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Golden Amritsar

Amritsar is a crazy Punjabi city steeped in history, and our short time here was spent taking in the beautiful Golden Temple and trying delicious Punjabi cuisine.

We arrived in Amritsar in the middle of a very cold winter night and headed straight to our hotel in a draughty Tuk-Tuk. In the morning we had our first Amritsari Kulcha experience in a small family run restaurant near the clock tower - we loved it! A crispy bread stuffed with potato and spices and served with chana masala, dal makhni and pickle, it instantly became a favourite.

The best kulcha at Brothers' Dhaba

After breakfast we wandered the historic, narrow market streets, enjoying the atmosphere of the city.

After a little while we headed to the famous Golden Temple with a little trepidation towards the major tourist attraction. Our previous attempts of enjoying these big, busy landmarks were on the whole quite stressful and expensive tourist traps.

Our experience at the Sikhs’ Golden Temple could not be further from this. It was peaceful, welcoming and completely free, regardless of race or religion. We both felt that the experience really exemplified how a religious site should be and feel.

The temple itself was stunning as the golden Harmandar Sahib and surrounding water glistened in the bright sunshine.

Queue to get a glimpse inside Harmandar Sahib

Entrance to Harmandar Sahib

After circling the water and visiting the central golden temple, we headed for the Guru Ka Langar; the famous ‘langar’ (free lunch) given to everybody and anybody at the Golden Temple.

Shown the way by a friendly, elderly Sikh man, we entered one of the many huge dining halls, sat on the floor and were swiftly handed a thali plate. Volunteers then circled around dishing out as much free food as you wanted!

James and our friendly tour guide

Inside the hall

The scale of the operation and the willingness of the army of volunteers to help was incredibly humbling and inspiring and we both felt a little moved by the experience.

Hundreds of volunteers chop carrots

The rest of our time in Amritsar was spent trying more delicious Punjabi food, including more Kulcha and the ‘must-try’ Amristari Fish Fry.

Although we spent a very short amount of time in Amritsar and Indian Punjab, we both loved our time here and would definitely want to visit more of the region if given the opportunity.

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