AMRITSAR – One of India’s most visited tourist destinations, Amritsar is home to the Golden Temple, or Harmandir Sahib, which is Sikhism’s most important shrine. The grand shrine is known for its round-the-clock langar or ‘free kitchen’. Visitors to the religious centre also visit the Jallianwala Bagh, the site of the horrific Jallianwala massacre of 1919, where bullet marks are still visible; hauntingly prominent. At the Wagah Border separating India and Pakistan, located 28kms from Amritsar, a ceremonial show happens every evening. Amritsar has an international airport located just 13km from the Golden Temple.
HARIKE WETLAND – A wetland is defined as a terrain knee-deep in water, and in India, the Harike Wetland located in Punjab is the largest. It is manmade, and serves the purpose of providing enough water to the visiting animals and birds. Imagine this—a vast stretch of water with scattered patches of verdant flora seeming like a miniature version of our planet itself. Visit the Harike Bird Sanctuary that is accessed from Ferozepur. While it is a sanctum for numerous endangered bird species, the wetlands also support animals such as the mongoose, the Indian wild boar and the jackal. Ferozepur Cantonment is the nearest railway station to Harike.
VIRASAT-E-KHALSA – A monumental embodiment of the Sikh religion and its underlying culture and traditions, the Virasat-e-Khalsa Museum is a treat for anyone who wishes to learn anything about the religion. Located in Anandpur Sahib, the Museum has an auditorium that can support 400 people, art galleries, a well-equipped library, exhibition spaces, digital and interactive spaces. And then there’s the spellbinding architecture, complete with arches, walkways, bridges and even pools. Here, you learn everything from the origins of the Khalsa sect to the many gurus who have shaped its history. Anandpur Sahib is best accessed from Chandigarh (90kms).