Amritsar, as the name suggests, is rightfully a pool of nectar. Located in the state of Punjab, Amritsar is one of the most important pilgrimage centers especially for the Sikhs in the country. The city is characterized by some of the must visit religious, historical as well as contemporary sites of importance. The Golden Temple, where Sikhs from all over the world come to pay their reverence to Guru Granth Sahib and take a dip in the Amrit Saras Kund (Pool of Immortality) for spiritual purification is the major landmark of the place. Amritsar is also characterized by the hard working and warm-hearted people
There are a number of tourist attractions to visit in and around Amritsar. However, most of the places are of religious and historical importance. The Golden Temple, which is located in the heart of the city, is the most visited tourist attraction of Amritsar. The Jalianwala Bagh is a memorial of the martyrs of the 1919 massacre by the British General Dyer. The Durgiana Mandir is a beautiful temple dedicated to Goddess Durga. The Baba Atal Rai Tower, just a few kilometres from the main town, is believed to be the spot where Guru Har Gobind died. Wagah (28 km) is on the Indo-Pakistan border where tourists throng to see the change of guards ceremony by the border security forces of both the countries
Amritsar has a fabulous and colourful bazaar. Hall Bazaar is the main shopping complex of Amritsar displaying products of varied range, including Electronics goods, Readymade Garments, Handicrafts, Ornaments and Bookshops. Dharam Singh Market another market offering wide variety of products. Near the Golden Temple there are numerous souvenir shops, which displays local crafts.
The climate of the district is characterized by general dryness except in the brief south ?west monsoon season, a hot summer and bracing winter . The year may be divided in four seasons. The cold season is from November to march. The period from April to June is the hot season. The south-west monsoon season is from about the beginning of July to the first week of September. The succeeding period lasting till the beginning of November is the post-monsoon or transition period .
Durgiana Temple (Lakshmi Narain Temple): Built in the third decade of the 20th Century it echoes, not the traditional Hindu temple architecture, but that of the Golden Temple and, in a similar manner rises from the midst of a tank and has canopies and the central dome in the style of the Sikh temple. One of the greatest reformers and political leaders of resurgent India, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, laid its foundation stone. It is a well-known repository of Hindu scriptures
Wagah Border: The international border between India and Pakistan. The pomp and pageantry of the Beating Retreat and the Change of Guard within handshaking distance of the Indian and Pakistani forces makes for a most charming spectacle.
Wagah, an army outpost on Indo-Pak border - between Amritsar and Lahore, is an elaborate complex of buildings, roads and barriers on both sides. The daily highlight is the evening "Beating the Retreat" ceremony. Soldiers from both countries march in perfect drill, going through the steps of bringing down their respective national flags. As the sun goes down, nationalistic fervour rises and lights are switched on marking the end of the day amidst thunderous applause.
Jallian Wala Bagh: The memorial at this site commemorates the 2000 Indians who were killed or wounded, shot indiscriminately by the British under the command of Gen Michael O"Dyer on April13, 1919 while participating in a peaceful public meeting. This was one of the major incidents of India's freedom struggle.The story of this appaling massacre is told in the Martyr's Gallery at the site. A section of wall with bullet marks still visible is preserved along with the memorial well, in which some people jumped to escape. "The impossible men of India shall rise and liberate their mother land", declared Mahatma Gandhi, after the Jallian Wala massacre. "This disproportionate severity of punishment inflicted upon the unfortunate people and method of carrying it out is without parallel in the history of civilized govt." wrote Rabindra Nath Tagore the noble laureate while returning knighthood. Ram Bagh
Golden Temple - Amritsar
Jallian Wala Bagh - Amritsar
Ram Tirath Mandir- Amritsar
Durgiana Temple - Amritsar
The garden was named by the ruler himself as a tribute to Guru Ram Das, the founder of the city. Now the summer palace of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh has been converted into a museum which speaks volumes on his times.On display are weapons dating back to Mughal times, portraits of ruling houses of Punjab and a replica of diamond "Kohinoor". In those days the garden was approached by a huge fortified gate which still exists in its original form and is just on the periphery of the garden.
Attractions and Places to Visit in Amritsar
Golden temple(Harmander Sahib): The Golden temple is located in the holy city of the Sikhs, Amritsar. The Golden temple is famous for its full golden dome, it is one of the most sacred pilgrim spots for Sikhs. The Mandir is built on a 67-ft square of marble and is a two storied structure. Maharaja Ranjit Singh had the upper half of the building built with approximately 400 kg of gold leaf. The Golden Temple is surrounded by a number of other famous temples like the Durgiana Temple. The fourth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Ram Das, who had initially constructed a pool here, founded Amritsar, which houses the Golden Temple or Harmandir Sahib. It is here that Sage Valmiki wrote the epic, Ramayana. Rama and Sita are believed to have spent their fourteen-year exile in Amritsar, the epicenter of Sikhism. To the south of the temple is a garden, and the tower of Baba Atal. The Central Sikh Museum is atop the Clock Tower. The 'Guru Ka Langar' offers free food to around 20,000 people everyday. The number shoots up to 100,000 on special occasions. A visitor must cover his / her head before entering the temple premises. The Granth Sahib is kept in the Temple during the day and is kept in the Akal Takht or Eternal Throne in the night. The Akal Takht also houses the ancient weapons used by the Sikh warriors. Guru Hargobind established it. The rugged old Jubi Tree in the north west corner of the compound is believed to possess special powers. It was planted 450 years ago, by the Golden Temple's first high priest, Baba Buddha. Guru-ka-Langar or the communal canteen is towards the eastern entrance of the temple complex, and it provides free food to all visitors, regardless of colour, creed, caste or gender. Visitors to the Golden Temple must remove their shoes and cover their heads before entering the temple. The temple is less crowded in the early mornings on weekends.
Ram Tirath: Located 11 Km West of Amritsar on Chogawan road, dates back to the period of Ramayana, Rishi Valmiki's hermitage. The place has an ancient tank and many temples. A hut marks the site where Mata Sita gave birth to Luv & Kush and also, still extant are Rishi Valmiki's hut and the well with stairs where Mata Sita used to take her bath. The Bedis of Punjab (Guru Nanak Dev , the founder Prophet of Sikhism was a Bedi) trace their descent from Kush and Sodhis (the 10th Prophet of Sikhism, Guru Gibind Singh was a Sodhi) from Luv. A four day fair, since times immemorial is held here starting on the full moon night in November. 16 Kilometres west on Choganwan road is Ram Tirath, commemorating Maharishi Balmik Ji´s heritage. Harike Bird Sanctuary :
Harike wetland about 40 minutes drive from Amritsar is one of the finest virgin bird sanctuaries in the country. At this confluence of Beas and Sutlej, one can see a host of migratory birds as well as many species of wild animals in their natural habitat.
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. Jama Masjid Khairuddin: Built by Mohd. Khairuddin in 1876, this masjid is a place of architectural beauty situated in the Hall Bazar. This is the holy place from where a call against the British rule was given by Tootie-e-Hind, Shah Attaullah Bukhari. Samadh of Shravan:
It is another heritage sight built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh around which are sewn many tales and legends. Situated near the villages of Daoka and Dhanoa Kalan right on the Wagha border, Pul Kanjari is about 35 kms. Both from Amritsar & Lahore. The Maharaja would often rest and leisure here in the baradari while passing by along with his royal troop and retinues. Despite a ruined fort and a baoli-a bathing pool - this heritage sight has a temple, a Gurudwara and a mosque which bespeak of the secular concerns of the Maharaja. The inside of the dome on the corner of the baoli enshrines a number of scenes and sights from the Hindu scriptures and the Raj Darbar.These frescoes are laced with floral frames.
How to Reach Amritsar
Amritsar city situated in northern Punjab state of northwestern India lies about 15 miles (25 km) east of the border with Pakistan. Amritsar is an important city in Punjab and is a major commercial, cultural, and transportation centre. It is also the centre of Sikhism and the site of the Sikh's principal place of worship.
By Air The Rajasansi airport, about 11 km. from town, is connected by domestic flights to Delhi, Srinagar and Chandigarh. You can get to town by a pre-booked rented car, taxis or auto-rickshaws.
By Train Amritsar is connected by direct trains to major Indian cities like Delhi, Jammu, Mumbai, Nagpur, Calcutta and Puri.
By Road You can drive into Amritsar from neighboring states. Bus services also connect Amritsar with most north Indian towns, including Chandigarh (235 Kms), Delhi (450 Kms), Shimla, Kulu, Manali, Dharamshala and Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh, Dehradun and Rishikesh in Uttar Pradesh and Jammu. There is also a bus service to Lahore, 35 km away, which is the only overland connection between India and Pakistan.