Amritsar is a holiest city of Sikhs in Punjab state, north India. It is just away from Pakistan border about 25 km east. Historically it is also known as Ramdaspur and colloquially as Ambarsar. Amritsar is the largest city in Punjab and is a major commercial, cultural, and transportation hub. It is also the center of Sikhism and the site of the Sikhs’ principal place of worship—the Harmandir Sahib which is known as Golden Temple. The Golden Temple is in the heart of the old walled city; this serene Sikh shrine provides a place for reflection and inspiration.
Ancient History of Amritsar:
It is believed that Maharishi Valmiki (महर्षि वाल्मीकि) who wrote the Ramayana was lived there and he had a Ashram also. Luv and Kush sons of Lord Ram and Sita also born there. Every day a lot of devotees are visiting that place called Ramtirth (रामतीर्थ) Temple. It is also believed that Luv and Kush founded two cities near Amritsar; Lahore and Kasur. It is also believed that during Ashvamedha Yagya (अश्वमेध यज्ञ) by Lord Rama, Lava and Kush captured the ritual horse and tied to a tree near to today’s Durgiana Temple.
Amritsar was founded as recently as the 16th century. It was founded in 1577 by Ram Das, fourth Guru of the Sikhs. According to the Sikh historical records, the site was chosen by Guru Amar Das and called Guru Da Chakk. Guru Amar Das asked Ram Das to find land to start a new town with a man-made pool as its central point. Ram Das ordered the excavation of the sacred pool and his new official Guru center and home next to it. The pool called the Amrita Saras (“Pool of Nectar”) from which the city’s name is derived. A temple was also erected on an island in the pool’s center by Arjan, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs. The town expanded during the time of Arjan financed by donations and constructed by voluntary work. The pool area grew into a temple complex after his son built the gurdwara Harmandir Sahib, and installed the scripture of Sikhism inside the new temple in 1604. During the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1801–39), the upper part of the temple was decorated with a gold-foil-covered copper dome, and since then the building has been popularly known as the Golden Temple.
Geography of Amritsar:
According to the 2011 census, the population of Amritsar was 1,132,761. It is one of the ten Municipal Corporations in the Punjab state. The city is situated 217 km (135 mi) northwest of state capital Chandigarh and 455 km northwest of New Delhi, the national capital. It is near Pakistan, with the Wagah Border being only 28 km away.
Visiting Place of Amritsar:
The Golden Temple: The Golden Temple is the holiest shrine of Sikhs. Golden Temple, also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib Gurudwara. It is one of India’s most spectacular and serene sights. It was built in late 16th century by Guru Arjan Dev, and a copy of the Sikh scripture was placed inside the Gurudwara in 1604. The temple sits on a rectangular platform, surrounded by a pool of water called the Amrit Sarovar, from which the city received its name. Its sanctum walls were covered in marble and the dome was decorated with gold foil by Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1801-39). Sri Guru Granth Sahib (scripture of the Sikhs), after its compilation, was first installed at Sri Harmandir Sahib on August 16, 1604 A.D. A devout Sikh, Baba Budha Ji was appointed its first Head Priest. More than 100,000 people visit this monument every month.
Jallianwalla Bagh: Jallianwala Bagh is yet another landmark in Amritsar which is infamous for the tragic massacre. It is very near to the Golden Temple. On April 13,1919, British Colonial General Reginald Dyer fired on a peaceful crowd of 2000 people include women and children. The people was unarmed Indian protesters. Thousands of people were killed and lot of people were injured. It is marked by a Martyrs’ Memorial built in the shape of an eternal flame. Some of the bullet holes are still visible on the walls and as well as in the well, in which hundreds of people jumped and killed themselves in order to be saved from the bullets. A section of the wall, pock-marked by bullets, as also the well, has been preserved as a reminder of the tragic event. The area today has been converted into a neatly cut, well-kept park, which houses a large memorial for the massacre.
Wagah Border: Wagah is the border on the grand trunk road that marks the dividing line between Pakistan and India, known to same as the ‘Berlin Wall of Asia’. It is also known as Attari Border. It is around 30 km from Amritsar. Every evening, a ceremony known as Beating Retreat is held which is a show of strength of both the India and Pakistan soldiers. The ceremony ends with the folding of the flags and closing of the gates. This retreat ceremony also called ‘lowering of the flags’. It has been held since 1959.
You can visit Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum, Central Sikh Museum, Ram Tirath Temple, Akal Takht, and Gobindgarh Fort also. Amritsar city lies on the main highway from Delhi to Lahore, Pakistan and is a centre for the textile and chemical industries. The markets are very well designed and decorated. Taste of food is very delicious. I am sure, if you visit Amritsar, it will be memorable for you.