History lives and breathes in Amritsar, the historic north Indian city dominated by the spectacular Golden Temple. You can enjoy a free meal at the Guru-Ka-Langar dining hall attached to the Golden Temple, and negotiate your way to bargains on locally made artisan goods in the Old City.
The city's name comes from the pool that surrounds the glittering iconic temple. A spiritual center for the Sikh faith, it is also a major tourist attraction - but be sure to cover your head and take off your shoes before entering the building.
Wander through the laneways of the Old City, dating back to the 1600s, as you explore the many bazaars and markets, and sample mouthwatering street food like kebabs and paranthas.
The Katra Jaimal Singh Bazaar, Lohri Gate Market - famous for shoes - and the city's many other markets offer a wide variety of artisan work, including phulkari, a form of intricate, floral-based embroidery, along with clothing and other textile goods.
Fueled by fertile agricultural lands and abundant local ingredients and fragrant spices, local cuisine includes dal makhani, a creamy lentil dish, or marinated chicken.
Graceful architecture is plentiful in Amritsar, such as the Ram Bagh, a former Maharajah's palace, gold-domed Tarn Taran Sahib, or the whitewashed Akal Takht buildings near the Temple.
Most visitors arrive during the relatively cooler, drier winter months between October and April, when temperatures range between 70 and 90 degrees.
The Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport (ATQ) is located just over six miles from the city center. A taxi to the city should cost about ₹300, but be prepared to bargain.
The Amritsar Junction Railway Station is a major regional hub, with connections available to New Delhi, Delhi, and Mumbai.
Amritsar is connected to New Delhi via the NH-1 highway; the trip is about six hours.
Amritsar is connected by bus to most major centers within the region, including Delhi, New Delhi, and Chandigarh.
Stay in modern comfort with local flair at the Hotel CJ International, near the Golden Temple. The Hotel PR Residency is stylish and modern, with a great central location near the railway station.
INA Colony - this is an upscale part of the city, home to many restaurants and hotels, attractions like the Gobindgarh Fort, and the Amritsar Bus Depot.
Old City - this centuries-old historic neighborhood is where you will find the Golden Temple and many of the city's most famous attractions.
Gagan Colony - this neighborhood is where to find the Celebration Mall and other modern shopping options.
There are a number of bus companies operating in the city, including the Amritsar Bus Rapid Transit System. Fares vary by zone, with a trip from the bus station to the railway station costing ₹10.
There are many taxis available in the city, and negotiating is encouraged. A trip from the train station to the Golden Temple costs about ₹50.
It is possible to drive around the city, but visitors may find the traffic hectic and parking may be scarce in popular areas. Car rentals are in short supply; local rental companies include Karan Car Rentals Amritsar.
Large modern shopping malls like the Nehru Shopping Complex and Mall of Amritsar are located outside the city center in suburban areas to the north and east of downtown.
Vishal Mega Mart offers a good selection of local and imported goods. A quart of milk costs about ₹44, and a dozen eggs should come in at about ₹58.
Enjoy classic Punjabi favorites at the century-old Kesar Da Dhaba, with main dishes that start at ₹70. The imaginative menu a the Crystal Restaurant includes both Mughlai and European dishes, with mains that start at ₹300.