A global tourist destination, Amritsar today is one of the most visited cities in all of India. Popular as the holy city of Sikhs, Amritsar has in store for everyone including the truth seekers, history buffs, photography enthusiasts, shoppers and foodies.
Here, we present before you some of the most amazing facts about Amritsar. We bet you did not know all of them even if you have been to the city before!
1. The foundation stone of the Golden Temple was laid by a Sufi saint.
It was Guru Arjan Dev, the 5th Sikh Guru who asked his dear friend Pir Mian Mir of Lahore to lay the foundation stone of a temple that was to be open to all castes, creeds & climes.
2. This temple came to be known as Harminder Sahib and was rebuilt by legendary King Ranjit Singh post its destruction by the attack of Ahmed Shah Abdali, ruler of Afghanistan.
3. Indo-Pak Wagah Border in Amritsar gets about 30,000 visitors on a daily basis.
On weekends, the numbers go up.
4. Often referred to as the Berlin Wall of Asia, Wagah Border is the one and only border road crossing between India and Pakistan, the two uneasy neighbors.
The road crossing is on the historic Grand Trunk Road that connects Amritsar in India and Lahore in Pakistan.
5. Early childhood of Luv-Kush, sons of Lord Rama, was spent in the area now known as Amritsar.
Luv-Kush, along with their mother Sita lived here at the ashram of Sage Balmiki who wrote the Ramayana.
6. When Lord Rama performed Ashwamedha Yagna, a horse was sent out to claim territories under the rule of the king; Luv-Kush caught the horse in Amritsar and defeated an entire army, including Lakshmana; they even tied up Lord Hanuman at this place!
These two young lads later realized that they had fought their blood relatives. Nectar (amrit) was brought to heal the unconscious army and Lakshmana.
A portion of this nectar was dumped in the soil and believers hold that this is how the area came to be known as Amritsar.
When a city was founded here by Guru Ramdas, the area came to be known as Ramdaspur and few decades later, the pond excavated by the Sikhs was named as Amritsar. With time, the city itself came to be known as Amritsar.
7. Shree Durgiana Tirath in Amritsar is a focal point of faith for Hindus; the Hanuman temple here, believers hold, has the foot prints of Lord Hanuman himself.
After Ayodhya, this place, it is said, is dearest to Lord Hanuman.
8. Famous personalities such as Akshay Kumar, Kiran Bedi, Jeetender, Rajesh Khanna and of course Kapil Sharma were born in Amritsar.
9. The Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar still has walls with visible bullet marks from the infamous massacre.
More than a 1000 peaceful protestors, including the women and children, were mercilessly killed on the orders of a British army officer. Twice as many were seriously wounded and provided with no immediate care.
10. The Khalsa College Campus is one of the most impressive building complexes in Amritsar.
Once you are here, you can’t help marveling at it.
11. It was at the Kahiur-ud-din Masjid in Amritsar that Tootie-e-Hind Shah Attaullah Bukhari had first raised his voice against the British.
A political leader and religious scholar, Syed Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari is believed to have played an important role in germination of great anti-British feelings in Indian Muslims.
12. The magnificent statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the Rambagh Gardens (formerly known as Company Garden) is an inspiration for every generation.
You won’t find another statue like this.
The gardens were once part of King’s summer palace. Now, the palace has been converted into a museum. The museum, among other relics, also houses a replica of the famous Kohinoor diamond.
13. The Kaiser Bagh Park in Amritsar dates back to 1845-50’s.
The gardens have the most unique architectural blend of the Mughal and the Gothic styles. You have to see it to believe it.
14. Approximately, 50 to 100 thousand people dine at the free community kitchen of Golden Temple on a daily basis.
More than 90% of people who cook, clean and perform numerous duties here are volunteers!
15. Everyone, regardless of their caste, creed or religion can dine at the dining hall of the Golden Temple; the food is for everyone!
Regardless of whether you are head of a state, a commoner or anyone else, you have to sit on the floor as equals here.
16. The lassi at Ahuja’s near Hindu College is the best; when in Amritsar, do not miss out on this yummy drink.
Locals believe that it cannot be replicated elsewhere on the planet!
17. Amritsar takes lead in training young girls and boys in gatka – one of the oldest martial art forms to have originated in India.
18. The phulkari shawl, available in Amritsar, is a must buy for women when in the city.
The patterns and the designs are so unique to Amritsar and all of Punjab.
19. The Jubi Tree located in the north-west corner of the Golden Temple is more than 450 years old.
Believers hold that tying a strip of cloth to this tree can bless a couple with a child.
20. The Kesar Ka Dhaba in Shastri Markets gets offers to open branches in London, Paris, and Berlin every year.
The owners are happy with the premises and the food that they have been serving for over a century.
Lachchedaar paranthas, maa ki dal, and palak paneer – these are the best in the world here!
21. The original ‘Cream Chicken’ originated at Chawlas’ Chicken in Amritsar.
You won’t find it anywhere else like you do it here on Lawrence Road.
22. The Harike Wetland here is the largest in North India.
It is a bird-watchers paradise.
23. The Amritsari machchi is known even to the Obamas.
You will find the best at Makhan da Dhabha at Lawrence Road.
24. The Kalianwala Khoo or the Well in Amritsar is the location where dead bodies of rebel soldiers were thrown.
25. The Samadhi of Sharvan is the oldest heritage sight in Amritsar.
They say that Sharvan lies buried on the banks of the rivulet.
26. Unlike the stairs in most temples, the stairs at the entrance of Golden Temple go down.
It has been done deliberately to instill a sense of humbleness in all visitors.
27. In the sacred pool of Harminder Sahib is a fish with a gold ring in its nose.
If you happen to see it, luck is coming your way in truckloads.
28. The foot bath at the entrance of Golden Temple actually has warm water in the winters for the devotees to wash their feet before going for darshan.