Amritsar – The Golden City
Amritsar or the city of the nectar pool was founded by the fourth Sikh saint, Guru Ram Dass. One of the most revered places for the Sikhs since the founding of the Sikh religion, Amritsar has with time developed into an industrially developed city with several textile and machinery units being set up over time, which form one of the major parts of its economy besides the mainstay agriculture. Commemorated for events like the Jalianwala Bagh massacre in which thousands of innocent men, women, and children were killed by British soldiers, the city is best known as a place of pilgrimage, being the house of the magnificent Har Mandir Sahib, better known as the Golden Temple.
Climate & Best time to Visit
The climate in Amritsar is typical of the north Indian region, being very hot in summers and extremely cold in winters. The monsoon season receives a good amount of rainfall. While the place can be visited any time of the year, the best time would be the months of October/November, which is also the time of Guru Nanak Jayanti (the birthday of the first Sikh saint, Guru Nanak Dev). While heavy woolens are recommended during the winters, cotton clothing is appropriate during summers.
Religious Places in Amritsar
The most important holy site in Amritsar is the Golden Temple, built by Guru Arjan Dev. The golden temple witnessed numerous attacks by Muslim rulers, being destroyed many times, yet rebuilt each time by the Sikh devotees in an even better way. During the eighteenth century reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the dome of the temple was covered with 100 kg of pure gold, thus lending it the name Golden Temple.
Dedicated to Goddess Durga, the ancient temple is an important Hindu pilgrimage. The huge temple consists of beautiful murals on its walls and an opulent idol of Goddess Durga. The temple is situated outside the Lohagarh gate of the old city.
Situated just 22 km from Amritsar, Tarn Taran is a holy Sikh shrine built in remembrance of Guru Ram Dass. The structure resembles the golden temple in its architecture and draws numerous tourists and pilgrims.
Other Tourist Attractions
The Jallianwala Bagh is a cruel reminder of how thousands of innocent Indian men, women, and children were killed by general Dyer and a group of British soldiers while in a peaceful demonstration against British policies during the pre-independence period. The event took place on April 13, 1919, and since, the place has been converted into a national monument with its walls still bearing the bullet marks from that fateful day.
The sprawling Ram Bagh gardens house the opulent palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The beautiful architecture of the palace draws awe and admiration from the visitors. A museum situated inside houses a rare collection of miniature paintings, old coins, weapons, and other artifacts relating to the past.
Built during the early 19th century by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the fort was intended to protect the residents in case of attacks from the neighboring Afghan infiltrators. The massive walls of the fort and the special defensive techniques ensured complete protection from the enemy. At present, the structure is under the control of the Indian paramilitary forces.
Amritsar boasts of a number of quality hotels that provide the best in luxury and comfort for its guests. Among the best in Amritsar are Hotel Kumar International (3 stars, situated on Albert Road just 15 km from Airport & 0.5 km from railway station), Hotel Royal Castle (3 stars, situated on Albert Road just 9 km from Airport, 0.5 km from railway station & 3 km from bus stand), M.K. Hotel (4 stars, situated in Ranjit Avenue just 7 km from Airport, 3 km from railway station & 4 km from bus stand), Mohan International Hotel (4 stars, situated on Albert Road just 15 km from Airport & 0.5 km from railway station) and Ritz Plaza (3 stars, situated on The Mall just 11 km from Airport & 0.5 km from railway station & 4 km from bus stand).
By Air: The Rajasansi airport is situated at a distance of 10 km from the main city. Indian Airlines and other private flight operators provide regular services between Amritsar and other major Indian cities including Delhi and Mumbai. Taxis and local buses are easily available from the airport to reach Amritsar city.
By Rail: Amritsar railway station connects the city with Delhi and other major Indian cities through regular express, super-fast, and passenger trains. Several trains operate daily between Delhi and Amritsar. The journey takes about 10 hours.
By Road: Punjab State Road Transport Corporation (PSRTC) operates regular services between Amritsar and other cities of Punjab. Buses are also available from Delhi to Amritsar.