Crossing the Wagah border between India and Pakistan

Updated in 2020: a quick guide on crossing the Wagah border between India and Pakistan between Amritsar and Lahore. Includes everything you need to know about this well known—but little-used—border crossing.

March 2020 update: Due to the ongoing health crisis in much of the world, the Attari – Wagah border crossing is currently closed for foreigners. It is unclear how long this will be the case, but I will update this guide with new information once it becomes available.

 

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Famous for its daily Wagah border ceremony, known for its border tensions, the Wagah border sees little actual traffic. Probably because most people are still wondering if it’s possible to cross overland between India and Pakistan!

Good news: it totally is. If you’re armed with a visa (and nothing else), the Wagah border crossing is the most convenient way of traveling overland between India and Pakistan. Read on for a guide to crossing the border between India and Pakistan, last updated in 2020.

Note that the name of this border on the Indian side is called Attari. However, most people know the Attari border crossing simply as Wagah. I will use the term Wagah to describe this border, as it is the same as the Attari border crossing.

A guide to crossing overland at the Wagah border between Amritsar and Lahore

Note: This article focuses on foreign travelers. Though the process seemed to be the same for a group of Indian women crossing at the same time, other Indians or Pakistanis might have a different—and more thorough—experience. If you’re Indian or Pakistani, you can only use this border if your visa specifies you’re crossing by foot.

I’ve crossed this border multiple times, going from both Lahore to Amritsar and from Amritsar to Lahore. Despite tensions between India and Pakistan, and the sometimes intense security you’ll encounter in Pakistan, the actual border crossing is very easy and straightforward. Here’s how to do it.

Headed to Pakistan? Don’t miss this practical guide with things to know before you go to Pakistan.

Crossing overland at the Wagah border between India and Pakistan - Public bus to Atari - Lost With Purpose travel blog

How to get to the Wagah border from Amritsar, India

Taxi to the Wagah border

You can hire a taxi to bring you to the Wagah border crossing station for around 800 INR. They will not be able to bring you further than that point.

Bus to the Wagah border

Public buses run from Amritsar to a point close to the Wagah border. A rickshaw to the Amritsar bus stand should cost 70 – 100 INR from the Golden Temple area. Vicky, Jugaadus Hostel’s dedicated rickshaw driver, charges 100 INR for a ride from the hostel. It takes around 10 minutes to reach the bus stand from either of these places.

Once at the bus stand, there are half-hourly buses from Amritsar bus stand to Atari, the nearest town to the Wagah border. These buses leave from dock 23, and a hawker will direct you to the right bus. A ticket is 35 INR per person, and the journey takes roughly one hour.

The bus also stops at Amritsar Railway Station. It stops just outside the exit, near the stairs for the footbridge. The hawker will make it clear he’s going to Wagah Border; if you’re coming to Amritsar by train, keep your ears open.

I suggest leaving Amritsar by 14:00 at the latest. Officials stop letting people cross around 15:30, sometimes earlier in winter as the border closing ceremony times are dictated by sunset.

Crossing overland at the Wagah border between India and Pakistan - The bus stand to Attari and the Wagah border - Lost With Purpose travel blog

The bus will drop you off roughly 3 kilometers from the Wagah border. There will be plenty of cycle rickshaws around to pedal you to the actual Wagah Border crossing. They charge 20-30 INR per person.

If you’re heading from Lahore to Amritsar you can go from the Wagah border to Amritsar using the same bus. However, you might have to pay a bit more for the cycle rickshaw to bring you to the bus stop. Expect 40-50 INR instead.

 

Crossing overland at the Wagah border between India and Pakistan - Cycle rickshaw to the border - Lost With Purpose travel blog

A cycle rickshaw from Attari to the Wagah border

The easiest way to get to the Wagah border from Lahore

Getting to the Wagah border to cross from Lahore to Amritsar is a bit less straightforward. There are buses, but I don’t know from where they go or how often they go. If anyone reading this has some information, please let me know.

The easiest way to get from Lahore to the Wagah border is by rickshaw. Uber and Careem used to drop people at the border, but they are now prohibited from doing so. However, their rickshaws seem to be able to avoid this issue—give it a go!

A rickshaw to the Wagah border from Lahore should cost around 500-700 PKR.

Is there a train between India and Pakistan?

The train between the two countries is but the stuff of legends. Many travelers have sought out a way to cross by train, but trains are not running at this time. The only time when trains run between the two countries is during major religious pilgrimages. Don’t expect to get on those—security will be tight, and they will not allow non-pilgrims to ride.

Crossing overland at the Wagah border between India and Pakistan

The below section is written as if coming from Amritsar to Lahore. If you’re crossing the border from Pakistan to India, the process is more or less the same, just in reverse.

Crossing the Wagah border on the Indian side (Attari)

Once you enter the border crossing compound, your passport will be checked and your details noted down. After this, you’ll be directed to the visitor center. Here you will be patted down (lazily) before heading to the immigration booth. At the immigration booth, your passport will be checked and stamped, and you’ll have to fill in an immigration card with basic questions.

After this your bags will be scanned, immigration cards checked, and you’ll be put on a two-minute (and delightfully air-conditioned) bus to the border. The whole process took roughly 20 minutes, but it can take longer if there are more people. There were only four others when we crossed. Note that you’re technically not allowed to take Indian rupees out of India, but they hardly ever ask about this.

Crossing overland at the Wagah border between India and Pakistan - Bus at the Indian border - Lost With Purpose travel blog

Sweeeeet AC

When you get out of the bus, hand your immigration card to an officer, and then you can proceed to the actual border crossing. Here your passport will be checked two more times, once on the Indian side and once on the Pakistani side.

Crossing the Wagah border on the Pakistan side (Wagah)

Note: If crossing from Lahore to Amritsar,  you’ll have to go through several security checkpoints on the Pakistan side before reaching the border area.

After walking through the border gate to the Pakistan side, you’ll be directed to the immigration office where you have to fill in an arrival card. They will want to know the exact address and phone number of the place or person you’ll be staying with, but as long as you write down something that makes sense, they won’t actually check or bother you much about it.

They’ll also ask you where else in Pakistan you’ll be visiting. Only give generic answers such as Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, and Rawalpindi, and say you’ll either fly out or cross back over the Wagah border. Avoid mention of crossing overland into Iran or China if this is your plan.

The whole process took about 10 minutes in total. My bags weren’t searched, and I could proceed to walk into Pakistan.

Getting from the Pakistan side of the Wagah border to Lahore

Once you leave the immigration office, there’s a little sitting area with shade and some porters. Here you can change some money, and wait for a toy train (yes, really) to bring you to the parking lot. From the parking lot, you can take a taxi or rickshaw to Lahore. I was quoted 800 PKR (about $6) for a rickshaw ride, which means you can probably haggle the price down by a couple hundred.

It’s also possible to hitchhike back to Lahore or take a bus. If you want to do this, you’ll have to walk to the “town” about a kilometer beyond the border compound. However, it’s easiest to just take a rickshaw or taxi. If you stay to watch the Wagah border ceremony (more on that below) you can definitely hitch a ride back to Lahore from the Wagah border.

 

Report of crossing overland from Amritsar to Lahore at the Wagah border between India and Pakistan - The gate to the Wagah border area - Lost With Purpose travel blog

Entrance to the Wagah border area from the Pakistan side

Watching the Wagah border ceremony

Instead of hopping on a taxi or rickshaw, I recommend you stay for a bit and watch the utterly bizarre border ceremony. The ceremony starts around 18:00 (earlier in winter), but people start pouring in around 16:00.

Crossing from Amritsar to Lahore at the Wagah border between India and Pakistan

The ceremony is free to watch, but you can’t take your luggage. You can ask the kiosk at the parking lot if they will look after your bags, or ask at the immigration office if you can store them there. Alternatively, a (literally) cooler option is to cross the border earlier in the day, drop your bags in Lahore somewhere, and return to the border in the evening.

The added benefit of watching the ceremony is that it will be easy to hitch a ride or take a bus to Lahore afterward, saving you a chunk of money.

Where to stay in Amritsar and Lahore

Amritsar

  • Ultra budget – Golden Temple – Free dorms at the Golden Temple for foreigners. Basic, but perfect for budget travelers.
  • Budget – Jugaadus Hostel – A super laid back hostel with very friendly and helpful staff. One of the first hostels in India. Good value.
  • Mid-rangeGolden Tulip Amritsar – An orderly hotel with pool close to Amritsar railway station. Price includes breakfast.
  • LuxuryRanjitvilas – A beautiful building a bit outside of Amritsar, surrounded by quiet fields. A great way to experience Punjabi hospitality at its finest.

Lahore

  • Budget – Lahore Backpackers – The most popular backpacker hangout of Lahore (beware: Lahore Backpackers is not a tour operator, don’t get an LOI or a tour from Lahore Backpackers!).
  • Mid-range – Tourist Inn Hotel – Friendly staff and excellent food options in this mid-range hotel.
  • Luxury – Luxus Grand Hotel – One of the best value luxury hotels in Lahore, the hotel has a gym, pool, and friendly staff.

 

So there you have it, a complete guide on crossing overland at the Wagah border between Amritsar in India and Lahore in Pakistan. It’s easy and relaxed, and much less thorough than you would expect at such a sensitive border.

Planning your trip to Pakistan? Check out this massive guide with everything to do in Lahore!

Alex Reynolds

American by birth, British by passport, Filipina by appearance. Addicted to ice cream. Enjoys climbing trees, dislikes falling out. Has great fondness for goats which is usually not reciprocated.

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47 thoughts on “Crossing the Wagah border between India and Pakistan

    Akhand Bharat says:

    I think you are giving a false picture of Pakistan. Just last month Trump said that Pakistan is aiding the terror organizations that the US and NATO are fighting in Afghanistan. You are defending the very country whose government rolled out the red carpet for the world’s most wanted man. The US spent billions of taxpayer’s money to find the man who was living in a million dollar mansion just a couple of miles from Pakistan’s presidential palace. 2017 alone has seen DOZENS of terror attacks in Pakistan and the country has been known to harbour every major terror organizations in the world. It doesn’t matter how many women wear skinny jeans in Pakistan or how many people have gold plated iPhones the truth is Pakistan is responsible for the death of millions of non Muslims around the world. Please don’t get swayed by their fake hospitality because somewhere in their heart they are just looking to radicalize westerners and turn them into Muslims. Please beware of these people.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-23/pakistan-us-relationship-at-risk-philip-williams/8833534

    Alex says:

    We are not defending the actions of the government, military, nor terrorist organizations in Pakistan. Indeed, we try to stay out of such political discussions, aside from condemning acts of terror from any party.

    We are, however, defending the people of Pakistan. Surprising as it may seem, people are distinct from their governments. The decisions of some to harbor terrorists in Pakistan does not make all Pakistanis terrorists, just as President Trump’s idiotic methods of leading the US do not by default make me, an American, a useless idiot. Though one can argue that people are partially responsible for the acts of their governments in democratic societies, in practice, you cannot hold the masses accountable for the bad acts of a few. Besides, Pakistan is not a true democracy.

    It is a shame you interpret Pakistani hospitality as a means of radicalization. I suggest you withhold your judgement until you have a chance to engage with Pakistani civilians in person, rather than basing your world views on the limited scope of the Indian and international media.

    Taimoor says:

    Not surprised that an Indian comments negativity about Pakistan on a forum which is remotely not related to what you said.

    CC says:

    Love your blog! I appreciate hearing practical information about getting around and where to stay for those on a budget.

    Sebastiaan says:

    Thanks a lot. Glad to hear it’s useful!

    Shairah says:

    Hi, do u know what is the opening and closing time for Wagah Border if we are to enter from India side? what time is the earliest that we can cross the border?

    Sebastiaan says:

    The border is open from 10:00 till 16:00. After 16:00 it’s not possible to cross anymore, as they’re preparing for the ceremony. It’s advisable to reach the border at 15:00 the latest. The earliest you can cross is 10:00.

    Britannia Cars says:

    Great blog.I also experienced it in personal on Indian side of the border!!!

    Sebastiaan says:

    Thanks a lot. The Indian side seemed much bigger, so hope it was fun 🙂

    Natalia says:

    Sebastiaan and Alex, thank you for the guide!
    Sebastiaan, do you have a Social Network account where we can follow you?

    Frederick says:

    Hi Seb

    Great blog. Thanks for the very useful insights. Do not be distracted by political bias of some commenters. They do not deserve your comment.

    Rahul Kale says:

    Thanks for your useful insight and don’t worry or be distracted by idiots with right wing political ideology. I am originally from India who had the fortune of first experience of Pakistani hospitality when I went there several years ago. I am planning to cross wagah border next month with my family and your blog was extremely useful.

    Ayesha says:

    I’m an Indian and I have my fiancee in Pakistan, Karachi.and I really don’t have an idea of how to go Pakistan to meet my fiancee…it’s been an year I didn’t visit him for once till now…could anyone plz help me out…????????we r postponing our nikah (marriage dates every year) I request someone experienced to guide me so that I could go Pakistan…

    Syiera M. says:

    Hi, Sebastian

    I’m wondering is it possible now to cross the border since their status is at war? I mean will it be hard? Thank you.

    Sebastiaan says:

    Sorry for the late reply. The Wagah border is open and functioning as normal.

    Zul says:

    Hello Sebastian… I enjoy reading your post. I crossed Attari (India) into Wagah (Pakistan) last August and I didn’t meet any problem doing it. Also, on the return trip nothing happened to me. However, when I wanted to apply for an Indian visa last Feb, the application was stalled. I used a legal third party to do my visa. I was then called to the Indian High Commission for an interview. Apparently, the visa officer wasn’t happy that I visited Pakistan. I had a Pakistani visa in the passport. He asked why I went there, which cities I visited and the kind of places I frequented. After informing him that I was there as a tourist, he gave me a single entry visa to India for just one month. My previous India visa was more than one month and it was also for multiple entry. So, I’ve learned that if you have a Pakistani visa, your Indian visa may well be shortened and that you may be given a single entry one.. Does anyone here experience the same thing ?

    Sebastiaan says:

    It really depends on the embassy and the mood of the person in charge. I got a 5-year multiple entry business visa for India while having several Pakistan visas in my passport. In total, I had 5 Pakistan visas and 5 India visas in my previous passport and never had any trouble at either embassy or upon entering India or Pakistan. Which High Commission did you apply at?

    R.Santin says:

    hey great info but still hard to find a way to cross from europe to south east asia by car.
    a lot of dif information regarding the crossing afghanistan/pakistan/india
    can you enlighten me how to cross all by car as going through china is too expensive

    Aliuddin says:

    Yes, would very much like to know if you can cross in your own car into Pakistan from India.

    Visiit says:

    Now a days this is highly impossible . I think you had a adventurous experience.

    Sebastiaan says:

    Wagah border is still open and operating as normal. People cross it daily.

    Bob Armstrong says:

    Is there any cost (besides the visa) to the border crossing procedures?

    Sim says:

    Hi Sebs,
    Can you please guide about the luggage limit per person (adult and kid both )
    Also what is allowed to take or what items are not permitted to take ???
    Is it possible to go via Attari-wagah border to Pakistan these days? I am not sure about it and unable to confirm it from anywhere??

    Nicolas says:

    Hello Sebastiaan and thanks for the article. I am a Belgian travelling by bicycle and would like to cross after having cycled Rajasthan and Gujarat. Do you know if there are other borders open to foreigners more south?

    Sebastiaan says:

    The Wagah border is the only land border between India and Pakistan open to tourists.

    Maria Ishida says:

    Hey Seb,
    Great article.. Very informative. I want to ask, is there any luggage weight restriction? And what are the timings to cross the border? I was planning to leave Amritsar around 10am via taxi and go straight to Wagah Border before 12.

    Sebastiaan says:

    Glad it was useful. There are no luggage restrictions and the border operates until around 4. If you’re there at 12 everything should be fine.

    Rizal says:

    Good information. Regards from Malaysia.

    Oleg says:

    Hi! I have an idea to go through Iran and Pakistan to India. Do you know anything about getting an Indian visa in Pakistan? I’ve read everything on the embassy’s site in Islamabad, but personal experience is much more informative.
    Second thing I’d like to ask – is this border still active? Last month there was a lot of problems between Indian and Pakistan.

    Sebastiaan says:

    It’s possible to get an Indian visa in Pakistan, but it’s a bit of a pain. Easier to get a visa before going to Pakistan. And yes, the border is open and functions normally.

    Christina says:

    Hi Seb,
    Can u arrange the acomodation and itinerary for package tour to the famous place in pakistan for maybe 7days ? Or can u give me ur contac number ?

    Sebastiaan says:

    Contact Aneeqa at The Mad Hatters Pakistan, she should be able to help

    Joeri says:

    Do you know about the taftan zehadan border once you are in Pakistan? How are things in Baluchistan at the moment? Travelers still going through?

    Aigor says:

    It sounds strange not mentioning leaving Pakistan to China at Pakistani immigration-they seems i good relationships and not any troubles happen that way.When I applied for my Pakistani evisa I mentioned that point of exit and got the visa without any questions or interview,so it is strange advice.
    Such advises I read about getting Chinese visa of not mentioning Xingjiang but I did and got a visa with no problem at all.More over,having Chinese visa in passport it would a bit suspicious to say that I’m not planning to exit that way.

    haseeb says:

    dear sir. plz guide me i have got indian visa and want to visit delhi but dont know is wagah/attari border open or not.. can i go by foot way they will let me go? i heard by somone they are not letting cross the border by indian side. is it true

    Mehavish says:

    Can we cross the border on Sundays?

    Intiaz says:

    Hi, i have a e visa for india and alway i have tourist visa for pakistan. Can i cross the wagah border using indian tourist evisa or do i have to exist india via airport

    Ana says:

    Thank you! It was helpful.
    Are there any travel agents who can help you with your luggage from atri to other side while carrying by walk visa?

    Sebastiaan says:

    Yes there are porters there that can help you with your luggage for a fee

    SAKR says:

    Great article! Very informative and well explained.
    Is the border open all 7 days? or just week days?
    I am an OCI card holder (overseas citizen of india) with US passport and have a 5 year multiple visa to enter Pakistan any number of times. My visa does not specify by foot specifically. Can I enter through wagah border?

    Sebastiaan says:

    Hiya. Yeah the border is open 7 days a week. I assume your Pakistan visa is in your US passport? If that’s the case, I think you can cross the Wagah border.

    Mizan says:

    Hi, Thank you for a very good article.
    I have a question about visa. I am a bangladeshi. I have Indian tourist visa. If I can arrange a Pakistani tourist visa can I go pakistan through Wagah border by foot? Where from you take pakistani visa? If we bangladeshi people want to visit nepal / Bhutan through India then we have to take Indian transit visa not tourist visa. Please help me about that. I want to travel in India and then want to go pakistan by foot and want to come back bangladesh through India.

    Soetkin says:

    Hi, thank you!!
    Do you know if it is possible to get a Pakistanian E visa that you can use at this boarder? Or do we have to apply from India?

    T says:

    Quite a well-written post! I have an Indian sticker visa, but it does not specify the Wagah/Attari port in it. Any idea how I can add that port to my visa while I’m inside India?

    Sebastiaan says:

    Unless you’re Indian, the visa doesn’t need to specify port of entry

    Simmy Saini says:

    Hi Sebastiaan….. I am an Indian origin Australian Citizen. Planning to visit Pakistan follwed by Indian entry. I have Indian e-visa. Will I be able to exit from Attari border to Amritsar? Is there any lagguage weight limitations? Looking forward to hear from you. TIA

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