Amritsar occupied an unrivalled position in the
business and commercial scene of undivided Punjab.
Situated on important trade routes, its trade
extends to Kabul, Kashmir and Tibet, even today.
Although, the Partition left it a border town and
did away with much of its erstwhile importance as a
The city was founded by Guru Ramdas Sahib, the
fourth Guru of the Sikhs, in the late 16th century,
who also built a magnificent temple to serve as a
central place of pilgrimage for the Sikhs. The
design of the shrine included the construction of a
tank round the proposed temple. The site lay in
picturesque surroundings where the congregations met
for prayer and contributed voluntary labour to build
the tank under the personal guidance of the Guru.
Later, the place grew to be a sprawling town.
It was the fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Sahib, who
developed the shrine and the town on a larger scale.
He built a beautiful temple, in the middle of the
sacred tank, which is better known as the Golden
Temple today. Hazrat Sheikh Mian Mir, a Muslim
saint, who was a great friend and admirer of the
guru, laid the foundation stone of this temple. By
this time guru Arjan Dev finished compiling the Sikh
scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, which was placed
in the temple with great reverence. Devotional hymns
from the holy book are recited daily and thousands
of people come here for spiritual solace.
Places to visit:
Golden Temple : The Golden Temple is, by
far, the biggest attraction of Amritsar. The Sikhs
call it Hari Mandir (the temple of the Lord) or
Darbar Sahib(the court divine). The Temple,
surrounded by the sacred tank, presents a lovely
sight when its glimmering reflection is caught by
the ripples dancing around it. At night the Temple
and the causeway leading up to it are brightly lit.
The temple is an imposing three-storey structure,
the top being a canopied gilded dome surrounded by
golden turrets. The inside of the Temple contains
the filigree and enamel work in gold, which is a
rare specimen of its kind.
On special occasions such as the birthday
anniversaries of the Gurus and on Diwali night, the
Golden Temple is attractively illuminated and
presents afeast of colour and light. Huge crowds
assemble there to witness these illuminations. Among
the buildings near the Golden Temple, the Akal Takht
or the Immortal Throne and the tower of Baba Atal
are of special interest to a visitor.
Bagh is located about a quarter of a mile from the
Golden Temple. It is the Memorial which commemorates
the sacrifices of hundreds of men, women and
children who were victims of ruthless firing of the
British forces. The incident took place on April 13,
1919, when thousands of people had gathered in
Jallianwala Bagh to voice their feelings against the
repressive policies of the British Government.
General Dyer tried to silence the gathered crowd
with volleys of bullets which, according to official
estimates, took a toll of 397 lives and wounded
another 1,200 persons.
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre accentuated political
awakening in India and brought Mahatma Gandhi to the
forefront of Indian political life. The bullet marks
can be seen to this day on the boundary walls of the
garden. Jallianwala Bagh has been turned into a
spacious and well-laid park where people from all
parts of the country come to visit.
The historic Rambagh Garden outside the City is a
big attraction in the evenings when people throng
its green parks to relax and breathe fresh air. This
garden is laid out in the pattern of Shalimar Bagh
at Lahore. Several clubs operate in the Garden which
also houses the well-known summer Palace of Maharaja
A partial replica of the Golden Temple, the Durgiana
temple is situated outside the Lohgarh Gate. It is
dedicated to the Goddess Durga and is frequented by
Wagah Border : The final frontier,
Wagah about 28 kms. from Amritsar is the only border
crossing between India and Pakistan. Its an
interesting experience especially at sunset when the
'Retreat' ceremony takes place with the BSF on the
Indian Side of the Border. The changing of the
guards and the ceremonial lowering of the flags
ceremony is carried out with great pomp.
24 Kms south of Amritsar. Founded by the 5th Prophet
Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji the impressive Gurudwara with
gold plated dome has a holy pool. The guru used to
run a leper's home here.
Within easy reach of Tarn Taran was the centre of
Sikh religion during the time of the third Prophet,
Guru Amar Das ji. The deep well (bauli) in the
Gurudwara has 84 steps. Whoever takes a bath here
and recites Japji Sahib (divine composition of the
first Prophet of the Sikhs, Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji )
at each step, and repeats the recitation followed by
bath in the Holy Well 84 times, attains moksh,
because he lives out 84,000 cycles of birth
representing each specie created by God.
Samadhi of Guru Angad Dev Ji
About 30 km south east from Amritsar, and within
easy reach from Goindwal Sahib is a Samadhi of the
second Guru. It was built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh
in 1815 A.D.
52 Kms from Amritsar. Commemorates the seat of Sikh
religion during the time of the second Prophet, Guru
Angad Dev Ji.
45 Kms from Amritsar. The 9th Prophet Guru Teg
Bahadur had revealed himself to Makhan Shah Lubana,
a Sikh devotee here. A fair is held here on the
occasion of Rakhsha Bandhan.
Dera Baba Nanak
(35 Kms west of Gurdaspur) Guru Nanak Dev Ji spent
last 12 years of his life here. Clothes he wore at
Mecca are preserved here. A fair called the Maghi
fair is held here every January.
Gurudwara Ber Sahib, Sultanpur Lodi
This is the Gurudwara built at the place where the
first prophet Guru Nanak got enlightenment and
created Sukhmani Sahib while taking bath in the
river Kali Bein.From Sultanpur lodi only the Guru
Nanak started his famous journeys. Sultanpur Lodi in
Kapurthala district is easily accessible from
Jalandhar and Amritsar via Taran Taran and Goindwal
Sahib. One can plan his visit from both Amritsar(
around 60 km away) and Jalandhar(36 km away).