Situated in the holy city of Amritsar, just eight kms from the Golden Temple and seven kms from the airport, Sadda Pind is a living Punjabi village museum spread across 12 acres of land. It brings you a chance to experience authentic culture, colours and flavours of Punjab’s traditional village or ‘pind’ in one place, a perfect setting for a weekend getaway or a short stay. By Steena Joy
A dream venture by JMD Heritage Lawns, Sadda Pind is an endeavour to redefine Punjabi culture and hospitality, connecting generations. The young can reconnect with their roots and understand the traditions and values of their fathers and forefathers. The elderly can remember their happier times. Foreign tourists can sample the true Indian rustic lifestyle.
As you enter your eyes are drawn to the biggest cot in Punjab with a wooden frame and coir. Sadda Pind offers 20 spacious and comfortable guest rooms. Each room has been designed with rustic motifs offering guests an experience of an old time traditional Punjabi village. Apart from Standard and Deluxe rooms, there are Junior Suites and Maharaja Suites. The Junior Suite is aesthetically designed, well ventilated and air-conditioned with attached bathroom, a living area and with balcony. Best suited for business travellers and tourists. The Maharaja Suite is adorned with exotic Maharaja furniture. Made in solid Sheesham (Rosewood) wood, Designed in traditional tones, this suite is a visual treat. Enjoy the hospitality of Village Nambardar and also learn how he manages his village and house together. Both these suites can be accessed by crossing Nambardar Ghar and through magnificent hand crafted doors.
As for F&B, at Sadda Pind, you can sample the traditional North Indian or authentic Punjabi cuisine at Chayee Ji Ka Vehra, the Dhaba. It also offers an a la carte menu as well as a traditional thali. Kadhi chawal, Amritsari naan, lassi, Makki Di Roti, Sarson da Saag, naan, rotis, rabri, kulfi are a few of the specialties. Guests can enjoy traditional folk dances like Bhangra and Gidda.
There is also the Gatka performance (traditional Sikh martial arts). Gatka is an ancient martial art that has been thoroughly tested and has existed for thousands of years in Punjab, India. It is considered physical as well as spiritual. Although it uses the sword as its primary weapon, many other weapons are available to the Gatka. Today, this art is especially present among Sikhs, who have been passing through the flamboyant technique from generation to generation, as their sixth guru, Guru Hargobind, wore two swords of “Miri” (cosmic, earthly) and “Piri” (spiritual, otherworldly).
Visit Phulkari House and learn how to make Phulkari. Phulkari which means “work of flowers” is a rural and auspicious tradition embroidered by Punjabi women.The embroidery on a Phulkari reveals a lot of ground cloth. A different variety of characters, forms and designs are scattered and embroidered on Phulkari. Phulkari is mentioned in the famous, Punjabi folklore of Heer Ranjha (a love story) by Warrier Shah. Also, this culture has been practiced since the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
At Sadda Pind guests can also learn how to spin the charkha; visit Nambardar House and learn how to grind flour using traditional hand grinder (Chakki); visit Weaver House to learn how to weave; visit Weapon House and buy some traditional swords for memory; visit the Wedding Hall to experience a traditional Punjabi wedding celebration; visit Sarpanch House and meet the village Head and he will brief about his village; visit Paranda House and learn how to make parandas; visit Musician House and listen to some classical folk music; visit Zamindar Haveli to see how the village landlord used to live. At Zamindar Haveli you can also join ladies in sangeet celebrations; visit village post office; learn how popcorns are made in an earthen oven; visit Hakim House and see how he prepares medicines (Ayurvedic Medicines); visit Potter House, Blacksmith House and Carpenter House to see the art and try your hands on it; have a Mehndi art and hair styling done; enjoy the art of Balance by Long man and Rope Dancer and a traditional puppet show and enjoy a performance by Punjabi Baazigars.
Inextricably linked with the history of Sikhism, Amritsar is amongst the most revered sites of the religion. It was founded as recently as the 16th century. Its name is a derivative of the Amrit Sarovar (pool of nectar) amidst which stands the Golden Temple, the most sacred of Sikh shrines. Accounts suggest that Guru Amardas purchased the land from Emperor Akbar and decided to build a tank at the site. Following his death, it was completed by Guru Ramdas and also came to be known as Chak Ramdas or Guru ka Chak. Some of the oldest markets in Amritsar, notably Guru ka Bazaar, date back to his time.
The construction of the Golden Temple was initiated by Guru Arjan Dev while Guru Hargobind, who accorded the religion a martial temper, built the Akal Takht in 1606. Amritsar has a rich history encompassing various mythical and historical narratives including the epic Ramayana. It is believed that the site called Ram Tirath was Maharish Valmiki’s ashram, where Sita reportedly gave birth to her twin sons, Luv and Kush. The Gobindgarh Fort and Ram Bagh were built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the founder of the Sikh Empire. While the Jallianwala Bagh continues to be the most evocative monument to India’s freedom struggle. The Khalsa College, established by visionary leaders at the beginning of the 20th century turned Amritsar into a hub of education. Also a centre of thriving industry since its inception, Amritsar is famed for its textiles, particularly shawls, and for its carpets. Amritsar has gained tremendous popularity for its gourmet traditions; especially the dhabas (roadside eatery) that churn out, amongst an inexhaustible list of delicacies, irresistible kulchas, chola-bhaturas, tandoori chicken and fried fish.
Wagah Attari border with Pakistan lies roughly 30kms from Amritsar at Attari on the Grand Trunk Road to Lahore and is one of the main access points overland to the neighbouring nation. A flag-lowering ceremony is held here daily at sunset by both sides. And along with the interactive patriotic fiesta that precedes it, the ceremony is a huge attraction for visitors. Another attraction in close proximity is the complex housing the samadh of Sham Singh Attari. A celebrated General of the Sikh Empire, he fought valiantly and is known for his last stand at the Battle of Sabraon.