No wonder the Indian government chose Amritsar as one of its official heritage cities. An ancient metropolis whose 12 medieval gates still stand, it holds the Golden Temple, a gilt edifice that is the holiest site in the Sikh religion. But Amritsar vacation packages offer more than mere contemplative pursuits. Rich in history, engaging events, and commerce, they have something to offer every sort of traveler.
Driving in India is notoriously chaotic, so booking Amritsar rental cars isn't for the faint of heart. You can get around easily enough on foot in the Old Quarter and by rickshaw through the rest of the city. Still, the adventuresome should take the plunge, given that noteworthy cities such as Pathankot, Jalandhar, and Kapurthala are only a couple of hours away. Vacationers on Amritsar packages should first make a beeline to the Golden Temple. Combining both Islamic and Hindu architectural styles, the building is built of marble below, covered with gold paneling above, and has an inner sanctum where Sikhs chant 24 hours a day. Also impressive, the Mata Temple is a mind-boggling, maze-like edifice filled with mirror-studded mosaics. For a more rustic experience, various companies can show you how life looks in a local village or take you on a food tour.
Most of the regular festivals you'll find during Amritsar vacations have strongly religious or cultural overtones. Lohri, which celebrates the winter solstice, occurs in the middle of January and features dancing around big bonfires fed with puffed rice and peanuts. April 13 marks Baisakhi, the arrival of spring, and is replete with parades and celebrants decked in beautiful clothing. Come with an appetite if you want to see November's Ram Tirth Fair, a multi-day event including rides, magicians, and lots of local grub.
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