Golden AmritsarRoad trip to Golden temple, Wagah border, Dharamshala and McleodganjTotal No of days - 7Dated - Jan 2010
Behind the wheel & ContributorVinod Kumar...know more about me
Every year we plan a vacation during kids winter holidays and this year it was long pending to visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar. To make the trip more interesting we planned our week long vacation with 3 nights at Amritsar, 3 nights at Dharamshala & McLeodganj.
Route planned -
Delhi - Ambala - Ludhiana - Jalandhar - Amritsar
Amritsar - Batala - Pathankot - Nurpur - Gaggal - Dharamshala
Return - Via Kangra - Una - Anandpur sahib - Ambala - Delhi
Amritsar - Golden Temple, Wagah Border, Jallianwala bagh
Dharamshala - Billing - (One day )
Dharamshala - Mcleodgang (One day)
Day - 1
We started early morning 5.30 am. It was foggy and visibility was just around 100 meters. We took a break at McDonald after Khanna. Nice spot for a break. Ample parking space too. We crossed Ludhiana by 11.30 am. Crossed Jallandhar at 12.45 pm. Lots of eating outlets like McDonald, KFC , CCD on the highway itself. Reached Amritsar by 2.30 pm. Our stay was in Hotel Alstonia at Ranjit Avenue.
Climate - Chilly, foggy and windy. May be around 4 to 5 degrees.
Total Distance = 476 Kms Time = 9 Hrs. Stopage = 40 Minutes
Our Plan for the Day
Vist - Golden temple in the evening.
Dinner at Crystal restaurant.
Had a nice nap till 6pm, we booked the Mega Cab for our evening activities as I was not much familiar with roads and traffic was high. Reached the temple, shoes deposited at the shoe stand and then within minutes our feet were numb. A slight drizzle makes it even more colder, and we enter the gurudwara for darshan. Not much rush but still took a hour and half. No words for the feel of divinity and vibrance which fills you here...it is to be experienced.
We did a parikrama and planned a visit next day morning also for Hari Mandir Darshan. Inspite of the chill we spent around 2 hrs there and then headed to our second destination Crystal Restaurant for dinner which was on Cooper road. The ambience and crowd was nice, food was good. Bit expensive! Kids liked the Sizzling Brownie with ice cream. After a satisfying dinner were back to our hotel.
Sizzling Brownie with ice cream
Our next day's plan was to visit the temple again in the morning, then Jallianwala Bagh, Durgiana Temple, and then by noon head to Wagah Border at Attari.
Day - 2
As per plan, we headed to Golden Temple, reached by 8.30 am. Temple parking was full, parked the car in the market local parking area,which is about 700 meters away from temple. Visited Darbar Sahib, saw Sikh Museum, Did a parikrama, spent some time there. Kids liked the Amrit Sarovar and fishes in it.
It is around 300 meters from temple. On Sunday 13 April 1919, fifty British Indian Army soldiers commanded by Dyer began shooting at an unarmed gathering of men, women, and children without warning. More than 1,000 people were killed.
SRI DURGIANA TEMPLE
Dedicated to Goddess Durga, it is a 16th century temple. The temple was constructed by Guru Harsai Mal Kapoor on the pattern of the Sikh Golden Temple and it is located near the Lohgarh gate. It is sometimes called Silver temple for its carved silver doors.
RAM BAGH - WITH MAHARAJA RANJIT SINGH PANORAMA
Inside, there are three sections that take a person back in time through 200 years of Sikh History. The main attraction, however, is the life-like panorama of the various major wars, which comes alive through the 12 meters high and 100 meters long panoramic painting depicting six major battle expeditions of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It provides an insight of Punjab's history. [We could not vist inside as it was closed due to Grid Failure). There is an entry fee of Rs 10 per person.
Wagah Border or "Berlin wall of Asia". Every evening there is a Retreat Ceremony called 'lowering of the flags', which has been held since 1959. At that time there is an energetic parade by the Border Security Force (B.S.F) of India and the Pakistan Rangers soldiers. Entry starts by 4 pm. The ceremony starts at 4.30 pm lasts for 30 to 40 minutes. High voltage event with all shouting Vande Mataram , Bharat Mata ki Jai. Fantastic 30 minutes action. Is around 30 kms, take 40 minutes drive. Roads are good. The place gets crowded and queue is formed for entry, Separate queue for ladies and gents. Open mini stadium can easily accommodate 700 people.
Only cameras are allowed. No bags, eatables allowed inside.
Even ladies hand bags not allowed.
Should reach there by 3-3.15 as to park the vehicle properly if travelling in own vehicle. Sufficient parking space around, but erratic parking.
We started for Dharamshala by 10.30 am. It was still fogy. Roads were single lane narrow and has relatively high traffic. Towns we crossed were
Batala at 11.20 am
Dhariwal at 11.58 am
Gurdaspur at 12.15 pm
Pathankot at 1 pm
Chakki bridge at 1.30 pm
Nurpur at 1.50 pm
Kotla at 2.15 pm(Break for 30 minutes)
Shahpur at 3.10 pm
Gaggal at 3.30 pm
Dharamshala at 4.10 pm
Distance travelled 206 Kms. Time take 5 hrs , 40 minutes.
Our reservation was with Club Mahindra Kangra Valley at Yol Road, Dharamshala. Weather - Chilly, clear sky. Totally contrasting no fog at all. News - Snowed a day before. We checked in and planned our visit for next 3 days.
Place we listed to see around Dharamshala
Baijnath Shiv Temple, Shobha Singh Art Gallery, Palampur Tea Garden, Neugal Cafe, Gopalpur Zoo, Chamunda Temple, Norbulingka Institute, Tapovan Chinmaya Mission, Aganzhar Temple, and Gyuto Tantric Monastery.
Visit Billing - 80 kms from Dharamshala On return visit
Visit Baijnath Shiv Temple
Visit Palampur Tea Garden
Break at Neugal Cafe.
Started at 10am for Billing. Billing is considered one of the best gliding sites in the world. It is blessed by nature and is perfect as a launching pad, making it an ideal place for hang-gliding and paragliding. We trekked to the other side of the mountain, found snow. Spent around 2 hours on the top. Mr Hukum Chand told us the he had been living there for last 30 years. Lots of foreigners visit here for para-gliding. He has the contacts for arranging para-gliding. We headed back , Next spot Baijnath temple. Then via Palampur took a break at Neugal Cafe. Back to hotel by 5.30 pm.
The Baijnath temple has been continuously under worship ever since its construction in 1204 A.D. by two local merchants named Ahuka and Manyuka. Water of this temple has medicinal properties.
Local Trekking to Nearby Village
Visit Norbulingka Institute
Tapovan Chinmaya Mission
If time is left, then could consider other places too.
This institute teaches Thangka Painting - They depict a Buddhist deity, famous scene etc. Fabric Thangka - made of silk, some of them woven, some embroidery. Sculpture - made of wood , metal.
Chinmaya Tapovan, the ashram was founded by late Swami Chimayananda. While returning from Tapovan, we saw Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha, Dharmshala.
At Chinmaya Tapovan
Our last day of trip at Dhamshala.
Our plan - Mcleodganj
St. Johns Church
Dalai Lama Temple
Naddi View Point
Started for Mcleodganj by 9.30 am. The drive is very senic and entire area has army presence.First stop was at Church of St. John's in the wilderness. Very quite place surrounded with pine trees.
We drove straight to Dalai Lama Temple, Two parking avaliable, one at the beginning of market and the other one at temple. Temple parking is small can accommodate around 10 - 12 cars. It is advisable to park the car at begning of market as lane are very narrow , crowded. Also the road is one way. We got stuck at couple of places due to traffic and narrow lanes. The moment you are in Mcleodganj, you feel you are out of India, it's a mini Tibet. After visiting the Dalai Lama temple, we did some shopping. There is a lot to shop. One can easily spend 2-3 hours roaming in the market. Returned back to hotel by 5. Next day was our return journey, planned to have early dinner and do the packing.
Dal lake (closed due to work)
Views from Mcleodganj
The return journey. Climate was mildly foggy with 100 meters visibilty.
We started by 06.15 am
Kangra by 7 am
After Kangra ghats starts and road are bad
Amb by 8.50 am
Una by 9.30 am
Naya nangal 9.45 am
Roop Nagar by 11 am (Took a break)
Kharar 12.30 pm
Ambala 1 pm
Sonepat 3.30 pm
Home by 5 pm
Summary drive back to Delhi
Total distance travelled 548 kms. Time 11 hours approx.
Total trip distance 1550 kms.