Places of Interest
Amritsar, literally meaning the 'Pool of the Nectar of Immortality', is one of the major cities of the Punjab state. The administrative headquarters of the Amritsar District, it is the major spiritual and cultural centre of Sikhs. The city, founded in 1577 by Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh Guru, is mostly inhabited by the Sikhs. Amritsar has grown from a sacred village pool into a spiritual centre of Sikh culture. The original pool site by which the Golden Temple is built was granted by the Mughal Emperor Akbar. In 1761 Ahmad Shah Durrani sacked the town and destroyed the temple, which was rebuilt in 1764. One of the ancient and charming cities of India, Amritsar is an important distribution centre of dry-fruits in the country. Apart from an important pilgrimage centre, the city is also famous for producing some exquisite items like carpets, fabrics, handicrafts etc.
Climate of Amritsar
Amritsar has an extreme type of climate with very hot summers and chilly winters. The region has four distinct seasons- the winter season (November to March), the summer season (April to June), monsoon season (July to September) and post- monsoon season (September to November). Summers can be as hot as 46 degrees. During winters, temperature may drop down to a minimum of - 3 degrees centigrade. The ideal time to visit Amritsar is between the months of October and March.
The Golden Temple or Harmandir Sahib is the holiest shrine for the people of Sikh religion. The temple was the main centre of the old Amritsar city, which is visited by the Sikh devotees from all parts of the world. Built between 1588 and 1601, the temple architecture is a combination of Hindu and Muslim styles.
The Park is situated close to the Golden Temple. It commemorates 2,000 Indians, who were killed or wounded by the British soldiers during a meeting.
Lal Mata Temple
Located at Rani Ka Bagh, this temple was developed by a grand old pious woman. Built on the lines of holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi in Jammu, the temple is thronged by a large number of devotees. This Hindu temple, was built to commemorate a bespectacled 20th century female Saint Lal Devi. Mata Temple is mostly visited by women wishing to have children.
Ram Tirath Temple
Situated on the outskirts of Amritsar, the temple is the birthplace of Lav and Kush. The sacred place for the Hindus is visited by a large number of people to get a glimpse of statues illustrating scenes from the mythological Ramayana.
Covering an area of 240 km, this beautifully laid out garden is a popular picnic spot in the city. The garden is home to many tropical and subtropical plants, a deer park, fountains and pond that attract the visitors.
Located about 25 kms south of Amritsar, this is an important Sikh tank. It is said that the tank has healing properties and corrects minor skin ailments.
Wagha Border, the final frontier is located about 26 kms from Amritsar. This is the only border crossing between India and neighbour country Pakistan. Every evening at sunset the parade takes place between the soldiers of India and Pakistan. It is a great moment to see the soldiers of both the countries in high enthusiasm and respect for each other.
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
Shopping in Amritsar is a memorable experience. The market places the lanes, the bazaars, the squares, the plazas-hum with activity. The main shopping areas are the Hall Bazar, Katra Jaimal Singh and Lawrence Road. The city offers traditional souvenirs along with modern brandwear at all locations. The main attraction however is the woolens, carpets and blankets, besides juttis and embroidered stuff. The bazaars of Amritsar offer a colourful range of traditional and modern wares from carpets, durries, kites, fireworks, bangles, shawls to cut-glass and woolen textiles. At Guru Bazaar, near the Golden Temple, each lane sells a different commodity.
Places around Amritsar
Vaishno Devi : 245 km from Amritsar.
Jammu : 199 km from Amritsar.
Manali : 415 km from Amritsar
Dharamsala : 187 km from Amritsar.
Shimla : 316 km from Amritsar.
Jalandhar : 84 km from Amritsar.
Chandiggarh : 205 km from Amritsar.
Ludhiana : 145 km from Amritsar.
Fairs and Festivals
Fairs and Festivals in Amritsar reflects the vibrant tradition of cultural extravaganza. Connoting different mythical and religious significance, the festivals and fairs of Amritsar are celebrated by the enthusiastic inhabitants of the place.
The land of Amritsar is enriched with many ancient customs that have evolved over a considerable period of time. Several renowned Sikh Gurus visited Amritsar from time to time thereby making it a holy land. Some of the notable festivals and fairs of Amritsar that held in this district of Punjab are:
Ram Tirath Fair
This fair is organized at Ram Tirath, a pilgrim spot of Amritsar and continues for five whole days in which there are arrangements of tulla floating, acrobat shows, wild animal exhibition, magic show etc. Basant Panchami at Chheharta Sahib â€“ this fair is conducted in the Chheharta Sahib Gurudwara of Amritsar and involves a kite playing custom.
This festival is celebrated by the people of Amritsar on 13th of April every year when they pay respect to their their religious traditions.
In the month of November and January, Guruparab is observed by the Sikh followers to offer prayers to the feet of their revered Masters in Amritsar
Hola Mohalla at Anandpur Sahib this festival is held every year to pay homage to Guru Gobind Singh
Lohri is mainly celebrated in the North Indian states of Punbaj, Haryana, and parts of Himachal Pradesh. Lohri is celebrated after the harvesting of the Rabi (winter) crops and give in to relaxing and enjoying the traditional folk songs and dances. Lohri is celebrated by the Hindus and Sikhs alike.
Generally, Lohri marks the beginning of winter, and is celebrated on the 13th day of January (Paush or Magh), usually a day before Makar Sankranti. For Punjabis, Lohri is more than just a festival, and also an example of a way of life. The essence of Lohri is celebration of fertility and the spark of life. An extremely auspicious day, Lohri marks the sun's entry in to the 'Makar Rashi' (northern hemisphere). The period, beginning from 14 January lasting till 14 July, is known as Uttarayan. It is also the last day of the month of Maargazhi, the ninth month of the lunar calendar.
Lohri is celebrated in various parts of India but in different ways- Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Bihu in Assam, Bhogi in Andhra Pradesh and the Sankranti in Karnataka, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Focus of Lohri is on the traditional bonfire. Makki ki roti and sarson ka saag composes the dinner. Til, gazak, gur, moongphali, phuliya and comprises the prasad. A puja is also held with a prayer to Agni, involving parikrama around the fire for abundant crops and prosperity. On Lohri, womenfolk and children get attention. For a bride, the first Lohri is extremely important. Children sing and dance asking for the Lohri prasad.
Amritsar is inhabited by jovial people who like to enjoy every moment of their life. In fact the entire region of Punjab is full of such people who celebrate every single occasion with equal fanfare and zeal. As such the religious fairs, traditional festivals and common events are all attended by the local inhabitants with much vigor.