Planning a Trip
The best place to get information about the Golden Temple and the Sikh faith is at the temple's own Information Office (tel. 0183/255-3954; Apr-June daily 7:30am-7:30pm, July-Mar daily 8am-7pm). The Punjab Government Tourist Office (tel. 0183/240-2452; http://punjabgovt.nic.in; Mon-Sat 9am-5pm) is at the Palace Hotel, opposite the railway station.
Getting There & Away
You can fly from Delhi (or Chandigarh) with Indian Airlines (39A Court Rd.; tel. 0183/221-3392, -3393, or -3141; Mon-Sat 10am-5pm) or Jet Airways (Main Market, Ranjit's Ave. Shopping Complex; tel. 0183/250-8003), but the best way to get here is on the Shatabdi Express or the overnight Golden Temple Mail from Delhi -- it is far more economical and quite a comfortable option. Taxis, auto-rickshaws, and bicycle-rickshaws are always available at the station to take you to your hotel. You'll want to avoid spending time tracking down tickets, so either book your return or onward journey in advance, or have your hotel handle your reservation. If you're stuck, there is a computerized train reservation facility located at the Golden Temple complex.
Note that both Mrs. Bhandari's Guesthouse as well as Ranjit's Svaasa will make all your transport and sightseeing arrangements for you. You can hire the services of a guide for Rs 650 ($16/£8) half-day, or Rs 1,100 ($27/£14) full day; car hire will be in addition to this. Cycle-rickshaws are popular, but if you're in a hurry, don't want to deal with the glaring sun, or need to cover more than a few kilometers, opt for a car or auto-rickshaw instead.
Ambulance -- Dial tel. 0183/250-6053 for Kakkar Hospital's 24-hour ambulance service.
ATMs, Banks & Currency Exchange -- Several banks around The Golden Temple area provide necessary services. Twenty-four-hour ATMs can be found at HDFC Bank, Mall Road; Bank of Punjab, Court Road; ICICI Bank, Katcheri Chowk, and Grindlays Bank on Mall Road for Foreign Exchange.
Hospital -- Apollo Hospital (tel. 0183/254-5599) at Bhushapura near Sultanwind Gate is one of the city's best. Excellent care is also available at Kakkar Hospital on Green Avenue (tel. 0183/250-6053 or -6015).
Post Office -- The General Post Office (tel. 0183/256-6032; Mon-Sat 9am-5pm) is located on Court Road. There's also a post office with the same hours at The Golden Temple.