Amritsar, literally a Pool of Nectar, derives its name from Amrit Sarovar, the holy tank that surrounds the fabulous Golden Temple. First time visitors to Amritsar could be forgiven for the impression that Amritsar is like any other small town in northern India. But Amritsar stands head and shoulders above any other city, its status elevated and holy by the presence of the esteemed Golden Temple.
Located in the heart of Amritsar, the temple complex is surrounded by a maze of narrow lanes, or katras, that house one of the busiest markets in India. But the Golden Temple is a peaceful presence, radiating a calm that makes people bow their heads in reverence. The gurudwara, as Sikh temples are called, is the holiest of Sikh pilgrimage. It is not just Sikhs who travel to the Golden Temple to pay homage, the sacred shrine is equally revered by Hindus and people of other faiths who, too, make the pilgrimage to offer prayers at Harmandir Sahib.
There more to Amritsar than that – Amongst other sights is Jallianwala Bagh, site of the gruesome massacre of unarmed Indians by British troops. A major tourist attraction these days is the Indo-Pakistan border crossing at Wagah, just a short distance from Amritsar, with its elaborate change-of-guards drill with a lot of strutting and intimidatory showing off by both sides.
Amritsar is a city you should not miss. It’s easy to travel there from Delhi by road and by rail. It is easy to navigate through the city; few guides bother you as tourism is not the most important commercial activity here. Ask them in Amritsar, and they will tell you that if for nothing else you must travel here for the roadside chhola-bhaturas.
The city of Amritsar a dazzling showcase of composite culture and secular heritage .It has a proud past .a glorious present and a promising future .This most important city of Majha has rightly been called the mukut-mani (Jewel of the crown)of the Punjab. A rich repository of spiritual and national heritage, It has been hailed as the home of all virtues’(sifti da ghar) .while praying, every devout Sikh longs to be blessed with a pilgrimage to Amritsar and a holy bath at the Golden Temple (Amritsar ke darsan isnan).A visit to Amritsar is believed to wash off all the sins.
Amritsar and the sikh gurus
The People of Amritsar District came under the influence of teachings of Guru Nanak in the beginning of 16th century, Bhai Lehna (later known as Guru Angad Dev), a residence of Khadur Sahib became a devoted follower of Guru Nanak.He preached people on the lines of Guru Nanak.He preached people on the lines of his Guru.He converted Takhat Mal, the headman of the village, and many others to his faith. A community kitchen (langer) was also initiated and men from far and near started pouring in to receive spiritual instruction from him. Even Guru Nanak visited him at khadur Sahib twice and on his second visit, seeing his never-failing devotion to god and man took him back to Kartarpur and appointed him as his successor on 14 July 1539 and called him Angad.
Guru Angad Dev settled at Khadur Sahib, his native village and made it his headquarters. He began to preach and spread gospels of Guru Nanak with great devotion.
He allowed one of his disciples-Gobind to build a township on the bank of the river Beas, but refused to call the new settlement after his own name and called it Gobindwal (now Goindwal) to commemorate the memory of the disciple.It was on 29 March 1552 Amar Das Ji, the most devoted follower of Guru Angad Dev, was appointed by Baba Buddha as the third Guru of the Sikhs in the benign presence of the Guru. It may be stated here that Humayun also visited Khadur Sahib and received the blessings of Guru Angad Dev.
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.
Punjabi,Hindi,English & Urdu
Shopping in Amritsar is a memorable experience. The market places the lanes, the bazaars, the squares, the plazas-hum with activity. The main shopping areas are the Hall Bazar, Katra Jaimal Singh and Lawrence Road. The city offers traditional souvenirs along with modern brandwear at all locations. The main attraction however is the woolens, carpets and blankets, besides juttis and embroidered stuff. The bazaars of Amritsar offer a colourful range of traditional and modern wares from carpets, durries, kites, fireworks, bangles, shawls to cut-glass and woolen textiles. At Guru bazaar, near the Golden Temple, each lane sells a different commodity
How to reach Amritsar ?
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.
Amritsar is connected by direct trains to major Indian cities like Delhi, Jammu, Mumbai, Nagpur, Calcutta and Puri .
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.