Paying respects at the historic Jallianwala Bagh
After spending the morning at Golden Temple, we went to the historic Jallianwala Bagh – an important venue in Indian History. Hundreds of nonviolent protesters were shot dead inside Jallianwala Bagh under the command of Colonal Reginald Dyer on April 13, 1919.
There are hundreds of bullet marks preserved till date on the walls inside the park. Do not miss to see the famous well called as ‘Martyrs well’ – in which many protesters jumped to save themselves from being shot since there was no other way to escape from the shower of bullets from the British Indian Army.
Parade Day at Ind – Pak Wagah Border
Next moring, we left for Wagah Border after taking the blessings at Golden Temple (There are many hotels at walking distance from Golden Temple – I would recommend to stay in one of those).
Wagah Border is the only India-Pakistan border through which trade between the two nations takes place. There is a train ‘Samjhauta Express’ running to and fro India to Pakistan from very close to Wagah border through a small station ‘Atari’. It is the last railway station in India before the train enters Pakistan. Everyday, hundreds of people visiting the border, stop here at Atari station which is just 15 minutes from Wagah Border.
Wagah border is famous for its evening parade that takes place two hours before the sunset. It includes a flag ceremony which is conducted by Border Security Force (BSF) in India and in Pakistan by Pakistan Rangers (PR). My personal experience was amazing as I had never seen such a high level of synchronization in a parade ever (Be prepared for some crazy rush and pushing as the crowd is always in very large numbers).
After the parade, you can join hundreds of people who come down on the road to dance and celebrate in pride of India. Your ears will be deafened by huge roars of ‘India!! India!!’. If you are lucky, you may also get a chance to interact with one of the army men stationed at the border gate and he may share his experiences with you.
After a long and energetic day at Wagah border, we kept rest of the evening free for shopping and wandering around the colorful and packed streets of Amritsar.
Must do: Trip to Amritsar is not complete without having ‘Amritsari Khulche’ at a roadside stall outside Golden Temple! They are super delicious and value for money.
A Day out at the farms
On day 3, we planned to spend a day at the farm which was about an hour’s drive from the city. It was one of the most amazing time I had in my life. We were able to see the farmers in action on the fields, and interact with them and get to know a lot about farming and various plantations.
We saw different plantations of mustard, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, sunflowers and many other plants and fruits.
Our driver also took us to his village where we got a chance to meet his family and visit their farm. They also cooked us a sumptuous lunch using freshly harvested vegetables from their own farm. It was one of the most tastiest lunch I have ever had. Everything was so fresh and pure without any chemicals or preservatives added. It tasted much more sweet and light compared to what we are used to eat everyday.
Amritsar to Chandigarh
Next morning, we left for the Chandigarh. It was a 4 hour drive from Amritsar with some of the most amazing views of long stretches of farms on either side of the road. On the way we came across this small jaggery making makeshift business. Unlike any big factory, it was just a makeshift arrangement of few people processing and making jaggery along the streets.
They were very kind enough to show us and explain the whole process of how the jaggery is made from sugarcane. Even though the process was not so pleasant looking, but the end product was so pure and sweet that we all ended up purchasing from them.
On the way, we stopped for lunch at an authentic punjabi dhaba for sarson ka saag and makki ki roti. It is a special vegetable dish from Punjab made from mustard greens (sarson) and spices served with unleavened corn bread with lots of ghee or butter.
Must do: Road trips in Punjab is incomplete without stopping for a meal at the authentic Punjabi dhaba. Must try: Sarson ka Saag and Makki ki Roti, Stuffed Parathas loaded with Butter and Punjabi Lassi.
On reaching Chandigarh late afternoon, we checked into our hotels, and immediately left for sightseeing. First, we went to Rose garden. It was a huge garden completely filled with hundreds of varieties of roses. There were all sizes and colors of roses – red, pink, white, purple, deep red, violet, blue and many more. After about an hour of strolling in rose garden, it was almost sunset, so we went for a walk at Sukhna Lake Park.
Rock Garden & Shopping
Next morning, we went to Rock garden. It is a wonderfully organized and artistically created garden and is one of its kind. Unlike other gardens, you don’t expect vast green pastures where people come for a stroll or a picnic, but you will find sculptures created from rocks of various sizes and shapes arranged beautifully throughout the park. It also contains an artificially created waterfall and a small cave built opposite to it.
Finally we ended our trip with shopping at the famous Sector 17 of Chandigarh. You will find an array of shops nestled close to each other throughout the street with lots of options to buy and eat.
For some upscale shopping there are also some good malls in Chandigarh like Elante Mall and Tdi Mall.
If you are looking for a destination in India for a family trip, Punjab should definitely be high on your list. It is a colorful state with very energetic people and do not miss the places I mentioned for some serious eating.
If you have more time, you can also visit Ludhiana and Patiala or you can also extend your trip and visit Delhi and Agra.
If I have missed anything, please feel free to comment in the comment section below. Also, if you liked my post, please like, comment and share. I will be coming up with more posts about my travel and backpacking adventures soon.