Amritsar in North India
Founded in around 1577 by the fourth Sikh Guru 'Ram Sar', Amritsar is a medieval city with 12 gates surrounding a maze of old streets. Beyond the gates, the city is a modern haphazard but interesting place to explore. There's also the most famous Sikh temple, 'The Golden Temple', which is a simply stunning building set by the water and one of India's best buildings to visit.
Best time to take a trip here
Due to the fierce summers, where it can get up to 42°C, the best time to visit is in winter, from October to March. All the main Hindu and Sikh festivals are celebrated, of which the main ones are, the Festival of Vaisakhi (harvest festival and New Year) in April, Guru Nanak Gurpurab in November, Deepavali, usually at the end of October/beginning of November, and finally the fun celebration of Holi, which is during the full moon of Phalgun month (spring festival).
To know before you go
Visitors from the UK require a visa, available from the Indian High Commission, and passports must be valid for 180 days or more and have two blank pages.
Very important: Ensure all vaccines and boosters are up to date, and consider additional protection: Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Typhoid. Also recommended are: Cholera, Hepatitis B; Japanese Encephalitis; Rabies, especially if you intend travelling elsewhere in India. Malaria protection may also be an idea, as it is prevalent in some parts of India.
If you are visiting the Golden Temple, remember to respect the Sikh religion by covering your head (both sexes). Do not take photos inside the temple, and abide by the rules of no smoking or alcohol inside the complex. The cost of living is much lower than in the UK, and a basic meal costs around 200 rupees.
Transport and local info
Amritsar has it's own airport, The Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport, which is 11 km from central Amritsar. To get to the city centre, there's a city bus which takes 24 minutes or so to Amritsar central bus station. However, if you want to take a Taxi, bargain hard and try to pay around 300 rupees. Accommodation wise, shared rooms are from roughly 200 rupees per night, and luxury hotels are from 2000 rupees per night. Getting about locally is fun and chaotic due to the city layout, with a mix of cycle rickshaws, auto rickshaws, buses and taxis. NB: No motorised vehicles are allowed in the area around Golden Temple, so walking in is best.