History Of Amritsar - The Land Of Peace And Patriotism
Amritsar, colloquially known as Ambarsar and historically known as Ramdaspur is located in the Punjab state of India. It derives its name from Amrit Sarovar which was built by Guru Ram Das in the village of Tung. Guru Ram Das believed that the waters of the lake had healing powers. The land was bought by him for a small amount of 700 rupees and a temple complex was built around it. Gradually, the village developed and came to be known as Chakk Ram Das which finally became Amritsar that literally translates to pool of nectar.
Historical Relevance Of Amritsar
Amritsar is the heart and soul of the Sikhs and the largest spiritual and cultural centre of Sikh religion. Alongside, being an important religious attraction, the city also holds historical significance and a proud past.
Golden Temple, also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib is the focal point of Sikh faith. It attracts a large number of tourists from all over the world. Founded by Guru Ramdas and completed by Guru ArjanDev, it is one of the holiest places of worship in India. The temple has the holy lake- Amrit Sarovar located in the heart of it. Golden Temple holds its significance for the fact that the first version of 'Guru Granth Sahib', which is regarded as the holiest book of Sikhism was installed here.
Furthermore, Guru Gobind Singh- the tenth guru of Sikhs laid the establishment of 'Khalsapanth' (which is the religious community of Sikhism worldwide), on the day of Baisakhi. Therefore, the temple also denotes the famous Baisakhi festival and celebrations are organized here on a large grand scale and are a big affair. The sacred lake situated in the centre of the temple is popular for its therapeutic properties and it is believed to cure several ailments.
Jallianwala Bagh is yet another landmark in Amritsar which is infamous for the tragic massacre. Back in 1919, the British army opened fire on a large gathering of Indians upon the orders of General Dyer leading to a death of thousands of people. Some of the bullet holes are still visible on the walls and as well as in the well, in which hundreds of people jumped and killed themselves in order to be saved from the bullets.
The area today has been converted into a neatly cut, well-kept park, which houses a large memorial for the massacre.
A flame is lit at all times in the remembrance of the victims. The park holds a solemn importance in the history of India.
A light and sound show is held here every evening and is a must visit experience.
Wagah Border is the border gate between India and Pakistan. Every evening, a ceremony known as Beating Retreat is held which is a show of strength of both the India and Pakistan soldiers. Originally started to promote goodwill between the two nations, it is a blustering parade of the military soldiers. As the sun sets, the border gates are opened and the flags of both the nations are lowered in retreat.
This is followed by a handshake between soldiers from either side. The ceremony ends with the folding of the flags and closing of the gates. It is a ceremonial spectacle and not to be missed if you're visiting Amritsar. The enthusiastic show leaves you with a positive sense of patriotism in your heart. Ram Tirth is a cultural temple which was once the ashram of Saint Valmiki. It is believed to be the place where the Hindu goddess Mata Sita sought refuge after God Ram deserted her.
It was here that she gave birth to Luv and Kush, her two sons. The temple has a well where Sita used to take her bath and has inscriptions all over from the holy book of Ramayana. There is also a tank which is believed to have been dug by Hanuman around the temple premises.
The tank is popularly known as Mata Sita di Baorii. People believe that a dip in the tank cleanses their souls and frees them of their sins. Another attraction is the four-day village fair held in the temple every fortnight. It includes magic shows, acrobat tricks, merry-go-rounds, and exhibition of wild animals and is not to be missed. Every full moon night, people also light diyas and float them in the tank to wash off their sins. Central Sikh Museum displays the Sikh history from beginning to the present. Located in the Golden Temple complex itself, it is a home to myriad paintings of Sikh gurus, warriors, saints and leaders.
It also has a collection of ancient coins, manuscripts and olden days arms; in addition to the wooden comb owned by Guru Gobind Singh. The museum also boasts of a magnificent library. A visit to the Golden Temple is incomplete if you miss out on the museum. The breathtaking landscape and the very aura of the place is sure to enthral you. Visiting the Golden temple is an experience beyond words. The peace and solace this place offers has no comparison. You can try the free langar meal and stay at the temple's gurdwaras. In addition to being a religious and traditional hub, Amritsar is known for its impeccable beauty, vibrant culture and delectable food. The locals are humble and friendly people and will offer you all the help you want and help make your experience memorable. Other than this, Amritsar also has another eye- catching touristy places including Durgiyana Temple, Sikh Parliament, Harike Wetland etc. which are equal sites of delight.