Amritsar is a city in Punjab which was founded by Guru Ram Das. It was earlier known as Ramdaspur. It is also the home to the famous Golden Temple or the Harmandir Sahib. This is one of the most important destinations for Sikhs and attracts people not just across the country but even the Globe. Also situated in Amritsar is the Ramtirth Temple which is said to be the Ashram site of the famous writer of Ramayana, Maharishi Valmiki. Amritsar is also known to be one of the most visited places in Punjab and is also part of the Indo-Pak Border thanks to Wagah Border which is located close by around 25kms from Amritsar. Lahore which is presently in Pakistan is the nearest city to Amritsar.
The main activities of Amritsar
The main activities on the commercial front include light engineering, service trades, handicrafts, farm produce, fabrics and carpets as well as tourism. The city is also known for its richness in culture and cuisine. The Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana of India else known as HRIDAY have selected this beautiful city to be one of the heritage cities of the country.
Amritsar’s important tourist destinations and attractions include
The Durgiana Temple
Also known as Sitla Mandir, Durga Tirath and Lakshmi Narayan Temple, the architecture of this Hindu Temple is very similar to that of the Sikh region’s Golden Temple. The name of this temple has been derived from the Indian Hindu Goddess – Durga. In this temple, you will find the idols of Vishnu who is known as the protector of the world and Lakshmi the Goddess of Wealth. Located very close to the Lohgarh gate, there is also a small lake which is named Durgiana. The major festivals that are celebrated in the Temple would include Diwali, Rama Navami, Janmashtami and Dussehra.
The Gobindgarh Fort
The Gobindgarh Fort that is located in Punjab’s Amritsar City is one of the historic military forts that are located at the heart of the city. Was initially known as the Gujar Sing Fort. It was renamed when it was captured by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1805 along with 5 big cannons. This included the famous Bhangian Di Toph or the Zamzama. After Maharaja Singh had captured the fort, he re-strenghtened it and then renamed it after Guru Gobindh Singh who was one of the 10 Sikh Gurus. This was also the home to various important armoury, treasury and other such items that was very important to Ranjit Singh. It was also the home to an Indian Military Base after India got independence.
Harmandir Sahib or The Golden Temple
The meaning of the temple’s name Harmandir Sahib -is The abode of God. This is a Gurudwara that holds a lot of importance for Sikhs and was founded by the 4th Guru, Guru Ram Das in 1574. The design of the temple was done by the 5th Sikh Guru whose name was Guru Arjan and is built over the center of the holy tank which is known as Sarovar and the water that is present around the temple is else known as the holy water called Amrit which means the immortal nectar. It is also the home for the holy scripture of Sikhism – The Adi Granth. The home to The Akal Takht which means the throne of the timeless one was considered to be the God’s temporal authority’s seat. There are 4 entrances to this temple which refers to the different directions. The most important festival that is celebrated here is Vaisakhi.
This is a public Garden and is also home to a memorial that holds national importance. Located in the complex vicinity of the Golden Temple. This was the home where the Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place. A total of 1100 wounded and 379 fatalities were reported on April 13th 1919, when the massacre took place however the actual figures are not known. The garden site is 6.5 acres. This massacre took place on the main Sikh festival called Baisakhi when villagers had gathered and were shot by 50 Ghurkha rifleman along with Brigadier General R.E.H. Dyer during the British Raj.
This is the border between India and Pakistan and is located in the Wagah Town that is partly in India and Partly in Pakistan. During the partition in 1947, the border was used by immigrants to get across the two countries. To the south about 400 meters of the Wagah Border is the Wagah Railway station. The Wagah Border is the name that is given to the part which belongs to Pakistan while the portion which belongs to India is named as Atari Border which is after the Atari Village that is around 500 meters in the Eastern direction of the Border. The Wagah Border Ceremony is something that is famous here and takes place the gates of India and Pakistan. Everyday around 2 hours prior to the sun setting, a flag ceremony is conducted by the Pakistan Rangers and The Indian Border Security Force. This is when the two flags of the respective countries is lowered down and is something that is practised daily by the military ever since 1959. The ceremony is considered to be very colorful as well as symbolises the rivalry between the two countries but also the cooperation and brotherhood.
Kesar Da Dhaba
This is a Punjabi Dhaba (Road side Restaurant) that is very famous and serves the best Vegetarian food that you can get in Amritsar. Kesar Da Dhaba is also considered to be one of the oldest Dhabhas at it was set up in 1916 by Lala Kesar Mal. At the time it was established, this Dhaba was located in Lahore, however after the 1947 Indo-Pak Partition, this Dhaba came into the land which is now a part of Amritsar. The signature dish of this Dhaba is Dal Makhani (the creator of this dish was Sardar Singh) which is a rich Indian cuisines that is made from red kidney beans and whole black lentils along with cream and butter.