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Although Amritsar is best-known for its glistening golden temple, the Punjabi city offers plenty more, especially for travelers who like to eat. With just one day in town, you can hit the highlights and immerse yourself in the region’s celebrated culinary scene. Here’s how.
Morning: The Golden Temple
Start your morning in Amritsar visiting the city's most important—and most famous—attraction: the Golden Temple. One of the most significant Sikh places of worship on Earth, this beautiful, serene temple attracts visitors from around the world with its gilded architecture, though it's equally worth visiting to learn about the beliefs and traditions of the Sikh faith. There’s a welcome center specifically for international visitors right by the main entrance, though for an in-depth experience, you may want to visit with a local guide or as part of a guided tour.
Afternoon: Amritsar’s Famous Cuisine
Mention to your North Indian friends that you’ve visited Amritsar, and one of the first things they’ll ask you is what you thought of the food. This Punjabi city has long been celebrated for its street-food culture, and it’s easy to spend an afternoon wandering the city’s many lanes, trying out local specialties such as potato parathas (stuffed flatbread),chole kulcha (fry bread with chickpeas), and lassi (a yogurt-based drink, sometimes flavored with banana or mango). That said, dining on street food in India can be a daunting proposition for some travelers, so if you’re concerned about hygiene or simply want to be led to the best vendors in town, your best bet is to join a guided food walk.
Night: The Border with Pakistan and Sadda Pind
As the sun begins to set, make your way out to Wagah, a short drive from Amritsar on the border with Pakistan. Here you can witness the nightly closing-of-the-border ceremony in which guards from both sides perform an almost dance-like performance, complete with a military-flag lowering. After the ceremony, head to Sadda Pind, a reproduction Punjabi village featuring dance performances and crafts demonstrations, with plenty for kids and adults alike. Finish your evening here with a traditional Punjabi dinner before returning to your hotel. Note that while both attractions can be visited independently, combo tours can help you save time, money, and the hassle of booking transportation.