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Information about Amritsar

Amritsar, the most sacred city of the Sikhs, is an important tourist attraction of Punjab. The word Amritsar means the Pool of Nectar. The city of Amritsar is named after the sacred pool in the Golden Temple, one of the holiest Sikh shrines. Amritsar is situated only about 29 km from Wagah, on the India-Pakistan border. The overland travelers have to go through Amritsar to Pakistan as it was the only land crossing open between India and Pakistan. It has an unmistakable frontier town atmosphere. The best season to visit Amritsar is from October to March. The foreign tourists require a permit, if they intend to stay in Punjab for longer period or are traveling through Amritsar to the border and want an overnight stay. Hindi, Punjabi and English are the main languages which are spoken here.

History of Amritsar

Amritsar was a traditional junction of trade routes and the Yarkandis, Turkomens, Kashmiris, Tibetans and Iranians that were found here indicate its connections with the Old Silk Road and the trade routes of Central Asia. The original site for the city of Amritsar was granted by the Mughal Emperor Akbar (1556 –1605) but the Sikh Guru, Ram Das insisted on paying its value to the local Jats who owned it, thereby eliminating the possibility of future disputes on ownership. Ram Das then invited local merchants to live and trade in the immediate vicinity and the town became Amritsar. In 1761, the Afghan Ahmad Shah Durrani sacked the town and destroyed the temple. The temple was rebuilt in 1764 and during the reign of Ranjit Singh was roofed over with gilded copper plates, thereby giving rise to the name `The Golden Temple`.

Festivals of Amritsar

Baisakhi is the main festival which is celebrated all over all Amristar. It is a religious festival in which people bath in rivers and worship at temples. To the Sikh community, Baisakhi is of special significance as on this day, in 1689, the Khalsa was founded by Guru Gobind Singh, converting the Sikhs into a martial community. In Amritsar, the farmers celebrate the festival with great enthusiasm. It is an occasion for great celebration, with dances and rejoicing. The birth anniversaries of the ten gurus are observed as holy days and those of Guru Nanak in November and Guru Gobind Singh in December are celebrated as festivals. The celebrations include the recitation of the Guru’s verses and processions carrying the Granth Sahib. A four day festival and fair is held at Ram Tirath on the full moon night of November. It is here that the Maharishi Valmiki lived for a long time and wrote Ramayana. Love and Kush were born to Sita in this Ashram.

Shopping in Amritsar

Phulkari work on fabrics and articles of traditional embroidery, woodcraft, gold and silver threaded footwear, cut-glass, silver work, carved bracelets, ivory combs, jewellery, handloom, textiles, woolens, shawls, durries and carpets can be brought from Amritsar. Amritsar is a whole-sale market for textiles and shawls that serves the entire Punjab hunterland.






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