Amritsar is underrated

The Sikh Golden Temple is for me India’s best sight, far more appealing than the Taj Mahal.  Would you rather see a mausoleum or a living, breathing site full of human joy?  The buildings are remarkably well done and most beautiful at dusk.  The site is clean and largely maintained by volunteers, a triumph of Sikh civil society.  More people should come here!

The surrounding shops in the pedestrian zone are appealing, and the primary touristy element is directed at Sikh and Hindu pilgrims, not to Westerners.

The food is first-rate, even by Indian standards.  Lentils, spinach, mustard leaves, and kulcha soaked with ghee are some of the local specialties.  You can eat butter chicken as it was intended, or fish fry.  The lassis and raitas are almost as good as those in neighboring Pakistan.  Kesar da Dhaba would be my top pick for a restaurant.

And you can stay in a five-star hotel for about $100 a night, excellent swimming pool and restaurant to boot.


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