Amritsar was founded in 1577 by Ram Das, fourth Guru of the Sikhs, on a site granted by the Mughal emperor Akbar. Ram Das ordered the excavation of the sacred tank, or pool, called the Amrita Saras (“Pool of Nectar”), from which the city’s name is derived. A temple was erected on an island in the tank’s centre by Arjan, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs, which was then reached by a marble causeway. During the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1801–39), the upper part of the temple was decorated with a gold-foil-covered copper dome, and since then the building has been popularly known as the Golden Temple. Amritsar became the centre of the Sikh faith, and, as the focus of growing Sikh power, the city experienced a corresponding increase in trade. It was annexed to British India in 1849.
Amritsar not only is home to hundreds of thousands of Sikhs but also is the chief pilgrimage destination for Sikhs living elsewhere in India and abroad. The principal focus for those pilgrims is the Golden Temple and its complex of several adjacent buildings located around the tank. Situated on the west side, facing the causeway to the temple, is the Akal Takht, the chief centre of authority of Sikhism and the headquarters of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Supreme Akali Party), the main political party of the Sikhs in Punjab. On the north side is the Teja Singh Samundri Hall (Clock Tower), housing the main office of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (Supreme Committee of Temple Management), which oversees the main Sikh gurdwaras (places of worship). To the east of the temple are guest houses for pilgrims, a dining hall that provides thousands of meals daily for pilgrims and other visitors, and, on the southeast corner, the Assembly Hall.
During Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s reign the lower half of the temple was decorated with marble while the entire upper half was inlaid with copper covered over by gold plate : hence its new name, the Golden Temple. Free kitchen and recitation of the divine word never cease here. Its four gates invite everyone from all directions.
Akal Takhat : Sixth Guru Sri Har Gobind had got it constructed as a seal of temperal authority symbolising the unity of spiritual and temporal life in 1609.
Tower of Baba Atal Rai : Built in the memory of Baba Atal Rai, son of Sri Har Gobind Ji, this octagonal nine-storeyed structure about 50 meters high has several beautiful frescos on its walls, relating to the life of Guru nanak Dev Ji.
Martyrs’ Memorial built in the shape of eternal flame of liberty is situated on the outskirts of Golden Temple. Here, about 1500 to 2000 persons who were attending a peaceful meeting during the freedom movement fell under the bullets of the British General Dyer, on April 13, 1919. The British Queen Elizabeth II and her husband laid a wreath at the Memorial on 14 Oct.’ 1997.
Situated outside the Lohgarh Gate it is built after the design of the Golden Temple and attracts sages and scholars in Hindu scriptures from all over India.
Summer place of Maharaja Ranjit Singh
Is situated in the middle of a beautiful garden called Ram bagh in Amritsar City. This garden is laid out on the pattern of Shalimar Bagh at Lahore. Only its architecturally unique ‘darshani deorhi’ has remained intact. A museum after the name of the Maharaja is set up here displaying oil paintings, miniatures, coins, weapons relating to the Sikh period.
Khalsa College & Guru Nanak Dev University
Khalsa College, Amritsar was founded in 1892 and built on grand scale in typical Sikh architecture, its distinguished alumni; sportsmen, servicemen, administrators, professionals, fill up India’s compilations of Who’s Who. On a part of its land a new University called Guru Nanak Dev University was established at Amritsar. Soon it has become distinguished for starting modern curricula and has etched its name on the sports map of India.
Visa is not needed for Indian Citizens
|Languages spoken||Hindi, English & Punjabi|