Golden Temple Amritsar
The Golden Temple, located in the city of Amritsar in the state of Punjab is a place of great beauty and sublime peacefulness. Originally a small lake in the midst of a quiet forest, the site has been a meditation retreat for wandering mendicants and sages since deep antiquity. The Buddha is known to have spent time at this place in contemplation. Two thousand years after Buddha’s time, another philosopher-saint came to live and meditate by the peaceful lake. This was Guru Nanak (1469-1539), the founder of the Sikh religion. After the passing away of Guru Nanak, his disciples continued to frequent the site; over the centuries it became the primary sacred shrine of the Sikhs. The lake was enlarged and structurally contained during the leadership of the fourth Sikh Guru (Ram Dass, 1574-1581), and during the leadership of the fifth Guru (Arjan, 1581-1606), the Hari Mandir, or Temple of God was built. From the early 1600s to the mid-1700s the sixth through tenth Sikh Gurus were constantly involved in defending both their religion and their temple against Muslim armies. On numerous occasions the temple was destroyed by the Muslims, and each time was rebuilt more beautifully by the Sikhs. From 1767 onwards, the Sikhs became strong enough militarily to repulse invaders. Peace returned to the Hari Mandir.
The temple’s architecture draws on both Hindu and Muslim artistic styles yet represents a unique coevolution of the two. During the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839), Hari Mandir was richly ornamented with marble sculptures, golden gilding, and large quantities of precious stones. Within the sanctuary, on a jewel-studded platform, lies the Adi Grantha, the sacred scripture of the Sikhs. This scripture is a collection of devotional poems, prayers, and hymns composed by the ten Sikh gurus and various Muslim and Hindu saints. Beginning early in the morning and lasting until long past sunset, these hymns are chanted to the exquisite accompaniment of flutes, drums, and stringed instruments. Echoing across the serene lake, this enchantingly beautiful music induces a delicate yet powerful state of trance in the pilgrims strolling leisurely around the marble concourse encircling the pool and temple. An underground spring feeds the sacred lake, and throughout the day and night pilgrims immerse themselves in the water, a symbolic cleansing of the soul rather than an actual bathing of the body. Next to the temple complex are enormous pilgrims’ dormitories and dining halls where all persons, irrespective of race, religion, or gender, are lodged and fed for free.
How to reach Golden Temple Amritsar
Amritsar is located in Punjab. Countless tourists visit this small district either on Pilgrimage or on a leisure tour. Amritsar is connected to all major cities of India by a fine network of railways, roadways and airways.
By Air: The airport at Amritsar named Raja Sani International Airport offers excellent services. The airport is well connected by other parts of the country by regular flights. Now Jet Airways, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Air India also offer flights to Amritsar from Delhi, Birmingham and London.
By Rail: Amritsar is directly connected to Amritsar via rail route. It takes about 8 to 10 hours to reach Amritsar by train.
By Road: Grand Trunk Karnal Road connects Delhi to Amritsar. Regular buses are available from I.S.B.T. Delhi to Amritsar. You can choose from local, semi deluxe, deluxe and super deluxe buses offered by bus station.
If you want to reach Amritsar from places other than Delhi, then you have to change your bus at a midway destination and then board again in the corresponding bus, train or airplane.
Top Tourist Places in Amritsar
Durgiana Temple (Lakshmi Narain Temple)
Built in the third decade of the 20th Century it echoes, not the traditional Hindu temple architecture, but that of the Golden Temple and, in a similar manner rises from the midst of a tank and has canopies and the central dome in the style of the Sikh temple. One of the greatest reformers and political leaders of resurgent India, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, laid its foundation stone. It is a well-known repository of Hindu scriptures
The international border between India and Pakistan. The pomp and pageantry of the Beating Retreat and the Change of Guard within handshaking distance of the Indian and Pakistani forces makes for a most charming spectacle.
Wagah, an army outpost on Indo-Pak border – between Amritsar and Lahore, is an elaborate complex of buildings, roads and barriers on both sides. The daily highlight is the evening “Beating the Retreat” ceremony. Soldiers from both countries march in perfect drill, going through the steps of bringing down their respective national flags. As the sun goes down, nationalistic fervour rises and lights are switched on marking the end of the day amidst thunderous applause.
Jallian Wala Bagh
The memorial at this site commemorates the 2000 Indians who were killed or wounded, shot indiscriminately by the British under the command of Gen Michael O”Dyer on April13, 1919 while participating in a peaceful public meeting. This was one of the major incidents of India’s freedom struggle.The story of this appaling massacre is told in the Martyr’s Gallery at the site. A section of wall with bullet marks still visible is preserved along with the memorial well, in which some people jumped to escape. “The impossible men of India shall rise and liberate their mother land”, declared Mahatma Gandhi, after the Jallian Wala massacre. “This disproportionate severity of punishment inflicted upon the unfortunate people and method of carrying it out is without parallel in the history of civilized govt.” wrote Rabindra Nath Tagore the noble laureate while returning knighthood.
Ram Bagh a beautiful garden an accustomed listener to the Neighs of thousand horses, announcing the arrival of the statesman of the century Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) the Lion of Punjab, has in its heart the summer Palace of this great ruler. Maintenance free inbuilt cooling system designed in the Palace exhibits the architectural excellence and invokes a keen interest.The king of his time brought local chieftains under his control and virtually finished any eventuality of possible attacks on the kingdom raised by him. To commemorate the memory of his velour Ram Bagh on its one end has a lively statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh saddled on a horse in a winsome posture.
The garden was named by the ruler himself as a tribute to Guru Ram Das, the founder of the city. Now the summer palace of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh has been converted into a museum which speaks volumes on his times.On display are weapons dating back to Mughal times, portraits of ruling houses of Punjab and a replica of diamond “Kohinoor”. In those days the garden was approached by a huge fortified gate which still exists in its original form and is just on the periphery of the garden.
Located 11 Km West of Amritsar on Chogawan road, dates back to the period of Ramayana, Rishi Valmiki’s hermitage. The place has an ancient tank and many temples. A hut marks the site where Mata Sita gave birth to Luv & Kush and also, still extant are Rishi Valmiki’s hut and the well with stairs where Mata Sita used to take her bath. The Bedis of Punjab (Guru Nanak Dev , the founder Prophet of Sikhism was a Bedi) trace their descent from Kush and Sodhis (the 10th Prophet of Sikhism, Guru Gibind Singh was a Sodhi) from Luv. A four day fair, since times immemorial is held here starting on the full moon night in November. 16 Kilometres west on Choganwan road is Ram Tirath, commemorating Maharishi Balmik Ji´s heritage.
It is another heritage sight built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh around which are sewn many tales and legends. Situated near the villages of Daoka and Dhanoa Kalan right on the Wagha border, Pul Kanjari is about 35 kms. Both from Amritsar & Lahore. The Maharaja would often rest and leisure here in the baradari while passing by along with his royal troop and retinues. Despite a ruined fort and a baoli-a bathing pool – this heritage sight has a temple, a Gurudwara and a mosque which bespeak of the secular concerns of the Maharaja. The inside of the dome on the corner of the baoli enshrines a number of scenes and sights from the Hindu scriptures and the Raj Darbar.These frescoes are laced with floral frames.
Samadhi of Guru Angad Dev Ji:
About 30 km south east from Amritsar, and within easy reach from Goindwal Sahib is a Samadhi of the second Guru. It was built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1815 A.D.
Jama Masjid Khairuddin:
built by Mohd. Khairuddin in 1876, this masjid is a place of architectural beauty situated in the Hall Bazar. This is the holy place from where a call against the British rule was given by Tootie-e-Hind, Shah Attaullah Bukhari.
Samadh of Shravan:
About 6 Kilometres from Ajnala near Jastarwal (earlier known as Dashrathwal) is located one of the oldest heritage spots in Amritsar. It belongs to the Ramayana period a legend has it that Shravan lies buried here after the fell from the arrow of King Dashrath, the Lord of Ayodhya. The Samadh is situated on the banks of an old rivulet (Purani Dhab ).Shravan had taken his blind parents on a wide-ranging pilgrimage by cradling them on his shoulder in a wooden device.
The city has played a stellar role in the liberation of India from the British clutches. Freedom fighters like Madan Lal Dhingra, Ras Bihari Bose, S.Kartar Singh Sarabha, Dr. Satya Pal and Dr. Saif-ud-din Kitchlu are house-hold names in Amritsar.
When Mangal Pande blew the bugle of rebellion against the British in 1857, its echoes and shock-waves were felt in Amritsar also. A platoon of 400 soldier stationed at Lahore rebelled against the British Government by fleeing their barracks. The deserted soldiers bravely swam across the flooded Ravi and reached Ajnala.The information was received by Mr.Fredric Cooper, the then Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar.On his order, all of them were put in a coop-like room where almost 200 soldiers died of asphyxia. The rest of them were brutally shot dead the next morning and their dead bodies thrown in the well which is known as the Kalianwala Khoo in Tehsil Ajnala.
The Historical Banyan Tree ( Shaheedi Bohr):
This historical tree with massive girth and lushgreen canopy stands majestically in the Namdhari Shaheedi Samark against the majestic back drop of the northern boundary of Ram Bagh.Four Kookas were hanged from this tree by the British Government in 1871.The Kookas were hanged from this tree by the British Government in 1871 The Kookas were hanged because they had reacted violently against the hawking of beef around the Golden Temple.