Sample Activities for Your Amritsar Itinerary
We will work with you to create your perfect Amritsar yoga itinerary, based on your group’s time and interests. You and your guests can see and do as much or as little as fits with your vision. We can create custom itineraries for as few as 5 days or as many as 28 (in the case of a Teacher Training or an intensive workshop).
We can also extend your retreat into another city, if you wish. Rishikesh & Amritsar make a very nice pairing. Talk to us and we can create an amazing itinerary!
Some of the activities available for your group include:
Seva, or Volunteerism
You and your guests can volunteer your service at The Golden Temple. Almost the entirety of the services offered at the Golden Temple are supported by volunteers, not the least of which is the langar (community kitchen). Click here for a great article about the langar. The langar feeds 100,000 people a day, and upwards of 150,000 on holidays; each day the kitchen goes through 12,000 kg of flour (for 200,000 roti!), 1,500 kg of rice, 13,000 kg of lentils, and 2,000 kg of vegetables, not to mention 500 kg of ghee!
Your volunteerism may include handing out plates and utensils to pilgrims, or slicing and dicing veggies for the meals, or even washing dishes. No matter what your hands perform, your spirit will benefit. It is said that service in the langar renders to the biggest benefit!
“Seva or service is infinite giving. Service is not finite giving. If you do some service and say, ‘I served,’ then you have totally missed the point. Service is when you feel honored by doing something. You don’t feel honor in the company of many. You feel it within your own self. That is service. Seva is when your inside is honored, when you honor yourself. When I am honored in my consciousness for doing something, it is seva. When I stand before my consciousness, I feel good, and I say, ‘Well, I am so blessed that I could do it.’ That’s seva.”
Tour of Harmandir Sahib (the Golden Temple)
Take a tour with an official Golden Temple visitor center guide hwo will give you the lay of the land and a bit of history. Although you’ll spend countless hours there on your own, exploring, relaxing, and volunteering, it’s nice to get an overview from a local expert!
Have a meal at the Golden Temple
You’ll be in good company, as over 100,000 people are fed there on a daily basis, free of charge. The kitchen runs on donations, volunteer time, and lots of love. Everyone sits on the floor together to share a meal, a very intentional move that negates any difference in class or status. It is said that even the Mughal Emperor Akbar was said to have broken bread with ordinary folks when he visited to see the third Guru.
The Golden Temple is worth hours of exploring, but don’t forget the surrounding neighborhoods! You’ll be taken on a heritage tour of the greater Golden Temple area, including picturesque alleys and streets with some beautiful architecture.
Punjabi Street Food Tour
The state of Punjab is considered the Bread Basket of India and a well-known culinary hub. These tours take you throughout the old city and allow a delicious overview into Punjabi cuisine.
If your group has the time and desire, we can also arrange…
Wagah Border Ceremony
Every day since 1959, the border at Wagah between India and Pakistan has closed for the night with a showy military performance. About a 45 minute ride from the hotel in Amritsar, this ceremony can at times feel more like a pep rally than an official international event. An enthusiastic emcee leads the Indian crowds in patriotic cheers and songs, even there’s even dancing in the streets before the event starts in earnest.
Durgiana or Lakshmi Narayan Temple Visit
This Hindu temple devoted to the goddess Durga is reported to have first been built in the 16th century, but was rebuilt in 1921 in the style of the Golden Temple. The goddess Laksmi (goddess of wealth) and Vishnu (the protector of the world) are also venerated here.
Mata Lal Devi Temple Visit
Mata Temple is a labyrinthine like Hindu cave temple devoted to the female saint Lal Devi. Traditionally, women wishing to become pregnant come here to pray. The roundabout path to the main temple passes through low tunnels, caves full of ankle-deep water, inclined walkways, and mirrored hallways that make the experience all the more memorable!
Goindval Visit or the Goindval 84 Steps
In Goindwal, you will experience a deep and transformative experience by reading the Japji 84 times. It is said that those who recite the Japji once at every step of the stairway down to the well under the Gurdwara will be liberated from the 8,400,000 (84 lakhs) cycles of life of this world and therefore will be unified with God (mukhti). Goindval is also where Guru Amar Das (3rd Guru) met Guru Ram Das (4th Guru). Guru Arjan Dev (5th) was also born there on 15 April,1563. Goindval is often called the axis of Sikhism as it was the first center of Sikhism. Guru Amar Das began digging the Baoli (steps leading down to the well) in 1552. Doing any number of steps in the Baoli of Goindval is an intense meditation and is considered to be one of the most popular among activities for Kundalini practitioners as well as Punjabi Sikhs. Please note that it takes most individuals that can read the Japji 12 to 15 minutes to complete one step, making the entire 84 steps a ~17 to 21 hour journey. Here is the recounting of one woman’s journey.
Rural Village Experience
This tour can give guests a glimpse into traditional Punjabi culture. Guests can learn how to milk a cow the Indian way and ride on a traditional bull cart.
Miri Piri Academy Visit
The Miri Piri Academy was founded in 1997 by Yogi Bhajan. This private boarding school emphasizes Sikh values, Kundalini Yoga and academic excellence.
Khalsa College Visit
Khalsa College was established by the leaders of the Singh Sabha Movement in 1892, inspired by the lofty ideals of the great Gurus. Its stunning architectural features are a mix of British, Mughal and Sikh design.