Although Diwali is observed across India, the Hindu festival of lights is arguably at its most mesmerizing against the backdrop of the Golden Temple, Amritsarâ€™s architectural centerpiece and the holiest pilgrimage site in Sikhism. A Punjabi adage has it that â€śhome-cooked food and Amritsarâ€™s Diwali have no parallels,â€ť and itâ€™s no accident that the latter coincides with the Sikh festival Bandiâ€¨ Chhor Divas, which this year falls on October 30.â€¨ After sunset, tens of thousands of revelers will stream into the templeâ€™s vast marbled complexâ€”by then festooned with a multitude of shimmering lightsâ€”to watch a blaze of fireworks over the gilded shrine and its surrounding spring-fed pool, from which the city takes its name. â€”James Louie
Where to Stay
Housed in a 250-year-old mansion, the 19 rooms and suites at Ranjitâ€™s Svaasa (doubles from US$87) recall a bygone era when the property served as a guesthouse for foreign dignitaries.
Be Sure to Try
Amritsarâ€™s dhabas (roadside eateries) are a must-do for the dedicated foodie; start with vegetarian-only Brotherâ€™s Dhaba for some of the cityâ€™s best kulcha flatbread.
Dedicated to the founder of the Sikh empire, the Maharaja Ranjit Singh MuseumÂ occupies the rulerâ€™s summer palace in the Ram Bagh gardens.
This article originally appeared in theÂ October/NovemberÂ print issue of DestinAsian magazine (â€śPassage to Punjabâ€ť).