Amritsar Calling!

Amritsar was one pending item in my list for long because I have always wanted to visit the Golden Temple, Wagah Border and to eat the delicious food in Amritsar. Last year at Christmas I was in Munnar and this year too Christmas brought a long weekend along giving me an opportunity to ride. The different thing on this particular ride was that I took this beautiful (read beast) with me J



Not going to write about the route much as it is very straightforward. Amritsar is about 490km from Gurgaon via the Gurgaon-Ambala-Jalandhar-Ludhaiana-Amritsar route and I started riding at 7am, took 2-3 breaks and had checked in my room in Amritsar at 2pm. This roads are good and smooth and it’s a very good comfortable ride. As I crossed Ambala I found many road side langar tents but the people offering the langar were literally coming in middle of road and stopping every vehicle to offer it. So had to be careful cuz at times vehicles in front of me braked suddenly. Another unexpected thing which happened was that a bird appeared out of nowhere from under the car in front of me and hit my handlebar (Recall Iannone-bird incident in last year MotoGP race?, Ducatis are cursed by the birds I guess lol)

In Amritsar I stayed at this budget place called Tourist Guest House and had booked the room in advance by calling this place. The room was decent for a traveller like me at Rs.500 per night (with WiFi!) and is about 3km away from Golden Temple so if you have your own transport its fine otherwise there are many hotels in close proximity of Golden Temple. I had enough time so I decided to get some sleep but had to visit Brothers Dhaba for lunch. This place is not to be missed when you are in Amritsar for its delicious food. Its very close to GT.



Came back and slept nicely in my room. But in evening it was time to visit Golden Temple. So an important tip here is to leave your car/bike at the hotel and take a rickshaw to come to any area close to Golden Temple as there is hardly any place to walk around in this area with the heavy traffic.


It was Christmas night so the streets were decorated and lit up.


And so I reached Golden Temple in 10 mins and my eyes waited for this moment for so long. Beautifully illuminated Golden Temple on a full moon night. I leave some pictures of the place I clicked and won’t dilute the beauty of the place with my words.














 I realized I could spend hours at this place trying to absorb the peace. But it was time to leave and I had dinner at Brothers Dhaba again.




I don’t know if its always this crowded but you will have a hard time finding a place if you are solo. Waiting time is atleast 30 mins till you get a table.

Next morning I met a local friend who had asked me not to have breakfast. He took me again to the area near Golden Temple, deep in the interior streets and stopped at this ordinary looking place called Pahalwan Kulche Wala. We went inside and ordered kulchas and all I can say is that with the first bite I took I thanked him for bringing me to this place. Brothers Dhaba’s kulcha is fail when compared to this. The way the guy served the ghee loaded kulcha here was to  bring it on a paper on his both hands and crush it right in front of you in a quick clasp of palms. That was interesting and the taste of it still brings water in my mouth. Must visit.



I visited Jalianwala Bagh. It's very close to Golden Temple and you can walk up to it.










It has become more of a ‘selfie garden’ rather than people trying to understand and feel what happened here and the history of this place.

I visited Golden Temple again in daylight and some pics from this day visit:








I had had a good breakfast but didn’t want to leave without eating the langar at Golden Temple and witness the amazing coordination behind this noble thing being done 24x7.





I could not visit the kitchen but one amazing thing I noticed here is that several people were involved in providing in their service to the langar, from kids to elders to old senior citizens, in cutting the vegetables, washing the utensils, serving the food. Watch this:


So it was very humble experience for me. But as I came out and sat on the rickshaw to head back to the hotel, a cute sardar kid came to me and wanted to sell some postcards. I said I didn’t want but he insisted. I looked down and thought something was sticking to his shoe, but then he lifted his leg and I saw that his shoe was completely torn from bottom. I said your shoe is torn but he just smiled. I asked how much for the postcards and he replied ‘jitna marzi aap de do’. I smiled and gave me some money to get his shoe fixed and took the postcards.

It was time to head back to the room and leave for Wagah Border. It was around 1pm and the hotel guy advised me to leave within 20-3o mins as the queue gets really long and after 3pm entry is closed. So I left immediately for Wagah Border and its about 30km from Amritsar. If you are carrying a bag or something just deposit in any of the tea shop near the parking and you can carry camera along with you. So the long wait in the long queue begins. There are separate queues for men and women.



And when finally you go through the security checks and enter the stands, you have to rush to find a place to sit. This place becomes OVERLOADED with people! It was packed and some people had to stand around the edges. We waited for the retreat ceremony to begin and the action starts when officials try to charge up the crowd by playing patriotic Bollywood songs and asking the crowd to shout Hindustan Zindabad slogans etc. The crowd on the other side of the border was doing the same. Then some women were asked to dance and run around the border carrying our national flag. Finally the parade begin and EVERYBODY STOOD UP. The hard earned places to sit which we got thinking we will enjoy the ceremony. Indians lose their minds in occasions like these and eventually you have to stand up too to watch. As if everybody got a view of Mars when they stood up :/

The aggression, energy and the expressions of our jawans is something you will appreciate and enjoy in this ceremony. Enjoy some pics:




















So it was a good experience everyone should have once in their life.

While returning as expected it was chaos on the road but slowly you will come out of the traffic and back to the city. Now I had reached my room and had time till dinner. So I decided to explore a little more in the streets, actually I just wanted to try some street food.



 For dinner this time I avoided the shame of being rejected because I was solo and got the food packed. Season special food of Makke di Roti and Sarson ka saag, with world famous phirni in India lol:




Some pics from the ride back to Gurgaon when some car drivers couldn’t digest that a motorcycle could overtake them.




Can you spot the sun and moon in this pic above?







So this was the Amritsar experience and indeed a wonderful one! Do get in touch if you have any query about this ride or simple leave a comment. Thanks for reading! 
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3 comments :

  1. "I realized I could spend hours at this place trying to absorb the peace." You ride with a lot of natural feel, it makes for a beautiful ride, you make it look easier than it is.

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    1. Thanks for reading Kamlesh! And yes riding is easy when you don't have the fear of what could go wrong. Just hop on that bike and ride on!

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