Explore: Sites Around Hamira

Explore: Sites Around Hamira

There is much to see and do around Hamira. Visit Kapurthala, once the seat of royalty and power, now a sleepy town scattered with beautiful buildings. Many of these monuments owe inspiration to French architectural styles, prompting the sobriquet given to Kapurthala: ‘Paris of Punjab’. Participate in the evocative ceremony at the Indo-Pakistan border, Wagah. And of course, make the pilgrimage to the Golden Temple and the food stalls of legendary Amritsar.

The Moorish Mosque

This replica of an actual mosque in Marrakesh was designed by a French architect and commissioned by a Sikh ruler, at the request of his Muslim Diwan in 1930. Recently restored, it is open to visitors of all faiths. The shaded garden, the quiet courtyard, bright open-to-sky arches and delicate carvings, old lamps and intricate pastel artwork in the inner dome (done by artists from the Mayo College, Ajmer) all come together in architectural splendour. The mosque, a living place of prayer, has been declared a National Monument by the Archeological Survey of India. Be careful to take off your shoes before you enter, or incur the wrath of the cantankerous yet devoted caretaker.

Kapurthala Palace

The Maharaja of Kapurthala was a lover of all things French, and nothing articulates this love more than his residence, obviously inspired by Versaille and Fontainebleu and designed by a Frenchman. A living building, it now houses the Sainik School (a defence academy). The palace was completed in 1908. The Dining Room is stately and opulent, and huge wooden horses that bring past grandeur to life flank the main reception. The painted ceilings are distinctly French, while the Durbar Hall, which till recently was home to the school library, is very Indian in design, jharokhas and royal portraits peering down at you from on high. On view are several artifacts from the Maharaja’s personal collections.

The Golden Temple

Whatever religion you follow, the sense of profound spirituality that permeates this holiest of Sikh shrines will not fail to move you. Built on the site of an ancient meditation retreat where the Buddha is said to have visited, Harmandir Sahib or the Golden Temple is the jewel of the city of Amritsar, and just 58km from Hamira. Pilgrims come from far and wide to pray here, immerse themselves in the still waters of the lake — and in the beautiful hymns and chanting that float across it all day. No trip to Punjab is complete without a ‘darshan’ at the Golden Temple. We can arrange the logistics for you.

Jallianwala Bagh

In 1919, thousands of people - men, women and children, were celebrating the Punjabi festival of Baisakhi in the walled garden of Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, when soldiers under the command of British General Dyer indiscriminately opened fire on them. Multitudes perished – some were shot, some trampled in the stampede, and some threw themselves in the well to escape the firing. The massacre was one of the lowest points of the Raj in India. Today, the garden is a place of pilgrimage, with a larger-than-life memorial to the martyrs called the Flame of Liberty. A bullet-ridden wall is a poignant reminder of the tragedy and unprovoked violence of the event.

The Partition Museum

The Town Hall in Amritsar is now home to an incredibly important museum. It is a repository of the memories — through objects and letters, heart-breaking black and white photographs, audio visual clips and digital media from survivors — of one of the most traumatic and violent events of the 20th Century, the Partition of India. The Museum, opened in 2016, forms part of the Heritage Street in Amritsar and is an initiative of The Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust (TAACHT). Art installations and interactive exhibits immerse visitors in the history of the Partition so completely, that there is hardly a dry eye among those who view its memory-soaked rooms.

Wagah Border Ceremony

An hour and forty minutes from Hamira is the most famous border crossing in South Asia — the little village of Wagah, which lies between India and Pakistan. Every evening, at sunset, Indian Border Security Force soldiers in khaki and Pakistani Sutlej Rangers dressed in black perform a solemn Beating the Retreat ceremony with each other.The gates between the nations are closed and their flags lowered. A thousand tourists view the 45-minute proceedings everyday, and no ringing phones disturb the sanctity of the moment, because there is no mobile signal in Wagah. The stylized ceremony begins at 4 pm, so it’s advisable to get to your places and hour before.

Shopping & Eating

Amritsar is famous for its Pakistani-style ‘juttis’, decorated leather slip-on shoes. The best spot to buy these is Hallgate circle, near Hall Bazaar. For the foodie, the city is a veritable paradise. From chhole kulche to lassi and kulfi, from delicious aam papad to fish tikkas and mutton curry, restaurants and roadside carts alike serve amazing fare to hungry tourists. Some of the best eateries are holes-in-the-wall, and many don’t even have names. The most legendary are Kesar Da Dhaba for vegetarian fare, Beera for meat lovers and Kanha for aloo puri  but don’t expect healthy or fat-free versions here.

Radha Soami Satsang

With a following numbering in millions, this spiritual organization has its headquarters mere minutes from Hamira. Regular gatherings take place to sing devotional songs and listen to discourses by gurus of the sect, which is not affiliated to any religion. The philosophy of the sect is based on meditation and spiritual guidance by the teacher, rather than rigid religious rituals. The sect was established in India in 1891 and gradually spread its presence worldwide. Today, it holds meetings in more than 90 countries. If you’d like to visit the ashram, we’ll help with the logistics.

Image Credit: RSSB

The Moorish Mosque

This replica of an actual mosque in Marrakesh was designed by a French architect and commissioned by a Sikh ruler, at the request of his Muslim Diwan in 1930. Recently restored, it is open to visitors of all faiths. The shaded garden, the quiet courtyard, bright open-to-sky arches and delicate carvings, old lamps and intricate pastel artwork in the inner dome (done by artists from the Mayo College, Ajmer) all come together in architectural splendour. The mosque, a living place of prayer, has been declared a National Monument by the Archeological Survey of India. Be careful to take off your shoes before you enter, or incur the wrath of the cantankerous yet devoted caretaker.

Kapurthala Palace

The Maharaja of Kapurthala was a lover of all things French, and nothing articulates this love more than his residence, obviously inspired by Versaille and Fontainebleu and designed by a Frenchman. A living building, it now houses the Sainik School (a defence academy). The palace was completed in 1908. The Dining Room is stately and opulent, and huge wooden horses that bring past grandeur to life flank the main reception. The painted ceilings are distinctly French, while the Durbar Hall, which till recently was home to the school library, is very Indian in design, jharokhas and royal portraits peering down at you from on high. On view are several artifacts from the Maharaja’s personal collections.

The Golden Temple

Whatever religion you follow, the sense of profound spirituality that permeates this holiest of Sikh shrines will not fail to move you. Built on the site of an ancient meditation retreat where the Buddha is said to have visited, Harmandir Sahib or the Golden Temple is the jewel of the city of Amritsar, and just 58km from Hamira. Pilgrims come from far and wide to pray here, immerse themselves in the still waters of the lake — and in the beautiful hymns and chanting that float across it all day. No trip to Punjab is complete without a ‘darshan’ at the Golden Temple. We can arrange the logistics for your visit.

Jallianwala Bagh

In 1919, thousands of people - men, women and children, were celebrating the Punjabi festival of Baisakhi in the walled garden of Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, when soldiers under the command of British General Dyer indiscriminately opened fire on them. Multitudes perished – some were shot, some trampled in the stampede, and some threw themselves in the well to escape the firing. The massacre was one of the lowest points of the Raj in India. Today, the garden is a place of pilgrimage, with a larger-than-life memorial to the martyrs called the Flame of Liberty. A bullet-ridden wall is a poignant reminder of the tragedy and unprovoked violence of the event.

The Partition Museum

The Town Hall in Amritsar is now home to an incredibly important museum. It is a repository of the memories — through objects and letters, heart-breaking black and white photographs, audio visual clips and digital media from survivors — of one of the most traumatic and violent events of the 20th Century, the Partition of India. The Museum, opened in 2016, forms part of the Heritage Street in Amritsar and is an initiative of The Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust (TAACHT). Art installations and interactive exhibits immerse visitors in the history of the Partition so completely, that there is hardly a dry eye among those who view its memory-soaked rooms.

The Wagah Border Ceremony

An hour and forty minutes from Hamira is the most famous border crossing in South Asia — the little village of Wagah, which lies between India and Pakistan. Every evening, at sunset, Indian Border Security Force soldiers in khaki and Pakistani Sutlej Rangers dressed in black perform a solemn Beating the Retreat ceremony with each other. The gates between the nations are closed and their flags lowered. A thousand tourists view the 45-minute proceedings everyday, and no ringing phones disturb the sanctity of the moment, because there is no mobile signal in Wagah. The stylized ceremony begins at 4 pm, so it’s advisable to get to your places and hour before.

Shopping & Eating

Amritsar is famous for its Pakistani-style ‘juttis’, decorated leather slip-on shoes. The best spot to buy these is Hallgate circle, near Hall Bazaar. For the foodie, the city is a veritable paradise. From chhole kulche to lassi and kulfi, from delicious aam papad to fish tikkas and mutton curry, restaurants and roadside carts alike serve amazing fare to hungry tourists. Some of the best eateries are holes-in-the-wall, and many don’t even have names. The most legendary are Kesar Da Dhaba for vegetarian fare, Beera for meat lovers and Kanha for aloo puri but don’t expect healthy or fat-free versions here.

Radha Soami Satsang

With a following numbering in millions, this spiritual organization has its headquarters mere minutes from Hamira. Regular gatherings take place to sing devotional songs and listen to discourses by gurus of the sect, which is not affiliated to any religion. The philosophy of the sect is based on meditation and spiritual guidance by the teacher, rather than rigid religious rituals. The sect was established in India in 1891 and gradually spread its presence worldwide. Today, it holds meetings in more than 90 countries. If you’d like to visit the ashram, we’ll help with the logistics.

Image Credit: RSSB