Amritsar Knowledge Guide

Amritsar airport is connected to major international airports, so reaching it via flight won’t be an issue. It also has an extensive number of train routes, connected with the main cities. The highways that lead up to Amritsar are also smooth and beautiful. If you wish to take a road trip to Amritsar, then you can do that without any trouble.

The best time to visit Amritsar is from October to March as the summers can be too harsh and dry.


Founding of Amritsar City

Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh guru is credited with founding the holy city of Amritsar in the Sikh tradition. Two versions of stories exist regarding the land where Ram Das settled. In one based on a Gazetteer record, the land was purchased with Sikh donations, for 700 rupees from the owners of the village of Tung.According to the Sikh historical records, the site was chosen by Guru Amar Das and called Guru Da Chakk, after he had asked Ram Das to find land to start a new town with a man-made pool as its central point. After his coronation in 1574, and the hostile opposition he faced from the sons of Amar Das, Ram Das founded the town named after him as "Ramdaspur". He started by completing the pool, and building his new official Guru centre and home next to it. He invited merchants and artisans from other parts of India to settle into the new town with him. The town expanded during the time of Arjan financed by donations and constructed by voluntary work. The town grew to become the city of Amritsar, and the pool area grew into a temple complex after his son built the gurdwara Harmandir Sahib, and installed the scripture of Sikhism inside the new temple in 1604.The construction activity between 1574 and 1604 is described in Mahima Prakash Vartak, a semi-historical Sikh hagiography text likely composed in 1741, and the earliest known document dealing with the lives of all the ten Gurus.

Jallianwala Bagh massacre

The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, involving the killings of hundreds of Indian civilians on the orders of a senior British military officer, Reginald Edward Harry Dyer, took place on 13 April 1919 in the heart of Amritsar, the holiest city of the Sikhs, on a day sacred to them as the birth anniversary of the Khalsa (Vaisakhi day). In Punjab, during World War I (1914–18), there was considerable unrest particularly among the Sikhs, first on account of the demolition of a boundary wall of Gurdwara Rakab Ganj at New Delhi and later because of the activities and trials of the Ghadarites, almost all of whom were Sikhs. In India as a whole, too, there had been a spurt in political activity mainly owing to the emergence of two leaders: Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948) who after a period of struggle against the British in South Africa, had returned to India in January 1915, and Annie Besant (1847–1933), head of the Theosophical Society of India, who on 11 April 1916 established the Home Rule League with autonomy for India as its goal. In December 1916, the Indian National Congress, at its annual session held at Lucknow, passed a resolution asking the king to issue a proclamation announcing that it is the "aim and intention of British policy to confer self-government on India at an early date".On 10 April 1919, Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew, two popular proponents of the Satyagraha movement led by Gandhi, were called to the deputy commissioner's residence, arrested and sent off by car to Dharamsetla, a hill town, now in Himachal Pradesh. This led to a general strike in Amritsar. Excited groups of citizens soon merged into a crowd of about 50,000 marchings on to protest to the deputy commissioner against the arrest of the two leaders. The crowd, however, was stopped and fired upon near the railway foot-bridge. According to the official version, the number of those killed was 12 and of those wounded between 20 and 30. Evidence before an inquiry of the Indian National Congress put the number of the dead between 20 and 30. Three days later, on 13 April, the traditional festival of Baisakhi, thousands of Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus gathered in the Jallianwala Bagh. An hour after the meeting began as scheduled at 16:30, Dyer arrived with a group of sixty-five Gurkha and twenty-five Baluchi soldiers. Without warning the crowd to disperse, Dyer blocked the main exits and ordered his troops to begin shooting toward the densest sections of the crowd. Firing continued for approximately ten minutes. A British inquiry into the massacre placed the death toll at 379. The Indian National Congress determined that approximately 1,000 people were killed.


Amritsar was greatly affected by communal violence during partition, with almost all of its Muslim population fleeing to Pakistan, with similar violence in West Punjab against Sikhs and Hindus. Before Partition, Amritsar was about 49% Muslim, but in the 1951 census, had a Muslim population of only 0.52%.The first riots occurred in March 1947. In August 1947, Muslim villages around Amritsar came under attack. By September 1947, violence had become widespread, and Muslim refugees fleeing East Punjab for Pakistan were fearful of entering Amritsar city because of Sikh jathas. Trains carrying Muslim refugees, called "Pakistan Specials" were attacked, sometimes repeatedly, in and around Amritsar. Similar attacks occurred against trains carrying Sikh and Hindu refugees in Lahore. Caravans of refugees were attacked repeatedly around Amritsar, including a group of 50,000 refugees from Jalandhar that were attacked 3 times near Amritsar in September. Although train routes had to be kept confidential by late September, a trainload of Muslim refugees was attacked at the Amritsar railway station on 22 September 1947 by a jatha of about 10,000 people resulting in the deaths of between 1,500 and 3,000 Muslim refugees. News of the attack reached the city of Gujranwala, where Muslim rioters attacked a train of Hindu and Sikh refugees in revenge on 25 September, killing 340.Large numbers of Sikh and Hindu refugees fleeing Pakistan settled in Amritsar city to replace the Muslim population, though the city's population had dropped by 17% between the period prior to Partition until 1951.

Operation Blue Star

Operation Blue Star (1 – 6 June 1984) was an Indian military operation ordered by Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India to curb and remove Sikh militants from the Golden Temple in Amritsar. The operation was carried out by Indian army troops with tanks and armoured vehicles. Militarily successful, the operation aroused immense controversy, and the government's justification for the timing and style of the attack are hotly debated. Operation Blue Star was included in the Top 10 Political Disgraces by India Today magazine.Official reports put the number of deaths among the Indian army at 83, with 493 civilians and Sikh militants killed. In addition, the CBI is considered responsible for seizing historical artefacts and manuscripts in the Sikh Reference Library before burning it down. Four months after the operation, on 31 October 1984, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two of her Sikh bodyguards in what is viewed as an act of vengeance. Following her assassination, more than 3,000 Sikhs were killed in anti-Sikh pogroms.


Amritsar is an attractive destination for tourists, especially those part of Golden Triangle. Major destinations are: Golden Temple and Heritage Street Punjab State War Heroes' Memorial & Museum Bhagwan Valmiki Tirath Sthal Sadda Pind Urban Haat Food Street Gobindgarh Fort Ram Bagh Palace and Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum Wagah border Partition Museum Jallianwala Bagh Jang-e-Azadi Memorial near Kartarpur, India