Amritsar is the flagship city of Punjab, epicentre of Sikhism, home to the glittering golden temple, and all-in-all one of the most fascinating cities on the Subcontinent. The city is a mix of serene and chaotic: atmosphere inside and around the sprawling Golden Temple complex is always reverent, although with the sheer volume of pilgrims and priests at any one time it’s certainly never tranquil. The temple complex is surrounded by a tight network of bouncing bazaars, as vibrant and energetic as one is likely to find. In general Amritsar is a feast for all the senses, particularly the tastebuds: take the opportunity to revel in rich, hearty Punjabi treats such as stuffed kulcha, deep-fried Amritsari fish, myriad meats, and delicate sweets. Situated just a few miles from the border with Pakistan, the city (and Punjabi folk in general) has a reputation for fierce nationalism and can be used as a base to witness the intriguing, somewhat bizarre, border-closing ceremony at nearby Wagah.

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