History of Amritsar – City of Peace and Sacrifices

Amritsar is a historical and one of the largest city of India’s Northern state Punjab. It lies about 27km to the east of Pakistan Border and is the closest city to Lahore (Pakistan). It is big commercial and transportation hub in Punjab.

How Amritsar was founded and established as a city?

Amritsar was founded by 4th Guru of Sikhs ‘Guru Ramdas’ in 1577. The historical name of Amritsar is Ramdaspur, which was derived from name ‘Chakk Ramdas’. The name Amritsar is derived from the Holy ‘Pool of Nectar’, which surrounds the building of ‘Golden Temple’. The word Amritsar is a combination of 2 cultural words ‘Amrit’ as ‘Nectar’ & ‘Sar’ as ‘Pool’. Golden Temple is spiritual & cultural place for Sikh Religion.

‘Golden Temple’ is a place of worship for Sikhs and is also origin of Sikhism. The original plan to form this city was created by Guru Amardas, the 3rd Guru of Sikhs. Later on the guidelines were given to Guru Ramdas to execute the project. Guru Ramdas acquired this land in 1574 from Akbar (Mughal Emperor) to start mining of this Holy Pool. History says that the land was bought by Guru Ramdas by paying Rs.700. All the arrangements were made to execute the project with the help of some intelligent & experienced assistants.

After mining of the pool, the place became the Headquarter of Sikhs. The project was going smooth and Guru Ramdas personally supervised it. A small market was established around to fulfil the daily basic requirements.

Guru ArjanDev, the 5th Guru convinced the idea to build a place of worship in the centre of this Holy pool. Then a Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) was established in the centre of the Pool. The unbricked sides of the pool were bricked and stairs were made on the sides. Unlike other temples having one gate for entrance & Exit, Guru Arjan made it open from all four sides. The vision behind to make four gates was to make it accessible to every person with any caste, sex or religion. This place was revenue free and exempted from the taxes by Mughal government. Amritsar city is well connected to major cities of India by Road, Rail & Air.

Golden Temple Image
Golden Temple Amritsar (Source: Flickr)

History of attack on Golden Temple Amritsar – Operation Blue Star (1984)

Another violence took place at Amritsar was in 1984. This was a political clash actually, when troops of Indian Army attacked Golden Temple complex on the orders of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. This violent political clash is known as the ‘Operation Blue Star’. Many innocent Sikhs were killed in Golden Temple complex for no reason. The purpose of this operation was to evacuate extremists from the complex. Reports says that more than 1200 people killed in this operation. This attack damaged Akal Takhat, which was gradually repaired after the attack.

Operation Bluestar Image
Operation Bluestar 1984 Amritsar (Source: Flickr)

Jallianwala Bagh Massacre – Another incident in Amritsar History

In 1919, the incident happened which made the city silent was Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. This happened when the British Government was ruling the country. On 13th April 1919, more than 20,000 people gathered at Jallianwala Bagh for general meeting and to celebrate Baisakhi. Baisakhi is one of the major festival celebrated in Punjab. On the orders of senior British military officer Reginald Edward Harry Dyer, the troops fired & killed more than 350 unarmed Indians. The marks of bullets still can be seen on the walls of site.

Jallianwala Bagh Image
Jallianwala Bagh Amritsar (Source: Flickr)

1947 Partition Riots

The riots took place in 1947, when British Govt. divided India into two parts (India & Pakistan). Due to this partition, Punjab too was divided into two separate countries. It left huge impact in the history of Amritsar, as Amritsar was now the border between India & Pakistan. Many families got separated and many innocent people killed in these Anti Muslim & Sikh riots for no reason. This border is popular with the name of Wagah Border. Most of the people who come to Amritsar visits Wagah Border to see retreat ceremony, which happens every day in evening.

Other tourist destinations in Amritsar

Apart from Golden Temple, the other historical places in Amritsar are:

Historical & Tourist places in Amritsar

Gurudwaras in Amritsar

  • Baba Atal Sahib
  • Baba Deep Singh Shaheed (Shahid Ganj)
  • Mata Kaulsar Sahib
  • Sri Akal Takhat Sahib
  • Bhai Shalo da Tobha
  • Bibeksar Sahib
  • Guru ka Bagh
  • Guru ka Mahal
  • Qila Sri Lohgarh Sahib
  • Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib Ji (Village Valla)
  • Pipli Sahib
  • Plaha Sahib
  • Ramsar Sahib
  • Sangrana Sahib
  • Sanh Sahib
  • Santokhsar Sahib