So after briefing you about my initial trip of Amritsar, here I am sharing my experiences on the Places to Visit in Amritsar. There were only three places that I visited, but all three were kind of the most important and famous ones. We arrived at Amritsar at around 15:00 by Shan-e-Punjab from New Delhi (Read my previous post) After arriving, we checked in at Mayur Hotel. You can read my review here. The hotel isn’t an uber-luxurious resort but a mediocre and a budget place to stay very close to the railway station.
To start with, we decided to visit the Atari Border aka Wagah Border. The border is known for its Retreating Ceremony that takes place every evening between the Border Security Force (India) and the Pakistan Rangers. The flags are lowered and the gates are closed in a well defined ferocious fashion. The border lies on the Grand Trunk Road (GT Road) aka Sher Shah Suri Road aka National Highway 1 in India. For those who don’t know, a brief history about the GT Road, it was built by Sher Shah Suri during the Mughal reign. The road connects Kabul in Afghanistan and Kolkata, India. The road was an important route for exchange of goods and trade.
The NH-1 has been well maintained, the road is simply amazing. No less than an Expressway. “Amritsar ke hawa mein kuch khaas hain…” Amritsar has a special feeling. The border is around 30kms from Railway station and takes around 30 mins to reach there. One could take a shared cab for as cheap as 90 Rs per head ! Soon the boards on the way showed, Lahore, Islamabad. We were nearing the border. I have always wanted to go to the other side once and explore that place, lets see whether I get a chance…
As soon as we reached there,we were told that the whole area has been fitted with jammers hence no mobile phone work there. The BSF jawans guided us to the pavilion where the closing ceremony takes place. One the way I saw a huge gate on the left and wanted to know what it was. I went up to a BSF jawana and inquired. He told me the Wagah border, is from where you can go to Pakistan after the Visa formalities are done while the huge gate on the left hand side was the trade gate where various good were exchanged between the two countries.
We walked and reached the pavilion, there were separate stands for Men, Women, Family and VIP. If you arrive early, you can get a chance to view the ceremony fairly close. All the Bollywood numbers were being played when we reached there, “Chak de India” was the pick of the day. People were dancing on the road. It seemed like a desi-shaadi-baraat !
The person started by asking all of us to shout slogans “Vande Mataram”, “Hindustan Zindabad”, “Bharat Mata ki Jai” which I Feel is unnecessary. As expected, our friends from the other side too weren’t less and replied with “Jeele Jeele Pakistan” slogans. I certainly feel, things like slogan shouting should be stopped. I agree that its a patriotic thing-et-all. But things like can become provocative and lead to more trouble. Whatever, everything minus this chanting = Awesomeness !
We didn’t get the best seats in the house, but thanks to my Sony Cybershot which did a fairly good job in capturing the moment. I was busy seeing the surrounding than the border itself. Commandos probably with Snipers deployed around the area. Similarly saw a couple of soldiers on the other side of the border too. I loved the costume of the Paksitani forces, their turbans looked great. The Swarna Jayanit Dwar on the Indian side had the photo of Mahatma Gandhi while Bab-e-Azadi on the Pakistani Side had the photo of Md. Jinnah.
All in all, it was a great place. I wish we had reached the place a little early so that we could get better seats not only to see the gate but to see how the world on the other side is ! There is a small bazaar outside selling Indian flags, clothes, DVDs of the ceremony et all.
This is all about the Wagah Border and my experience there. Hope this helps you to plan your trip too.
[Visiting the Golden Temple ? Read my experience Here.][Shocking !! – See how Apple Maps show Wagah Border in Pakistan – Read Here]