When I was at the early stage of my pregnancy, a desire started budding in my heart. I started getting drawn towards the idea of visiting the Golden Temple located in Amritsar, Punjab. As days went by, this desire became all the more strong and I almost had visions of visiting the holy place with my new born. So, secretly I harbored the desire to go there when my baby turns one. But unfortunately that didn’t happen for several reasons. Then the Covid pandemic happened and life came to a standstill. I would wish every single day for this dream to come true and would get emotional. Personal life, Finance, Business, Health and many other factors came in between our plans, and I was getting overwhelmed, lest this dream never gets fulfilled.
Flights and Hotels
I have been checking flights and fares to Amritsar for quite some time. From Dibrugarh to Amritsar the fare came around Rs 12000 per person generally, which was quite over the budget for me. Around early August this year I checked again and the fare came down to around Rs 5000 per person, Dibrugarh to Amritsar for a few days in September. I was ecstatic because this was the best deal I could dream of. After discussing with my husband we decided to seal the dates. I had a deal with my elder sister previously that whenever we plan this trip I would let her know. She and her family decided to join us on this trip and we started planning the itinerary and made the bookings accordingly.
Flight tickets were booked through Ease My Trip, because they were offering the cheapest rates compared to other apps. Hotels were booked much later through Booking.com, Agoda.com and Oyo for three destinations. We were looking for comfortable accommodation well within our budget with complimentary breakfast and settled for as high as Rs 2500 only per night.
This was going to be our first long vacation with Neev, and Neev’s first flight. We decided to travel light considering the fact that we have to manage Neev. Our Indigo flight was at 3.10 pm from Mohanbari Airport, Dibrugarh and we reached the airport at 1 pm. We immediately checked-in our baggage, passed the security check and waited in the lounge until boarding time. We carried light food with us which we had before boarding the flight. Neev also had his share. Once we settled in our seats we got the vomiting bags ready just in case Neev feels sick. He was curious and observed every little thing, even the sound and movement of the flight during take off. Of course I was talking to him this whole time to divert his mind. Soon after he fell asleep, which I was expecting, since it was his afternoon nap time and the 3 hours long flight turned out to be comfortable for us.
We landed in New Delhi at around 6.10 pm and Neev woke up just before the landing. He was comfortable during the landing too and we were really happy. We then took the airport shuttle to Terminal 2 from where we had our connecting flight to Amritsar. Once we passed the security check we decided to have early dinner at the airport and ordered some food. Just before boarding time I again gave Neev some cerelac which he readily ate. The flight time from New Delhi to Amritsar was around 50 minutes and Neev remained awake this time. He met a baby on board and their time went by playing with each other. At 11.25 pm we landed in Amritsar Airport. We booked a cab at the airport to our hotel and checked in at our OYO after midnight.
Day 1: Golden Temple
The next morning we got ready by 9 am and left for the Golden Temple which was around 2 kms away from our hotel. The streets that led to the temple are narrow and busy, and soon after we entered the walking street which had colorful shops on both sides leading to the temple. The place was packed with tourists and devotees. We decided to have a quick breakfast in a small dhaba located on this street, and ordered kulcha.
Before entering the main temple premises, we deposited our shoes in the area provided by the temple authorities. After passing a stream of water we ascended the steps and the main shrine shone in front of our eyes, surrounded on all sides by the “amrit sarovar“. We got near the pool and I couldn’t stop my tears. All so sudden I felt overwhelmed and emotional, and was weeping uncontrollably. My wish, my dream of visiting this holy shrine which I had nurtured for almost 4 years was finally realized and I was overwhelmed. I somehow brought myself to kneel down and bow my head in respect to the Guru, I had nothing to offer other than thanksgiving, for blessing me with this opportunity to visit the Golden Temple for a second time with my kid and husband.
It started drizzling soon after and it felt like God was showering his holy water upon us to cleanse us from within. I wanted to make the most of this time and experience the calm to calm my inner self. The gurbani, the holy songs added to the peaceful ambience as devotees offered their prayers. My husband took a dip in the “amrit sarovar“, the holy water of the pond and Neev joined him. He relates this experience as calming, peaceful and refreshing. We took a round around the shrine, the Harmandar Sahib and after offering the prasad, had a little from the share given to us. We sat down for a while to listen to the gurbani and it was an enchanting experience.
It was around 1.30 pm by the time we completed our round around the shrine, so we decided to have our meal at the langar which is open to all. It was a hearty meal which even Neev relished, the payash especially. Neev was too tired after having the food and fell asleep, so we decided to sit down for a while and rest.
Around 3 pm we decided it’s time to proceed to another tourist place but planned to return at night again, because our heart and mind were not full yet.
After a quick stop at Jallianwala Bagh we returned to the hotel to freshen up and take some rest. Around 6 pm we went out to the Main Market, did some shopping of souvenirs and things Punjab is famous for, like Phulkari salwars and dupatta. And our last destination for the day was again, undoubtedly, the Golden Temple.
We were exhausted and so was Neev, but he still managed to walk around with us. The temple premise was buzzing with activities and devotees were still waiting in long queues to get inside the main area where the holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, is kept
The night view was mesmerising, with the full moon shining high up at the backdrop of the golden shrine, and the crystal clear waters of the ” amrit sarovar” reflecting this scenic beauty to be captured in our lens forever. My dream, my wish came true and I couldn’t wish for more!
What to expect and what not to
We did our trip in September and I must tell you it’s not at all a pleasant month to visit Amritsar. The weather is hot and dry, the sun adds to the discomfort. It’s highly recommended to visit Amritsar during the season which starts from November to March.
Numerous hotels are available suited to your budget which are very near to the temple. Instead of booking online one can directly book upon arrival. Our personal experience with online hotel booking was not satisfactory. It’s not that the sites are not good, but the images available may sometimes not meet your expectations.
I am sure you must have a long list of food you want to try in Amritsar, like Lachcha Parantha, Kulcha, Butter Chicken, Tandoori Chicken, Lassi etc. You should definitely try them but do remember that Punjabi cuisine can be a little spicy generally, so try to balance the food with curd. Also the langar of the Golden Temple is open at all times, and the food tastes delicious. Make sure you have a meal there.
We traveled in E-rickshaws most of the time because, like I had mentioned, the roads leading to the temple are narrow. The fare also was reasonable. But nevertheless don’t forget to negotiate always.
Videography inside the temple premises is prohibited. One can take pictures only. You can carry bags with personal belongings or a change of clothes if you want to take a dip. Your head has to be covered at all times, even during bath and irrespective of your gender and age. It can either be your dupatta, or saree pallu, or a handkerchief.
The Golden Temple, Amritsar is a must visit tourist destination. The peace, the calm you experience on visiting this holy place simply cannot be described in words. You transcend beyond the human world and become one with the almighty.