Amritsar: The Golden City

BY Seema Shukla 

Amritsar is the second largest city of the Indian state of Punjab, colloquially popular as Ambarsar and historically known as R?md?spur. It is situated 217 km northwest of the state capital Chandigarh, 455 km northwest of the national capital New Delhi and 47 km northeast of Lahore, Pakistan. The Wagah Border (the Indo-Pak Border) is only 28 km away from this city.

The Wagah Border, the boundaries between India and Pakistan make it more special. The Wagah Border Ceremony, which is also known as the Beating Retreat Ceremony, is held every day before sunset. This ceremony includes lowering the flags of both countries and closing the international gates between the two countries.

Besides Wagah Border Amritsar has several attractions like Jallianwala Bagh, Partition Museum and the Golden Temple. Amritsar has been chosen as one of the heritage cities under the HRIDAY scheme of the Indian Government. ‘Golden Temple’, one of Sikhism’s most spiritually significant and most-visited gurudwaras makes it the center of attraction.

Another tourist place of Amritsar is Jallianwala Bagh, it is a public garden that was established by the Indian government in 1951 to commemorate the massacre of thousands of innocent people by British forces on April 13, 1919. Thousands of peaceful celebrators were killed on the orders of General Dyer as they gathered for a peaceful celebration of Baisakhi.

The Partition Museum located in the town hall in Amritsar is a public museum. It works as the central repository of materials, stories and documents related to pre and post-partition riots of India and Pakistan. This museum is a part of the newly inaugurated Heritage Street at Amritsar, which connects Golden Temple and the Town Hall.  Partition Museum exhibits newspaper clippings, photographs as well as personal items that were donated by people who had witnessed and lived during the Partition. This Museum was established as a world-class physical museum dedicated to the memories of the partition of the sub-continent in 1947. The museum is devoted primarily to the victims & survivors of the partitions.

Harmandir Sahib, popularly known as ‘the Golden Temple’, is designed by, the Fifth Nanak, Guru Arjan Sahib with the idea of creating a central place of worship for the Sikhs. The land for the site was acquired by the earlier Guru Ram Das Sahib on payment or free of cost from the landowners of native villages. The gurudwara is built on a 67ft. square platform in the center of the Sarovar (tank). The golden temple itself is 40.5ft. square. The construction work of the town and Sarovar (the tank) and the town started simultaneously in 1570 and was completed in 1577 A.D. It is the holiest shrine in all of Sikhism and its stunning golden architecture, Amrit Sarovar, which surrounds the glistening central shrine and daily Langar (community kitchen) attracts many visitors and devotees every day.

Other attractions of this city are wooden chessboards and the chess pieces manufacturing industry. Amritsar is a very beautiful low-cost destination for tourists.

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