Amritsar is a city in the northwestern part of India, renowned as a spiritual center of Sikhs. It is the largest city in Punjab and is probably the most well-known as the home to the holiest shrine of Sikhism, the spectacular Golden Temple. The name of the city (Amrit-Sar) is derived from the name of the pool around the Golden Temple which means "holy pool of nectar". The city is also famous for its religious destinations, cultural heritage, national integrity of India and India’s struggle for independence from the British rule in the early 20th century. Apart from these, Amritsar is also a must-visit street food destination, and home to plenty of museums, forts, and bustling bazaars and markets and is a major commercial, cultural and transportation center.
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Amritsar is the administrative headquarter of the Amritsar District in Punjab and has a total population of around 1,000,000. The city is placed 217 km northwest of the state capital Chandigarh and 455 km northwest of New Delhi which is the national capital. It is located 31.63⁰N 74.87⁰E, at an average elevation of 219 meters above the sea level. It is a major rail hub. Founded in 1969, Amritsar is home to Guru Nanak Dev University, a leading educational center of the Sikhs. Also, medical, dental, arts, and technical colleges are located at Amritsar. The famous Khalsa College also lies just outside the city.
Amritsar has an extreme type of climate with very hot summers and chilly winters. The city experiences semi-arid climate, which comprises of three seasons in a year - Summer(April to June) , Monsoon (July to September) and Winter(November to March). Summers are significantly hot while winters are cold and dry. The best time to visit the 'Golden City' is from October to March. Annual rainfall is about 681 mm (26.8 in).
Punjab is known for its richest culture in the world which includes the Punjabi songs, fullof melody and energy. The dance styles of Punjab comprise of bhangra, giddha, kikli and sammi. “Bhangra" is one of the most famous dance forms of Punjab. Other famous dance forms are Jhumar, Dhankara and Gatka. Punjabis love to dance and enjoy themselves to mark festivity, irrespective of their age or religion. Folk music is the soul of Punjabi culture. Folk music comprises of simple musical instruments like dholak and dhol drum.
The cities culture can be found in a glimpse in its various bazaars where you can find an array of products that represent the artistic talent of people. Amritsar is also known for its spicy and succulent array of dishes that include channabhatura, multi layered parathas, mutton tikka, barbecued chicken, seekh kabab and fried fish. Its cuisine also includes sweets like gur ka halwa, pinnis and balushahis. The traditional dress of the Punjabis comprises of the salwar-kameez for women and lehenga-kurta with a turban for men. Punjabis are known for their utmost interest in arts and crafts which includes decorative designs and handicrafts. "Phulkari" is recognized worldwide for its intricate work. Shawls in silk are hand-woven carefully using traditional motifs as designs. Other famous crafts of the region include lacquer work, wooden work, Calico painting, papermache and many more. Wooden furniture is crafted exclusively by artisans with exquisite craftsmanship.
Amritsar historically known as Ramdaspur, is a city in north-western part in India. It is home to the Golden Temple, the spiritual and cultural center for the Sikh religion. This renowned Sikh shrine attracts more visitors than the Taj Mahal with more than 100,000 visitors on weekdays and is the most popular tourist destination in the whole of India. The city also houses the Sikh temporal and political authority, Akal Takht, as well as the Sikh Parliament. It is one of the largest cities of Punjab. The city origin lies in the village of Tung, and was named after the lake founded by the fourth Sikh Guru Ram Das in 1574 on land bought by him for 700 rupees from the owners of the village of Tung. Earlier Guru Ram Das had begun building Santokhsar Sarovar, near the village of Sultanwind in 1564 which could not be completed before 1588. So in 1574, Guru Ram Das built his residence and moved to this place which was then known as Guru Da Chakk. This city was founded by Guru Ram Das in 1574 on land bought by him for 700 rupees from the owners of the village of Tung. The city was fragmented into distinct areas called Katras, which were residential units that provided a defence system against attacks on the city. On 13th April 1919, the city faced a tragic incident, The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, which involved killing of hundreds of civilians, ordered by British military officer Harry Dyer. This incident occurred on the sacred festival of Baisakhi where thousands of people had gathered to celebrate. The site has now been converted into a memorial. The partition of India in 1947 also had a major impact on Punjab since many people had to relocate from both the sides of the border due to the riots.
The city lies on the main Grand Trunk Road (GT Road) from Delhi to Amritsar connecting to Lahore in Pakistan. The G. T. Road, which is built by Sher Shah Suri, runs through the whole of the northern half of the Indian subcontinent, connecting Peshawar, Pakistan to Sonargaon and Bangladesh. This city is also connected to most other major cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta by an extensive network of rail system. The city also provides air connectivity to major Indian cities, as well as international cities such as Birmingham, Toronto, Dubai, Singapore, Tashkent, Ashgabat, London etc. from the Raja Sansi International Airport, recently renamed as Guru Ramdas International Airport. The airport is now being developed for increasing demand in future. The city is the administrative center for the Amritsar District. However, it did not become the industrial center of Punjab due to its proximity to the volatile Indo-Pakistan border. The city of Amritsar after going through a lot, still flourishes in many ways and plays an important role in development of Punjab and the country.
With abundant historic sites, bustling markets, and endless cultural institutions, Mumbai’s many sites of attraction can overwhelm any visitor. Listed below are few of the many attractions you must visit if you happen to be in the city.
The Golden Temple:
The Golden Temple also known as Har Mandir Saheb is the holiest shrine for the people of Sikh religion. It has an exclusive Sikh architecture. The Gurudwara teaches the very important lessons of humility and equality. The four entrances of the holy shrine from all four directions symbolizes that people belonging to any religion are welcomed. The shrine acquired the name of the Golden Temple after sanctum sanctorum was overlaid with golden foil in 1830. In the evenings we can witness the beautiful reflection of the temple in the central tank – known as the Amrit Sarovar. Langar (a vegetarian meal) is provided to the visitors which is free of cost in the temple.
Established in 1951 by the Government of India, Jallianwala Bagh is a public garden in Amritsar, which houses a memorial of national importance to commemorate the massacre of peaceful celebrators including unarmed women and children by British occupying forces, on the occasion of the Punjabi New Year (Baisakhi) on 13 April 1919. The 6.5-acre garden site of the massacre is located in the vicinity of the Golden Temple complex.
Wagah Border is located about 27 kms from Amritsar. This is the only border crossing between India and Pakistan. Every evening at sunset there is a parade which takes place between the soldiers of India and Pakistan. It is a memorable moment to see the soldiers of both the countries in high enthusiasm and respect for each other. There is a flag raising and lowering ceremony at Wagah Border, which is done with pomp and ceremony. People from both sides gather and enjoy the ceremony. The entire event is meant to create a patriotic feel amongst the crowd. It is called the beating retreat ceremony.
Hall Bazar is one of the busiest shopping complexes in Amritsar. It comprises of numerous streets lined with rows of shops offering a diverse variety of products from electronics, ornaments, books, handicrafts, shawls, bangles, jewellery to the world-famous Phulkari embroidery works, Pakistani juttis and Chinese lamps. Apart from ready-made garments, jewellery, and Phulkari shopping in Amritsar, the small street shops at Hall Bazaar also sell amazing souvenirs that tourist from all over the world buy to take a memory of Amritsar back home. Some of the best restaurants as well as street stalls can be found in this market that offer fantacizing delicacies to calm the hunger pangs during shopping.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum is a lovely building which archives the Royal Heritage of Maharaja Ranjit Singh such as arms and armour, outstanding paintings and century old coins and manuscripts. The palace is surrounded by the famous Rambagh Gardens which is popular for its statue of the legendary king with his horse.
Jama Masjid Khairuddin is located in Hall bazaar, Amrisar which is an artistically enriched religious site. This mosque was built by Mohammad Khairuddin in 1876 where Tootie-e-Hind Shah Attaullah Bukhari protested against the British rule.
The Durgiana Temple is one of the most important Hindu Temples located in the Amritsar district of Punjab. Just like the Golden Temple, Durgiana Temple is built in the middle of a lake. The beauty of the temple is adorned with dazzling lights, and alluring decors during festive seasons. This Temple is a must visit place for pilgrims, and spiritual seekers, during their visit to Amritsar.
Faridkot Fort is a unique historical structure built completely with Nanakshahi bricks and lime motor which is located in Faridkot District of Punjab. It is a must visit tourist spot near Amritsar. This fort has impressive Rajasthani interiors which reflects exclusive touch of European architecture. The fort encloses an exclusive Sheesh Mahal which displays very impressive glass works. The Darbar Hall is yet another worth-exploring part of this fort.
Harike Wetland is one of the largest wetlands in northern India. It is a man-made riverine, lacustrine wetland which spreads across the three districts of Punjab namely Amritsar, Ferozepur and Kapurthala. This wetland gives shelter to several species of snakes, turtles, amphibians and fishes and is located in Tarn Taran district of Punjab.
Tarn Taran Sahib is located in the Majha region of Punjab, which serves as the municipal headquarters of the Tarn Taran district and is also an important Sikh Pilgrimage site. Sri Tarn Taran Sahib is one of the important Gurudwara from both historical and religious point of view. Another important part of this Gurudwara is the ‘Har Ki Pauri’ which is a flight of stairs that descends down to a Sarovar. This place should be visited to embark on a spiritual, and religious journey during your Punjab tour.
Bathinda Fort is the historical fort of Punjab which is around 160km from the Golden Temple and is known for its intense association with the history of Sultana Razia’s imprisonment. The fort is located in the Malwa Region of Punjab. It is known for its impressive architecture which looks like a sheep in the sea of sand. The bricks used to build this fort are from the ancient Kushana Period. The fort premise encloses a Gurudwara which was built in the memory of Guru Gobind Singh.
Gurudwara Goindwal Sahib is located in Tarn Taran District of Punjab and is believed to be very divine among the followers of Sikhism. It is believed that Guru Amar Das met Guru Ram Das in Goindwal. There is a Baoli (stepwell) in the premises of this Gurudwara which is paved with 84 steps. It is said that people who take bath in this baoli and walk over these 84 steps reciting Japji Sahib get liberation from the bondage of rebirth. This Gurudwara is located on the bank of the river Beas.
Gobindgarh Fort Amritsar is one of the very important historical places of the state. Gobindgarh Fort is spread across an area of 43 acres which was initially built by Gujar Singh, and its final construction was completed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Other important attractions of Gobindgarh Fort Amritsar include numerous exhibitions, a museum, traditional shops, and a restaurant where one can enjoy the authentic culinary delights of Punjab.
The Ram Tirath Temple is a must see Hindu religious site Located at Amritsar-Chogawan Road known for its spiritual and religious significance. This place is associated with many undeniable myths of the Ramayana, and is also known for the birth of Lord Rama’s sons Lav and Kush. Also, it is said that sage Valmiki, the writer of the Ramayana started writing the great Epic “Ramayana” here.
Pul Kajari is found at Dhanoe Kalan, at a distance of around 34 km from Amritsar. This place is known for the resting place of Maharaja Ranjit Singh while travelling to distant lands with his army. There is an interesting story to this place. It is said that once a dancer was passing through the pool located in Pul Kajari to perform at the king’s palace and her shoes slipped into the pool. So, she declared that unless she does not get her shoes, she will not perform because of which the royal servants built a small bridge (Pul). Then they took out her shoes. There is a temple, a mosque and a gurudwara in Pul Kajari.
The people of Amritsar have a tradition of a rich culture. The people are proud of the rich heritage of their city. Here people mainly follow the religion of Sikhism. They have a very eventful history and they have fought many battles in the past against the foreign races during the Independence struggle. People of this city are great examples of bravery and honor. The Sikhs are well known for their stalwart stature and strong athletic build. They are by nature hardy and hardworking people and they gain the best even from an unfavorable condition. They are enthusiastic people who live life to the fullest and take part in many celebrations and festivals. People in Amritsar have love for rich and spicy food and the women folks usually have great culinary skills. They are deeply rooted in their culture and have helped the city to glory.
Kesar Da Dhaba, located in Chowk Passian, is known as the best places in town to experience truly famous local dishes. Their divine preparations of chana, parantha’s, dal, phirni are sure to make you swing in the taste of Punjab. Also this dhaba is famous for its cool and refreshing lassi.
Beera Chicken Corner, located at Makhan Chowk is a food’s paradise where you will be served with heaping portions of rich, flavorful Tandoori chicken. According to many locals and travelers, this is the best Tandoori chicken corner in India. This corner is also known for other delicacies like butter chicken, which is paired with a couple buttery slices of naan.
Being in Punjab ,located near town hall makes people crave for those stereotypical Punjabi delights. Makki ki roti with sarson da saag, stuffed kulchas (potatoes or paneer) with chhole are some of the best food items you get in this place.
This dhaba is located near the Hathi Gate, and is run by its proprietor who is also the iron chef in the kitchen. Here you get simple broth spiced with garam masala, chilli and lentil leaves blessed with pieces of hooves and the dish is best paired with kheema paratha.
Guru ka Langar is a community feast cooked up on a large scale in the Temple’s own kitchen, prepared for around 40,000 people. Here people sit around in rows with folks from all walks of life, and meal served is unlimited including dal, a seasonal vegetable, roti, rice and water. The feast is free of cost and served by volunteers who are devotees of the Temple, without any element of religion here.