Punjab is called the Land of Five Rivers and is the land of color, food and happiness. Being one of the most noteworthy historical places in India, this state is filled with some serene places of worship and wonderful architecture. If you were to personify Punjab, it would undoubtedly carry the image of a tough guy who walks around showing off his battle scars with his head held high.
When it comes to traveling through India, especially North India, the state of Punjab which forms a border to Pakistan doesn’t usually make it to the top of most itineraries. Well, to take that positively, it is indeed good news for intrepid and heroic travelers. From golden temples which will make your eyes water to food that you will be longing for even after days it hits your lips, Punjab is India at its lively, colorful best. Check out the best ways to experience the best of Punjab.
- Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib)
This is perhaps the holiest shrine of the Sikh religion, located in Amritsar, the Golden Temple or Harmandir Sahib is the top attraction of Punjab. Reflections of its dome encrusted with gold in the clear water of Amrit Sarovar or the Pool of Nectar welcomes all visitors who enter through the North gate which is considered as the most impressive of all entries. The waters of this divine lake are said to carry healing powers. Visits to this temple are best scheduled for late afternoon or early evening. At night too, the complex is illuminated and it gives a splendid view.
- Punjabi cuisine
The city of Amritsar boasts of a rich and diverse culinary heritage. However it is a challenge to build a big-enough appetite which can give attention to this extraordinary cuisine. From the cream-laden extra-large glasses of yoghurt lassi to the chicken tikka which melts in your mouth and tandoori chicken. Amritsar is the destination for all food-lovers. In order to get a balanced taste, you could start off with Kesar da Dhaba where you can reach only by cycle foot or bicycle. Found in 1916, it is extremely popular among vegetarians.
- Experience of the border at Wagah Border
One of the most interesting rituals of Punjab is the ceremony of lowering flag at India’s Wagah border every evening during Sunset. Wagah is situated exactly about 25 kms away from the Pakistani city of Lahore. Guards of India wearing gold and red turbans march to their Pakistani counterparts and they’re greeted with loud ovation from onlookers. It is undoubtedly a splendid show of pomp, patriotism and vigor. It is best to get there by mid-afternoon to secure the best seat.
- Sarai Amanat Khan, a roadside inn
This is a picturesque 45 minute drive from Amritsar; the Sarai Amanat Khan is an ancient, dilapidated caravanserai or roadside inn. You’ll be rather surprised to know that this was built by Mughals in the year 1640 and it’s a splendid vestige of ancient architecture. Once upon a time it served travelers on the trade route of Agra-to-Lahore and was one of the most prosperous stop back in a day. The historic ruins speak about its glorious past and some of the photogenic features of this place include fading calligraphy, arched entry, Persian tiles, a mosque and eroding walls. Amanat Khan, the namesake of the inn is believed to be the same person who might have etched the calligraphy.
- Punjabiyat Lodge
This lodge doesn’t let you brace up some quintessential images of India. What you get here are beds that are as light as feather which lead to some unobstructed views of green fields, as far as your eyes can see. This retreat is perched on the agricultural heartland of Punjab and is a great place to de-stress yourself by breathing in rural experiences. Rooms are huge and luxurious but they are eco-friendly.
Therefore if you’re planning to visit some offbeat destination in North India, Punjab is definitely the best hot spot for you. Once you visit, don’t forget to sway with the wonderful food that you get there and the lovely people who inhabit there.