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Amritsar, Its Golden Temple and other Tourist's Attractions
Amritsar, situated at the border of India and Pakistan, houses the renowned Wagah Border. Many assemble here at Wagah to witness the activities of soldiers. The territory of Pakistan is a stone’s throw away from Amritsar. There is only a no man’s land between Amritsar and Pakistan. Attari, about 25 km away towards the western side of Amritsar, houses the check post. Everybody around waits for the flag down that takes place at the end of the day during the time of sunset. During every evening, both of the Nations, India and Pakistan open their own gateways and put their flags down. People from faraway places congregate at Wagah border to watch this impressive sight. The flags are again hoisted on the very next day. Tourists travel to the border riding on a bus or by availing a car from Amritsar. Trains are also traveling to Lahore, Pakistan from Amritsar in 3 hours. Pakistan is accessed by bus from Delhi through Amritsar four times a week.
Even though the state capital of Punjab is Chandigarh, still Amritsar is one of the most important spots of Punjab for its cultural elegance and Sikh traditional values. It’s a chief Sikh pilgrimage point of Punjab as well. This is the second largest city in the state which is positioned at an elevation of 234 meters. Hard working inhabitants of Amritsar are known for putting a lot of effort behind their works. Since time immemorial, Amritsar is accessed by countless numbers of Business tycoons and merchants.
The old Amritsar city is at the south- eastern side of the Amritsar Railway Station. Congested shops are dotted in and around the dusty old Amritsar city and is best avoided except for visiting the Golden temple. The new city, has expanded towards the north- eastern corridor of Amritsar. The posh areas of Amritsar, such as, Ram Baug are located in this part of the city. The absorbing Golden temple is positioned right at the heart of the Old Amritsar city. For any assistance or tourists’ information, you can contact the tourist office @ 2231452. Auto, Rickshaws and Buses are moving from one corner to the other of the city and are helping city dwellers to reach their desired destinations every day.
The Golden Temple of Amritsar : A water body at the roadside of the G. T Road had given birth to a dream of Guru Nanak. He wanted to build a city around it. The 4th Sikh Guru, Ramdas had built the city of Amritsar later on. Once there were 18 gateways to the well fortified city of Amritsar. The rampart around the city was actually built at the south- eastern side of the Amritsar Railway Station. Today the city is circulated by the circular road instead of the ancient fortification. Guru Ramdas took the important initiative to excavate a Lake amidst the city during 1573- 1577. By the name of Ramdas, the city was named as Chowk Ramdaspur. 5th Guru Arjan had later on renovated the water body and constructed Harmandir, amidst the engrossing water body in 1601.
The 60 meters long viaduct, made up of marbles, makes the way for pilgrims to visit the coveted Golden Temple. The holy inscription of Sikh community, Sri Guru Grantha Sahib, was compiled by the 5th Guru Arjan in 1604 and was placed in the captivating Golden temple.
The 5th Guru Arjan was assassinated by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. The royal leader of Mughal dynasty was afraid of Renaissance of the entire Sikh community. Haragobind, the son of Arjun, called the people of Sikh community to fight against injustice. To be successful, Haragobind had erected the well protected Lohagarh fort.
The three storied Harmandir , the Golden temple, splendor of which is enjoyed by the pilgrims and tourists today, was actually constructed by Ranjit Singh during 1830. The quotation, taken from Granth Sahib, is artistically displayed on the wall at the entrance of the temple. The temple walls are well festooned with gold and multihued flowers. There is a dome as well at the higher side of the divine temple. The dome looks like a reversed lotus. 3500 hymns are written all over the dome. It takes almost 3 ½ hours to completely read these hymns. Ranjit Singh had wrapped the bronze leaf of the appealing golden temple with 400 kg gold during 1803-1830. The architecturally beautiful silver gateways of the temple are also draped in golden clamps. Since then, the name of the ancient Harmandir was changed to the Golden Temple. Many know this finicky Sikh pilgrimage point as Darbar Sahib. The walls of the temple are bedecked with colorful flowers and animals. The prominent and significant pietradura architecture shows a pretty blending of Hindu and Muslim architectural touches. The interior decoration of the holy temple is wonderful as the inner wall surfaces depict art forms using silver, gold and elephant teeth. Besides the main entrance, there are four doorways. It means that four different sects of Hindu communities are welcomed. You can savor the taste of Prasadam on the temple premise as well.
Amritsar looks different with its sumptuousness and grandeur during Diwali. The entire city wears different kinds of garlands of shimmering and bright lights. The consecrated temple is marvelously bejeweled with plenty of earthen lights. Fire crackers are burnt during this significant festival of Diwali. Tourists assemble on the land of Amritsar to witness the colorful fire crackers.
The rich clock tower museum at the entrance of the absorbing Golden Temple recalls the old stories and memories of Sikh history. Chandratop (flanked with beautiful pearls and valuables), necklace of the emperor, Chouri (made up of 1120 pounds sandalwoods) and peacock with an artistic touch are also recollecting the ancient and classical art forms. But, all these items are showcased only on the birth day of Ramdas.
Pilgrims and swarms of holiday makers visit the holy land of the Golden Temple to witness the procession. Granth Sahib resides on the silver palanquin which is decorated with expensive gold. The deity partakes in the eventful procession as well. Tourists from all over the world come here in the early morning to watch the finery of the procession.
The five storied Akaal Takht or the throne of the eternal God is positioned atop the golden dome, on the banks of the Sarovar (Lake). Numerous weapons and artilleries are put on display in the astounding Akaal Takht. This is considered as the Parliament house of the Sikh community. The speaker of the authority of Gurdwaraa gives a speech every day on the religious and social topics. The Akaal Takht was affected hugely due to the anti-terrorist Operation Blue Star, held in 1984. But, the process of renovation of the Akaal Takht is on its way now.
The 9 storied Baba Atal Sahib Gurdwara (50 meters), amidst the pretty orchard, is located at the north- eastern side of the hallowed Golden temple. It was erected in 1628, as a commemorative of Baba Atal Rai, the son of Hargobind. Various known and unknown life stories of Guru Nanak are exhibited in the attractive fresco pictures. If you are there, then don’t miss the opportunity to take the prasadam at Guru Ka Langar. The authority can serve 10, 000 pilgrims at the same time. Tourists and pilgrims who have a plan of staying here for some time can book rooms in Bunghas or Gurdwaraa. Pilgrims and tourists who are willing to take a dip in the water of the Sarovar, has to go to the eastern tip of the Sarovar to access the bathing bank. The water of the Sarovar has a curative properties.
The holiest 68th Memorial of Hindu pilgrimage is located at the eastern bank of the Sarovar. Baba Deep Singh shrine, built on the southern banks of the water body, is pulling innumerable tourists.
Countless numbers of women with the desire of having a child, congregate near the 450 years old tree, at the north- western side of the area.
The problems of congestion around the enthralling Golden temple now have been solved to a large extent. Devotees purchase a ticket at the entrance to access Harmandir. Barefooted tourists and pilgrims have to get into the temple draping their heads and washing the dirt of the feet. Smoking and taking pictures are strictly prohibited inside the main temple. Tourists, however, can capture images with their cameras on the premise around the water body. Hire a rickshaw from the Amritsar Railway station to the Golden temple. Buses of the temple authority are also running on this route.
Jallianwala Bagh: The walls of Jallianwala Bagh are standing tall and quietly recollecting the gory story. It is the place where bullets which came out of the guns of British soldiers had killed innumerable Indian freedom fighters. The marks of those bullets on the walls are still prominent.
This has now become one of the sought after tourists’ destination of India. The ground of Jallianwala Bagh is surrounded by tall walls and numerous houses. The only entrance to this spot is really narrow.
Thousands of rebellions who had assembled on this ground to stand firmly against the Rawlatt Act, passed by British, on 13th April, 1919 were killed mercilessly by the British force without any warning or intimation. Approximately 300 rebellions had sacrificed their lives jumping into the well, at the northern side of the Jallianwala Bagh premise. The whole world stood against the heartless killing at that point of time. To raise the voice of protest, the great litterateur of India, Rabindra Nath Tagore had returned Knighthood back to British. Due to external pressure, Reginald Dwyer, the main Culprit of Jallianwala Bagh, was transferred to London by British. Later on, the killer Reginald Dwyer was killed by a patriot who also had lost his life. To recall the brave activities of these Indian Patriots, a memorial was built in Jallianwala Bagh. A burning lamp here draws attention of the pilgrims and holiday makers. The well is there amidst the beautiful garden. Jallianwala Bagh, houses a martyr gallery which is rich in collection. Historical letters and portraits are displayed in the gallery. Jallianwala Bagh remains open during 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in summers and during 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in winters.
Durgiana Temple: The Hindu temple Durgiana, made up of white marbles, is located in between the Amritsar Railway station and the holy Golden temple and is accessed through slender streets in 15 minutes. Durgiana temple was erected during 16th century. Bengali worshippers worship the deity regularly with devotion. The temple gets festooned with bright earthen lamps during Diwali. Fire crackers are burnt as well. The temple of the deity, Lakshmi and Narayana, midst of the Sarovar, resembles the structure and splendor of the Golden temple. The very old and singular Shitala temple is not very far away. The holy Ganesh temple and Hanuman temple are other neighboring pilgrimage points.
Gobindgarh Fort: The Gobindgarh fort, located at the south- western side of the city, is giving the maximum protection to the city and is standing as the first and foremost fortress of the Sikh community. The riveting fort was built during 1805-1809. This fort was once ruled by Bhangi Sardar and Ranjit Singh. This captivating tourists’ spot of Amritsar, however, is now under the control of Indian soldiers.
Ram Bagh Garden: Situated amidst an aristocratic area of Amritsar, the Ram Bagh garden is positioned at the north- eastern side of the Railway station. A rich museum has been constructed in the summer resort of the emperor Ranjit Singh. The beautiful Ram Bagh garden showcases various sports equipments and a collection of astonishing flowers. The Ram Bagh gateway is another grand allurement of Ram Bagh.
The riveting Ram Bagh Garden is a classical example of modern lavishness. People can gaze at the splendor of the garden during 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nevertheless, the garden remains closed on Sundays and Mondays.
If you have time on your hand, then don’t miss the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Khalsa College (1892) and Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar.
The famous Gurdwara called Sargarahi, built by British in 1902, commemorates the Anglo- Afghan battle and the deceased Sikh soldiers.
All the sought after tourists’ spots of Amritsar can be accessed on a single day. But, travelers who have a plan of visiting the Taran Taran and Dera Baba Nanak, have to stay here at Amritsar overnight.
Situated at a distance of 16 km away towards the western side of the city, Ramtirth, was the birth place of Lab and Kush, twin sons of Sri Ram. It is said that the Ashram of Valmiki was in Ramtirth. The 4 days long festival, held during the full moon of the month of Karthik, pulls huge crowds from different places.
Taran Taran, the residence of Guru Arjan, is located at a distance of 24 km away towards the south- eastern side of Ramtirth and is a renowned Sikh pilgrimage spots.
Guru Arjan had built Darbar Sahib Gurdwara during 1596. It is a commemorative of 4th Sikh Guru Ram Das. The nearby Sarovar was excavated by the ruler Ranjit Singh. The water of the Sarovar has a curative power. Plenty of leprosy patients, hence, come here to swim and cross the Sarovar.
Dera Baba Nanak, located right at the border of India and Pakistan, is only 35 km away towards the western side of Amritsar. This is the holy place where Guru Nanak Devji, the promoter of the Sikh Religion, had stayed for 12 long years before his death. The neighboring Tahil Sahib Gurdwara is another coveted destination for the hordes of Sikh pilgrims and tourists. He took his last breath in Kartarpur Gurdwara which is now located in Pakistan. The attire (Chola) which was used by Guru Nanak during his trip to Mecca and Medina is still kept in the Dera Baba Nanak.
Trains from Amritsar railway station travel to Dera Baba Nanak Gurdwara every day.
The consecrated Damdama Sahib, built on the southern banks of the Bipasha River, was erected during 1630 as a cenotaph to remember the sweet memories of the win of the battle, held between Sikh and Mughal during 1587 and is another holy pilgrimage spot for the Sikh community.
The residence of the 9th Guru called Tegh Bahadur is associated with plenty of mythological tales and is located in Bakala Village. During that particular period, the Akaal Takht was built here on the holy land. Later on, it was converted into the Dewani Khas of the Guru. A primeval well is still there to draw attention of many. The judgment sessions of Masands are also held in Damdama Sahib. Devotees and poor people congregate at the Damdama Sahib to take Prasadam in Langar. The place can be easily and comfortably accessed from Amritsar, Gurudaspur and Batala.
How to reach Amritsar: Countless numbers of Sikh pilgrims and swarms of holiday makers access Amritsar by train from different parts of India. The Amritsar railway station is a prime station which is connected by trains to Kolkata, Durgapur, Lucknow, Patna, Varanasi, Bareilly, Mumbai Central, Delhi, Bhopal, Pathankot, Ludhiana and many more places. Buses are also plying to Delhi, Jammu, Manali, Dharamsala, Hardwar and Pathankot from the bus stand of Amritsar. Wagah border is also easily accessed from the city of Amritsar by bus or by car.
Where to stay at Amritsar: Tourist Guest House, Hotel Tourist Bureau, Hotel Atoria, S S Residency, Hotel Blue Moon, Hotel Golden Tower, Hotel Shiraj Continental, Hotel Ashok Plaza and M K Hotel.
Check our hotel booking links below for photos, rates, options and online bookings.