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Akal Takht is one of the five seats of power of Sikh religion. Situated in Amritsar, Akal Takht is located opposite to Harmandir Sahib. It was built by Guru Hargobind Sahib, Akal Takht is considered as a symbol of sovereignty! Sitting beside the holy pond gives an immense feeling of peacefulness!
The state of Punjab is bordered by J&K in the north, Himachal Pradesh in the east, Haryana to the south and Pakistani province of Punjab to the west. Both Punjab and Haryana share Chandigarh, a union territory, as their state capital. At the time of Independence in 1947, Punjab was divided between India and Pakistan. The Indian Punjab further split to form the two new states of Haryana and Himachal in 1966. Punjab is a Sikh majority Indian state and is the land of 5 rivers, namely Sutlej, Beas, Chenab, Jhelum and Ravi. There is so much to explore in the land – from the various sites of Indus Valley Civilization to historic palaces, battle sites and great Sikh architecture.
Punjab experiences extremes in temperature in summers and winters; so the best time to visit would be any time in the transitional seasons. Weather is most soothing between October and March and is the perfect time for holidaying as you neither experience the tiring heat nor the drenching rain. The add-on advantage is that you get a flavor of the local festivals if you plan your trip around this time of the year.
The Golden Temple, Jallianwala Bagh, Wagah Border, palaces, forts of erstwhile Maharajas of India; scores of zoological and nature parks, hills, valleys, gardens, theme parks, museums, wildlife sanctuaries, lakes, temples, gurudwaras – Punjab leaves nothing out.
Punjabis are by far the most amiable, jovial, good-humored and large-hearted of the Indian race; they are lively, dynamic people. The exuberance is almost infectious in this colorful, high-voltage land of the Punjabis.
Punjabi cuisine is absolutely mouth-watering, yummilicious – to say the least! Dishes are distinctively rich and buttery.
Food is normally enhanced with additives and condiments for the extra zing! Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare is served with generous helpings of clarified butter and butter.
Cooking style and recipes may vary a little with different regions but overall you mustn’t give a miss to chana masala, chhole, aloo paratha, halwa poori, bhatoora, naan, lachha paratha, stuffed parathas, bajre/jowar ki roti, falooda, makhni doodh, amritsari lassi, masala chai, kulchas, biryani, kebabs, kheema, bhuna/kadhai gosht, kadhai chicken, tandoori preparations, paya, butter and chicken tikka masala, fish tikka, dal makhni, rajma, shahi paneer, paneer kofta, matar paneer, baingan bharta, tarka, raita the Punjabi way. You will really have just too many options to choose from. Makki di roti and sarson da saag during the winters are common in almost every household. Try some of the tantalizing pakoras with green chutney in the evening.
Those with a sweet-tooth can savor on Amritsari jalebis, barfis, kheer, kulfi, laddu, rabri, halwa and sheer korma.
For beverages, you may be served anything from flavored lassi, chhaas, fruit and vegetable juices to jal-jeera, milk soda and sattu drink.
Just eat to your heart’s content and lick your fingers off quite literally! Your Punjabi host will only be too glad to give you a taste of her expert hands; bless her with all your heart for the treat!
Punjabis are a happy lot and they are virtually celebrating occasions round the year. Nevertheless, the main ones on a Punjabi calendar include maghi, lohri, basant festival, holi, vaisakhi, rakhi, teej and not to forget India’s favorite diwali.
Makar sankranti or maghi is marked by having kheer and organizing sport festivals across the state.
Lohri is a winter harvest festival. Basant is the kite festival where people get together in larger groups competing to fly their kites higher.
Holi is the festival of colors that marks the onset of spring. Vaisakhi is yet another harvest festival and is also the Punjabi New Year. Fairs are held across the state.
Raksha bandhan is celebrated as brother-sister day. Teeyan welcomes the monsoons and officially starts off with Teej, lasting for 13 days.
Diwali is the festival of lights.
The Punjabi culture is renowned for various reasons; there is an exclusiveness and vivacity in the lifestyle of the Punjabi people. The beats of dhol and the rhythm of the steel spoon on the dholak is a simple style but add to the exuberance of Punjabi music. Dance and songs are intrinsic to their lives and living. The bhangra, giddha, jhumar, dhankara and gatka are popular forms of dance. Wedding Punjabi songs are peppy beats. Boliyas are popularly sung during celebrations.
The traditional attire is the kurta pyjama and turban for men; women prefer Patiala suits. Variants of the quintessential salwar kameez and lehenga kurta are fashionable worldwide. The dress remains incomplete without phulkari dupattas.
Punjabi women have a knack for weaving woolen attires for the entire family. Phulkari work on dupattas and shawls are recognized internationally for the intricacy involved. Shawls in silk are carefully hand-woven with traditional motifs as designs. Get the idea of gifting one to a beloved or someone dear.
When in Punjab, you don’t want to miss carrying back a grand collection of exclusive handloom products and handicrafts that the state is so famous for. Right from Amritsar to Ludhiana, and Chandigarh to Pathankot, almost all the tourist places in Punjab offer the scope for shopping.
Punjab is famous for its durries, jutties, woolen shawls, phulkari work, inlaid furniture, parandis, leather garments and jewellery. Almost everywhere you go in the state, you will find an exquisite display of the traditional items. Peshawari hand fans, baskets and folk toys are other attractions of the place.
Punjabi is the official language of the state; it has various dialects. Different areas determine these dialects. However, tourists who are not aware of the Punjabi language will not be in a soup because Punjabis are equally versed in Hindi and English. Punjabi language has influences of Urdu and Persian in some parts of the land.
Punjab is one of the most hospitable of the Indian states; foreigners and tourists from other-states will be most at ease in Punjab than anywhere in India, just remember to keep it in your travel itinerary and you will be glad you did it.
By Road: Regular ISBT bus services connect Amritsar with Delhi, Katra, and Jammu, Dharamsala, Chandigarh and other locations.
By Train: Amritsar railway station is well connected with all the major cities in India via railways. The railway station is just 15 minutes driving distance from the Gurudwara.
By Air: Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport is the nearest airport to this holy shrine. The airport is 11 kms from the city center.GET DIRECTION
The langar hall or the community kitchen serves authentic vegetarian Punjabi meal to approximately 75000 pilgrims every day! Itâs a must watch!
From October till December are the most favorable times to visit Akal Takht!
At night Akal Takht is illuminated with lights giving an enigmatic effect to the monument! The open air semi circular structure on marble flooring is a five storied structure. Gilded interiors, European style painted walls and gold leafed dome at the top are the main attractions!
Jallianwalla bagh: This garden is the place where the gruesome massacre of 1919 took place!