Amritsar is one of the largest cities of the Punjab state in India. The city origin lies in the village of Tung, and was named after the lake founded by the fourth Sikh Guru Ram Das in 1574 on land bought by him for 700 rupees from the owners of the village of Tung. Earlier, Guru Ram Das had begun building Santokhsar Sarovar, near the village of Sultanwind in 1564 (according to one source in 1570). It could not be completed before 1588. In 1574, Guru Ram Das built his residence and moved to this place. At that time, it was known as Guru Da Chakk. (Later, it came to be known as Chakk Ram Das).
Amritsar’s central walled city has narrow streets mostly developed in the 17th and 18th century. The city is a peculiar example of an introverted planning system with unique areas called Katras. The Katras are self-styled residential units that provided unique defence system during attacks on the city.
Jallian Wala Bagh
This place noted for its most notorious massacre under British rule. It is 400 meters north of the Golden Temple. The British General Dyer was the Lieutenant Governor of the province in 1919. He banned all meetings and demonstrations led by Indians against the economical set back by World War I. On 13 April 1919, pilgrims poured into Amritsar to celebrate the Baisakhi festival, a holiday in the Sikh calendar. In the afternoon thousands of people gathered at Jallian Wala Bagh to celebrate the Baisakhi. This ground surrounded by high walls on all sides has only a narrow alley for access. General Dyer personally led the troops to the sight and ordered his men to open fire without any warning. It resulted in the death of 379 and injured more than 1200. India was outraged by Dyer´s massacre. Gandhiji, called for a nation wide strike and started the Non-cooperation Movement, which became an important mile stone in the struggle for India´s Independence. Today this ground has been changed to a park and it has a pleasant garden. There is a narrow path between the houses which leads to the lawn of the park. At the entrance there is a memorial plaque which recounts the history. There is a well on the north side in which many people who tried to escape from the bullets were drowned, and remnants of walls have been preserved to show the bullet holes. At the east end of the garden there is a large memorial built in memory of those who died here.
This beautiful garden is named as a tribute to Guru Ram Das, the founder of the city. It is situated in the new part of town and has a museum in the summer palace built by the Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) the Lion of Punjab. The museum contains weapons dating back to Mughal times and some portraits of the ruling houses of the Punjab and a replica of the diamond ´Kohinoor´. To commemorate the memory of his valour Ram Bagh has a lively statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh saddled on a horse. It is closed on Wednesdays.
Summer place of Maharaja Ranjit Singh : Is situated in the middle of a beautiful garden called Ram bagh. This garden is laid out on the pattern of Shalimar Bagh at Lahore. Only its architecturally unique ´darshani deorhi´ has remained intact. A museum after the name of the Maharaja is set up here displaying oil paintings, miniatures, coins, abd weapons relating to the Sikh period.
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.