The city has highest temporal seat of Sikhs "The Harimandir Sahib" popularly known as Golden Temple. Amritsar's central walled city has narrow zig zag streets mostly developed in the 17th and 18th century.
The Golden Temple and its water reservoir are a living symbol of the Sikhs spiritual and historical traditions and a source of inspiration to the Sikh community ever since its foundation.
In the Sikh tradition service to the mankind is regarded as the supreme worship. This is visible in the focused devout means of the devotees who are engaged within the precincts of the Golden Temple, cleaning the temple floor and serving the visitors on rotation basis.
The main temple complex houses the sacred Ad Granth Scripture, which is daily loudly recited. At any time, the complex is full of hundreds to thousands of devotees from all over India. The Sikhs are very proud of their religion and history, and if you display some inclination to learn a bit more about the Sikhs, then many will be very happy to show you around and explain to you the intricacies of the Sikh religion.
Almost open 24 hours (6 AM to 2 AM), one needs to cover the head and walk around barefoot. Bandannas are freely available at the entrance of the Golden Temple to cover your head. The giant pool is called Amrit Sarovar. The museum here has a large collection of paintings depicting the gruesome ways in which the Sikhs were martyred. The convention is that every Sikh person is supposed to spend one week in their lifetime as a volunteer here. These will spot easily and if you wish so, can join with them in performing the chores.
The city is a peculiar example of an introverted planning system wit unique areas called Katras. The Katras are self styled residential units that provided unique defence system during attacks on the city.
A short walk of 5 min from Golden Temple, Jallianwala Bagh is the famous sight of massacre in Amritsar in the year 1919 by the British. Amongst the few major events of the British Raj and the Indian struggle for independence, this massacre occupies an important position and is considered a milestone.
The British Army led by Gen Dyer opened fire without warning and provocation on an unarmed gathering of men, women and children on April 13, 1919, the festival day of Baisakhi. As this ground has only one narrow gate for entry and exit and is surrounded by high walls, people couldn't save themselves and a few jumped in the well to death in order to escape the bullets.
10 min of firing, 1650 rounds, 1579 killed. Even today, the bullet holes are visible on the walls and the adjoining buildings.
Amritsar is particularly nearer and dearer to Hindus as it is believed that the Lov-Kush along with their mother Mata Sita spent their early childhood in the ashram of Bhagwan Maharishi Balmiki ji in the land of Amritsar.
Partition of British India into India and Pakistan had the most profound effect on the demographics, economics, social structure and culture of Amritsar.
The state of Punjab was divided between India and Pakistan and Amritsar became a border city, often on the front lines of India-Pakistan wars. Prior to partition, the Muslim league wanted to incorporate Amritsar into Pakistan because of the Amritsar's proximity to Lahore (a distance of 30 miles) and a nearly 50% Muslim population, but the city became part of India. Amritsar and Lahore experienced some of the worst communal riots during the partition of India.
Amritsar is well known for its food. Dhabas such as Bhrawan da Dhaba and Kesar da Dhaba are extremely popular with locals and tourists.
A small town about 27 km away from Amritsar on the border of India and Pakistan, this border outpost has found much publicity due to its elaborate daily flag raising and lowering ceremony. Both India and Pakistan synchronise these events thus communicating a general feeling of goodwill, and this creates a fervour amongst the people who have assembled on either side of the border. Read more about this