Amritsar ( Punjabi : ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤਸਰ, hindi: अमृतसर, Amritasara ), in the past known as Rāmdāspur and informally as Ambarsar, is a city in northern India which is the administrative headquarters of the Amritsar district and is situated in the Majha region of the Indian state of Punjab.
Its name means ‘pond ( sara ) of the nectar of immortality ( amrita )’. Amritsar is located 217 km (135 miles) northwest of the state capital of Chandigarh , and 32 km (29 miles) east of Lahore (Pakistan ), both very close to the Indian-Pakistani border.
Amritsar is home to the Golden Temple popularly known as “the Harmandir Sahib,” , the cultural and spiritual epicenter of the Sikh religion . This sanctuary attracts more visitors than the Taj Mahal ( Agra ), more than 100000 people visit it only on weekdays, and it is the main tourist destination for non-resident Indians. Amritsar is also known for two major massacres that took place in connection with the Sikh temple: Jallianwala Bagh massacre (in 1919, perpetrated by the British), and Operation Blue Star (June 3, 1984, during the mandate of the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi). Its main economic activities include tourism, production of fabrics and carpets, farm products, handicrafts, trade and light engineering.
The Bhagwan Valmiki Tirath Sthal situated in Amritsar is believed to be the Ashram of Maharishi Valmiki, the author of Ramayana. As per the Ramayana, Sita gave birth to Lava and Kusha, sons of lord Rama at Ramtirth ashram.Nearby cities to Amritsar, Lahore and Kasur were said to be founded by Lava and Kusha, respectively. Throughout Ashvamedha Yagna by Lord Rama, Lava and Kush captured the ritual horse and tied Lord Hanuman to a tree near to today’s Durgiana Temple.
Founding of Amritsar City
Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh guru is credited with founding the holy city of Amritsar in the Sikh tradition. Two stories exist regarding the land where Guru Ram Das settled. In one based on a Gazetteer record, the land was purchased with Sikh donations, for 700 rupees from the owners of the village of Tung.
The site of Amritsar was a residential area land lying between the village of Sultanwind, Tung, Gumtala and Gilwali.Guru Ram Das was given guidelines for the location of the site by guru Amardas ji.The selection of the site of Amritsar was planned by gurus and was the choice of the Gurus themselves.The earlier name of the city was “chak Guru”,that bears the declaration of revenue free. Probably, Chak Guru was granted exemption from land revenue by the Mughal government during the reign of Emperor Akbar.Guru Ram Das Ji was instructed to a House for himself and dig a tank gradually to the centre of the city. Some intelligent, experienced and elderly Sikhs were instructed to assist Guru Ram Das J to implement the project.The project was thus executed by Guru Ram Das.First of all a boundary line of the settlement was drawn. The foundation was laid by Guru Ram Das and the village was named Ram Das Pura. The construction of the new centre was started with great enthusiasm.Some huts and houses were built and then digging of the tank was started. when a portion of the project was completed, Bhai Jetha went to Goindwal to report the progress of the work.This time Guru Amar Das directed Ram Das to dig another tank at the low level area near the site of the tank under construction.On his return, Guru Ram Das selected the site for the second tank surrounded by a large number of Jujube trees.
The construction of the second tank was supervised by Guru Ram Das ji personally.Many Sikh followers came to participate in the Sewa. Simultaneously with the construction of the tank the care was taken to develop the village Chak.52 types of caste groups from Patti,Kasur and Kalanaur were called for ensuring regular supply of essential commodities to the settlers. A market called Guru ka bazar which exists now also was established. Some wells were dug for water supply .A number of rich bankers and traders also settled down in the town.
The construction of the tank and the town was going on smoothly.But Guru Ram Das had to rush back to Goindwal at the call of the dying Guru Amar Das, while the work was in progress.The work was resumed on his return in 1577 and the construction of the tank and town was completed in the same year.On the completion of the project, the Guru called the local business community and told them to take charge of the holy place.
The Guru and his disciples were thrilled at the completion of the new pilgrimage centre, Guru Ram Das composed beautiful poetizes in glorification of the sarowar,making an injunction upon his followers to take bath in the holy tank and recite the name of God.The tank acquired a reputation of holiness and became the head-quarters of the Sikhs.The Amrit Sarowar remained un-bricked till Guru Arjan Dev ascended the Gur Gaddi in 1581.The tank was made pacca and its side stairs were bricked. The tank was named, Amar sarowar or Amritsar .Gradually the fame of the sacred tank led to its identity with the latter appellation and the city got its final name of Amritsar. Guru Arjan Dev also settled, the new city artisans and craftsmen and inculcated in his followers keen interest in horse trade.
Geography and climate
Amritsar is located at 31.63°N 74.87°E with an average elevation of 234 metres (768 ft).
Amritsar has a steppe climate and experiences four types of season:
The winter season (December to March) temperature ranges from 0 °C to 15 °C,
The summer season (April to June) temperatures can reach 42 °C,
The monsoon season (July to September) and post-monsoon season (October to November). Annual rainfall is about 681 millimetres (26.8 in). The lowest recorded temperature is −3.6 °C (25.5 °F), was recorded on 9 December 1996 and the highest temperature, 48.1 °C (118.6 °F), was recorded on 22 May 2013.
- Budha Theh
- Chheharta Sahib
- Jandiala Guru
- Verka Town
- Baba Bakala
Amritsar is attractive destination for tourists, especially those part of Golden Triangle. Major destinations are:
- Golden Temple and Heritage Street
- Punjab State War Heroes’ Memorial & Museum
- Bhagwan Valmiki Tirath Sthal
- Sadda Pind
- Urban Haat Food Street
- Gobindgarh Fort
- Ram Bagh Palace and Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum
- Wagah border
- Partition Museum
- Jallianwala Bagh
- Jang-e-Azadi Memorial near Kartarpur, India
Amritsar has the modern Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport located 11 km northwest of the city, on the Amritsar-Ajnala road, close to the village of Rajasansi. The airport is connected to world with direct national and international flights.
Amritsar railway station is massively connected to the Indian rail network, with daily services to and from Delhi , Mumbai , Kolkata and other major Indian cities . It has special services the Samjhauta Express runs from Amritsar to Lahore in Pakistan.
Amritsar Inter State Bus Stand
Amritsar is located on the so-called Grand Highway or GT Highway, also known as National Highway 1 that runs part of the old Silk Road. It is thus massively connected to the Indian road network. Daily bus services are offered.
The city inside has the so-called rickshaws and autorickshaws . It also has a lot of taxis and buses. Recently the national and state government have started the competition for the development of a rapid transport system for the city.
City has Metro Bus rapid transit service, the Amritsar Metrobus which was launched on 28 January 2019.
- Khalsa College
- Indian Institute of Management, Amritsar
- Guru Nanak Dev University
- D.A.V College
- Amritsar College of Engineering and Technology
- BBK DAV College for Women, Amritsar
- Delhi Public School, Amritsar
- Global Institute, Amritsar
- Government Medical College, Amritsar
- D.A.V Public School
- Khalsa College, Amritsar
- St. Francis School, Amritsar
- Abdul Hameed, writer
- Akshay Kumar, actor
- Amrinder Gill, Punjabi singer
- Baba Deep Singh, General
- Bhagat Puran Singh, environmentalist
- Bhagat Singh Thind, US Sikh Leader
- Bharti Singh, Indian stand-up comedian
- Bhisham Sahni, Hindi writer
- Bishan Singh Bedi, cricketer
- Chandan Prabhakar, comedian
- Dalbir Chetan, Punjabi short-story writer
- Dara Singh, wrestler and actor
- Deepa Mehta, Indo-Canadian filmmaker
- Deepti Naval, actress
- Geeta Bali, actress
- Ghulam Abbas (writer)
- Ghulam Mohammad Baksh, wrestler
- Guru Tegh Bahadur, 9th Guru of Sikhs
- Gurpreet Ghuggi, Punjabi Comedian
- Gurshabad, Playback Singer and Actor
- Hans Raj Khanna, judge at the Supreme court of India
- Jeetendra, actor
- Kapil Sharma, comedian
- Kiran Bedi, first woman IPS officer
- Krishan Kant, 10th Vice-President of India
- Laxmi Kanta Chawla
- Madan Lal Dhingra, independence activist
- Madan Lal, cricketer
- Mahendra Kapoor, playback singer
- Manmohan Singh, 13th Prime Minister of India
- Maurice Barrymore, (patriarch of the Barrymore acting family)
- M. D. Taseer, Urdu poet
- Mira Nair, Indo-American filmmaker
- Mohammed Rafi, recording artist
- Narendra Chanchal, singer
- Navjot Singh Sidhu, politician
- Nawab Kapur Singh, Sikh leader
- Nimrat Khaira, Punjabi Singer
- Pramod Moutho, Indian actor
- Raghunandan Lal Bhatia, politician
- Rajesh Khanna, actor
- Ramandeep Singh, footballer
- Richa Chadda , Actress
- Ritu Kumar, fashion designer
- Rupa Bajwa, writer
- Saadat Hasan Manto, writer
- Sahila Chadha, actress
- Saifuddin Kitchlew, freedom fighter
- Sam Manekshaw, Field Marshal
- Saurabh Kalia, soldier
- Shamshad Begum, classical singer
- Sudesh Lehri, comedian
- Veeru Devgan, director and producer of Hindi films
- Vikas Khanna, chef
- Vinod Mehra, actor
- Vipul Mehta, singer
- Vir Singh, Punjabi poet
- Waris Ahluwalia, model, actor in US
- Yash Johar, director and producer of Hindi films