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Old 13th August 2014, 10:51   #1
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Default A short trip to Amritsar : August 2014

Decided to extend a visit to Chandigarh up to Amritsar over the Rakhi weekend.

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Overall summary of the trip -

Day 0 - Friday - 8th August
16:30 Dwarka
18:05 - 18:40 Gulshan dhaba @ Murthal
21:55 Chandigarh

Day 1 - Saturday - 9th August
9:20 Chandigarh
10:55 Ludhiana
12:20 Jallandhar
13:45 Amritsar MLCP
Jalianwallah Bagh + Lunch @ Brother's Dhaba

15:20 Amritsar MLCP
16:40 Joint Checkpost, Atari parking
Wagah Ceremony

19:30 JCP, Atari parking
21:00 Hotel parking, Amritsar
Golden Temple + Dinner


Day 2 - Sunday - 10th August
7:40 Amritsar
8:00 - 8:55 Breakfast stop near Khilchan/butari
9:45 Jallandhar
10:55 Ludhiana
12:20 Truck shopping near Manderan
13:25 Chandigarh
Family time
15:55 Chandigarh
19:00 Tea break @ Murthal
21:55 Home

Detailed updates in the next few posts.

Chandigarh - Amritsar


Started at a leisurely 9:20 from Chandigarh. Route was simple enough. The only problematic points proved to be Ludhiana, crossing over from NH95 to NH1 and then Jallandhar bypass - horrible roads. The morning rains multiplied the problems!

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NH95 between Chandigarh and Ludhiana is mostly an undivided single lane highway with excellent tarmac. But what spoils the fun are the various buses and trucks that do not seem to be able to see oncoming traffic and attempt overtaking at their convenience (see first pic).

From Jallandhar onward, though the roads were wide (~6 lane) but appeared unfinished coz of no lane/exit/facilities markings. Near Amritsar, the road again becomes single lane undivided for some distance.
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Old 13th August 2014, 10:56   #2
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Jalianwallah Bagh

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On my last visit, I had parked the car in MLCP and taken a cycle rick for 20 odd bucks to the temple. This time I saw multiple battery operated rickshaws roaming around on the 2nd floor parking itself, even helping people locate empty parking spots. One such fellow helped me and then asked for 100 bucks for a ride to Jalianwallah! Talk about fleecing tourists! Due to the rains, the streets were looking more like rivers and finally had to relent and board one of these . The rains didn't stop and we had to roam around in the drizzle - not one of the best experiences but had no other option.

Martyr's Well
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Amar Jyoti
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Memorial
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New Entrance - building with the blue windows. Old/historic entrance is just behind the small wall on the left
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Old/historic entrance
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Bullet marks on the walls
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After Jalianwallah, visited Brother's for a sumptuous kulcha meal! The highlight for me was their onion chutney. Absolute lip smacking material.

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Old 13th August 2014, 11:05   #3
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Wagah Border - Joint Checkpost Atari


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Post lunch, headed out of Amritsar towards Wagah. Only to face the worst of traffic jams. Due to water logging traffic was virtually at a standstill. By the time we reached BSF gate no.3 to collect our passes it was well past 4 PM. Collected the pass and dashed towards Attari.

So near yet so far!
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The gates opened at 4:30 PM and it was a mad rush to get to the seats even though BSF personnel were managing and directing the crowd.

At Wagah, I had seriously underestimated the crowd! My brother-in-law insisted that we take a pass, while I was planning to go the general route. He made some calls to his contacts in Amritsar and arranged for the passes. In hindsight, it was a good decision. But the pass we got didn't mention our vehicle info. So had to park it in the general parking and then wrestle with the rest of the crowd. Once inside, there is a separate entry for pass holder.

In all there are 6 seating sections,
1. vip (adjacent to the border gates on either side of the road) - chair seating
2. foreign nationals (adjacent to vip section, on left of the gate) - step seating
3. pass holder (adjacent to the above, only on left)
4. general - for women (next to 3, only on left)
5. general - for men (next to 4, on left)
6. general - for men (opposite 5, on right)

In case you are planning to get a pass, please make sure you get it for the vehicle as well. That way, you can bypass the huge crowd and park very near to the venue.

Gates opened
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Approaching Swarna Jayanti Dwar. Pass holders, VIPs enter through left. Rest straight through the gates.
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Vehicle ID?
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Seating on our side and the other side of Swarna Jayanti Dwar. Notice Gandhiji's pic in the center
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Seating arrangements
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The other side!
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The band master
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Random girls picked up from crowd to run with the flag uptil the border gate and back
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A Panorama
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Ceremony begins
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Notice the 2 guards standing face to face across a white line - international border I suppose
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The setting sun
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While our gate has Bharat and India written on it, Pakistan's gate proclaims Pakistan Zindabad
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Pakistan's equivalent of our Swarna Jayanti Dwar. Mr. Jinnah in the center.
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The Ashoke Stambh on each pillar of our gate
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Curious people on both sides of the fence
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That's the actual trade gate from where materials and men cross the border
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Old 13th August 2014, 11:11   #4
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Golden Temple

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Had great darshan at the temple, Due to the delay in traffic after visiting Wagha, we reached pretty late. Around 10.15pm or so. Watched the procession (palki), and carrying of the Guru Granth Sahib away from the main temple in this palki. Hardly took about 30 mins. Though initially I hadn't planned this or was aware of it, a very kind Sikh gentleman insisted we stay and witness it. So we did. Later, that same gentleman greeted us when we were collecting our shoes and confirmed that we had seen it and taken some pics. Thanked him again for his gesture.

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Palki arriving
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Palki readied
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Guru Granth Sahib being carried from the main temple to the palki
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After the darshan, spent some time roaming around the complex. Had dinner at a shop just outside the temple and headed back to the hotel.

Amritsar - Chandigarh - Delhi

Rather uneventful day, started early and had a longish breakfast/refuel break outside Amritsar. Only exciting thing was truck shopping! Found these super cute models at a road side stall between Ludhiana and Chandigarh. Picked up 2 for the kids in the family.

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A little bit of off-roading doesn't hurt! :P
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Reached Chandigarh by 1:30 pm. Started for Delhi by 3:55 pm. It took us around 3 hours to cover the 200 odd kms from Chandigarh to Murthal and then another 3 hours to cover the next 60 kms till home!

The End!
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Old 13th August 2014, 15:48   #5
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Nice write-up Dry Ice. Been a while (more than 3 years) since I traveled to that part fo Punjab. Your travelogue refreshed my memories. The Golden Temple remains one of the best places of worship I've had the good fortune of visiting!

That military truck you wanted to know about is a Mine Protected Vehicle. Seen many of those at various locations all over the country over the years.
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Old 13th August 2014, 16:27   #6
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Default Re: A weekend at Amritsar

Awesome but why didnt you have LANGAR at the Golden temple. I would say you missed on an opportunity here.

You could have also seen world's largest FOOLKA (CHAPATHI/ROTI) making machine there. The cauldrons making LANGAR DAL and SUBJI (Vegetable) are also worth a dekko.
BUt then there is always a next time.

Loved those TRUCKS and I have few on them too. I can say that the quality has gone down a notch and that they have added Plastic cabins now. Mine are pure wood.

Raab rakha.

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Old 14th August 2014, 09:02   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
Nice write-up Dry Ice. Been a while (more than 3 years) since I traveled to that part fo Punjab. Your travelogue refreshed my memories. The Golden Temple remains one of the best places of worship I've had the good fortune of visiting!

That military truck you wanted to know about is a Mine Protected Vehicle. Seen many of those at various locations all over the country over the years.
Yes, Golden temple is indeed very peaceful and serene inspite of the massive crowds.

The vehicle reminded me instantly of the Marauder which Hammond had tested in SA in last season.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariesonu View Post
Awesome but why didnt you have LANGAR at the Golden temple. I would say you missed on an opportunity here.

You could have also seen world's largest FOOLKA (CHAPATHI/ROTI) making machine there. The cauldrons making LANGAR DAL and SUBJI (Vegetable) are also worth a dekko.
BUt then there is always a next time.

Loved those TRUCKS and I have few on them too. I can say that the quality has gone down a notch and that they have added Plastic cabins now. Mine are pure wood.

Raab rakha.
Thanks! I guess will have to wait for the langer till the next visit.

About the trucks, the biggers ones were completely wooden - including the wheels, the smaller ones had many plastic bits.
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Old 14th August 2014, 14:18   #8
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Default Re: A short trip to Amritsar : August 2014

Nice travelogue there! Sometimes these nice short journeys give a lot of happiness and specially those which involve visiting such a peaceful place. The Golden temple is always peaceful and brings a lot of calmness to one's mind.

However, next time if you happen to go there, or anyone who is planning a trip to Amritsar, I will highly recommend Shaheedan da Gurudwara - Built in Memory of Baba Deep Singh ji. Its a must visit and one gets to know a lot more about the history as well.

Plus, as ariesonu has mentioned correctly, Langar is one thing that is an amazing experience in itself. Brings a lot of humility in oneself.
Also, to appease the home ministry, one short visit to Lawrence road is a must. Nice food joints and nice shopping place. That would really complete the journey to a big extent.
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Old 17th August 2014, 10:18   #9
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No visit to this is complete without a ghee dipped Kulcha/Paratha with Chole! Absolutely divine experience.
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Old 18th August 2014, 20:39   #10
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Default Re: A short trip to Amritsar : August 2014

A bit different from our last Amritsar outing...

Nice travelogue, a short family trip like this always brings a smile.
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Old 19th August 2014, 09:08   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JASMEET MATTOO View Post
Nice travelogue there! Sometimes these nice short journeys give a lot of happiness and specially those which involve visiting such a peaceful place. The Golden temple is always peaceful and brings a lot of calmness to one's mind.

However, next time if you happen to go there, or anyone who is planning a trip to Amritsar, I will highly recommend Shaheedan da Gurudwara - Built in Memory of Baba Deep Singh ji. Its a must visit and one gets to know a lot more about the history as well.

Plus, as ariesonu has mentioned correctly, Langar is one thing that is an amazing experience in itself. Brings a lot of humility in oneself.
Also, to appease the home ministry, one short visit to Lawrence road is a must. Nice food joints and nice shopping place. That would really complete the journey to a big extent.
Thanks! And true about the langar. Will definitely try it on the next trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
No visit to this is complete without a ghee dipped Kulcha/Paratha with Chole! Absolutely divine experience.
Lol! Yes, indeed - one of the other reasons to visit Amritsar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleeplessdriver View Post
A bit different from our last Amritsar outing...

Nice travelogue, a short family trip like this always brings a smile.
Thanks!
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Old 19th August 2014, 09:45   #12
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Default Re: A short trip to Amritsar : August 2014

Great write-up Dry Ice! Loved the pictures of the model trucks.
By the way I am given to understand that one most know someone who knows someone at the Army to get the coveted pass for the Wagah border ceremony.
I recall, my little daughter struck up a spirited conversation with an Army man on our train - New-Delhi - Amritsar. He was posted at Amritsar, and just before reaching Amritsar, he pulled out a piece of paper and wrote down a contact person's name and mobile. This person would give me the pass - he said.
We stopped by his office to collect the pass waiting for us. It was such a relief bypassing the crowds for once and managing a seat near where the action was.
Fond memories indeed! I thank you for bringing them back to life again.
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Old 20th August 2014, 14:28   #13
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Great write-up Dry Ice! Loved the pictures of the model trucks.
By the way I am given to understand that one most know someone who knows someone at the Army to get the coveted pass for the Wagah border ceremony.
I recall, my little daughter struck up a spirited conversation with an Army man on our train - New-Delhi - Amritsar. He was posted at Amritsar, and just before reaching Amritsar, he pulled out a piece of paper and wrote down a contact person's name and mobile. This person would give me the pass - he said.
We stopped by his office to collect the pass waiting for us. It was such a relief bypassing the crowds for once and managing a seat near where the action was.
Fond memories indeed! I thank you for bringing them back to life again.
Thanks joy! I was not aware of this pass thingy earlier. Thank god my b-i-l insisted and arranged one for me! But now I always ask people to somehow arrange this pass to visit the border. Much better experience - plus you can arrive late and not spend an hour waiting.
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Old 20th August 2014, 16:59   #14
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Default Re: A short trip to Amritsar : August 2014

Very nice and crisp write up. Wagah Border pics are just great.

Live to Drive - Atul Aggarwal
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