The city of Amritsar is one of the most important city of modern day India. The city which has the holy shrines of Sikhs, The Golden Temple is a border city with the neighbouring country Pakistan just 30 km away from it. Amritsar is culturally and historically one of the most important cities of Indian History and is one of the most important tourist spots of India .
History of Amritsar;
1. Amritsar is one of the largest cities of the Punjab state in India. The city origin lies in the village of Tung, and was named after the lake founded by the fourth by fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das in 1574 on land bought by him from owners of the village of Tung. Amritsar’s internal central walled city has unique residential complex known as Katras which had a peculiar design and provided natural defence system against attacks.
2 . The city of Amritsar witnessed the horrific tragedy of Jallianwala Bagh massacre. The Jallianwala Bagh massacre saw the killing of thousand innocent Indian people on the auspicious day of Baisakhi on April 13 1919. The mob who were peacefully protesting against the British rule in India. The non violent mob was fired upon by General Dyer and his company for 10 minutes after they blocked the main entrance. The day was marked as a dark day in the Indian History.
- The partition of 1947 had severe impact on the city of Amritsar. The province of Punjab was a major state of province that both the INC( Indian National Congress) and Muslim league wanted to incorporate into their own administrative domains before the partition of 1947. The British divided the country on the lines of communal, ethical and religious majorities but the city of Amritsar which had nearly 50% of Muslim population was incorporated in India whereas Lahore which was dominated by Hindus and Sikhs was with Pakistan. The cities of Amritsar and Lahore witnessed one of the bloodiest massacres during the partition and the event is still considered as a scar over humanity. The famous author and columnist Khushwant Singh in his book Train to Pakistan marked the partition as a barbaric and gruesome act on humanity by religious fanatics. He quoted that ;
- Operation Blue Star( 1984) was an Indian Military operation carried out in the holy complex of Golden Temple to flush out the Khalistan militants. The operation is considered as one of the biggest political blunders by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The operation was followed by assassination of Ms Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards and sparked the Sikh Riots of 1984. The event saw a lot of bloodshed and hatred among the communities
Major Attractions of Amritsar;
1.The Golden Temple or The Harmandir Sahab is the prime attraction of the city. Surpassing the Taj Mahal as the most visited tourist spot in India the Holy complex gives sanctity to the heart and the vibrant and soothing ambience is an amazing and breathtaking experience. The Darbar sahib is the holy shrine of Sikhs and is visited by thousand of tourist and locals on daily basis. The Golden Temple is built upon a holy tank known Sarovar.
2.The Jallianwala Bagh witnessed the massacre of Jallianwala Bagh of 1919 as mentioned above. The complex is encroached by residents from all the sides. It is preserved national heritage with the a garden and all the important structures related to the massacre are well preserved. There is dedicated museum which details the events that led to the unfortunate and barbaric incident. At the centre of the garden there is a tall structure which is to pay homage to the ones who lost their lives in this incident. The Jallianwala Bagh is a must visit for all to realise and feel the pain and hardships people went through to get independence.
3.The Attari-Wagah Border or the India-Pakistan border is situated around 30kms from the city of Amritsar. Here every evening the closing gate ceremony or Flag lowering ceremony takes place and the area is literally thronged by thousands of people on both sides of the border. The feeling of patriotism and nationalism is visible amongst the crowds.
Cleverly described by British actor Michael Palin as “carefully choreographed contempt”, the Wagah BorderCeremony commences every day at sunset and lasts for nearly forty-five minutes. Starting with an impressive, albeit aggressive, display of athleticism, the guards on both sides parade down the street with high kicks, foot stamps and an incredible exhibition of speed marching. Such enthusiasm and awe inspiring views makes the feeling of patriotism and nationalism even stronger. The trip to Wagah is unique and should be a part of every Amritsar itinerary.
- Shri Durgiana Temple is constructed similarly like the Golden Temple in the middle of a sacred lake. The name of the temple is derived from the Hindu goddess Durga. The Durgiana temple is similar to the Golden temple with a Golden Dome and a holy sacred lake surrounding it. The temple is a major Hindu temple of Punjab.
- The Ramtirath Temple is the place where Maharishi Valmiki wrote the Ramayana. It is the site where Goddess Sita gave birth to Luv & Khush. The Ramtirath temple is a famous for the annual Fare.
Famous Food Joints and things in Amritsar;
1.The prime spot to tickle your taste buds is the Guru ka Langar in the Golden Temple.Langar is a community feast held at every Gurudwara on a large scale.The Golden temple being one of the largest Gurudwara feeds around 40000 people at once. The lip smacking Kada Prasad is also an added feature which is a must eat.
- 2. Kesar da Dhaba is one of the most famous food joint in the city which serves one of the best Dal Makhni and Naan bread. The joint is pure veg because of its close proximity to the Golden Temple.
- The hardcore chicken fans can relish the ultimate Tandoori Chicken at Beera’s Chicken Centre. The perfectly tandoori chicken with Keema Naan makes it a must visit joint in the city.
4.The tender and juicy Mutton Chaaps at the Adarsh Meat Shop is a must visit for mutton lovers. . Shallow fried and slow cooked, the tender meat comes right off the rib with a spicy and sour flavor and gives an ultimate and heavenly experience. The Mutton Tikka is also very a must try.
- The large king size glass filled with thick white Lassi and a thick layer of white butter makes the Ahuja Lassi a favorite amongst the locals and the tourist. The ultimate Punjabi beverage is a must try to get the real essence of Punjab.
- The buck here ends with the sweet taste of Gajar ka Halwa at Novelty Sweets . The halwa was not like the other places dripping with ghee or extra sweet, it was perfectly sweet and ahas a very tangy and pleasant taste.
These places are the ultimate food joints to visit in Amritsar and are must visits. The other places to go and tickle the taste buds are; Bharawan Da Dhaba, Kanha Sweets, Sharma sweet shop and Mame Da Dhaba.
The city of Amritsar is also famous for carpets and fabrics, farm produce, handicrafts, service trades, and light engineering, apart from tourism.
How to Reach;
Amritsar city is very well connected with air, rail and road. The city has an international airport, a railway station and a ISBT( inter state bus terminal). Here are some ways to reach Amritsar;
1. By Air
The Sri Guru Ram Das Ji International Airport or the Amritsar Airport is located on the outskirts of the city and is well connected to other cities in India and also to a number of international cities There are daily flights to and from Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Jammu, Singpore, Canada among other important cities.
Amritsar Railway Station is the main station in the city and is well connected to almost all major cities in India including Delhi, Chandigarh, Jammu and other important metropolitans and big cities among others. A train journey from Delhi to Amritsar takes a little over 6 hours from the Swarna Shatabdi Express, India’s premium fast express train
Amritsar is well connected to most major cities in the country by road. The Grand Trunk Road connects Amritsar to Delhi. Regular buses are available from ISBT, Delhi to Amritsar. Regular bus service is available from various nearby cities.
Perfect Weather to visit;
The city of Amritsar is in the northern part of India and is very hot and harsh during the summers from April to September and it is not a good idea to visit the place, whereas from the October to March the mercury dips sharply and even touches freezing point during peak winters of January. The winters is a far better time to visit the place as the cool climate makes it convenient to wander in the city and also it enables you to relish the offerings of the city without worrying about the heat and sweat. Apart from that winter season is suitable for witnessing the closing gate ceremony.
Thing to Carry;
There is no specific list of things to carry to Amritsar as it is a modern city and is equipped with all the modern amenities. Just carry clothes depending on the weather. For summers carry light cotton clothes and for winters carry all the jackets and stuff that are required according to your body type. Glares and caps should be carried.
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