All History of Amritsar City
Amritsar also colloquially known as ambarsar is a city in the northwestern part of India and is the administrative headquarters of Amritsar district Langar in the state of Punjab,India.
It is home to the Harmandir Sahib, known as the Golden Temple, the spiritual and cultural center of the Sikhreligion. This important Sikh shrine attracts more visitors than the Taj Mahal in Agra as it has more than 100,000 visitors on week days alone and is the number one destination for non-resident-Indians (NRI) in the whole of India.The city boasts of being the main centre of Sikhs’ cultural, religious and political history. Amritsar is also known for the incidents of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in 1919 under British Rule and Operation Bluestar in 1984 under the late Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi. The main commercial activities include tourism, carpets and fabrics, farm produce, handicrafts, service trades and light engineering. The city is known for its food and culture. Amritsar is also home to Central Khalsa Orphanage, which was once a home for Shaheed Udham Singh, a prominent figure in the Indian independence movement.
Amritsar city is one of the cities of the Punjab state in India. This city was founded by 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)
Since then this city has been known as Amritsar (after the name of the sarovar). The first stone of the foundation of the Darbar Sahib is said to have been laid by Sain Mian Mir Sahib, a Muslim saint from Punjab, at Guru Arjun Dev’s request. A story in Sikh lore tells of a mason who then corrected the stone’s alignment and was chided by Guru Arjun Dev for doing so with the Saint stating that the re-alignment was symbolic of the complex being continually attacked and rebuilt. Masons worked on laying the foundation on January 3, 1588.
Sant Mian Mir was very friendly with Guru Arjun Dev and tried to intercede to prevent the Guru’s subsequent torture and death at the hands of the Emperor Jahangir. He continued to be a friend of the next Guru, Guru Hargobind, and again worked on attaining his freedom when he was held for some time at Gwalior Fort. In 1590, Guru Arjun Dev moved to the village of Wadali where Guru Hargobind was born on June 19, 1590.
By 1601, the Darbar Sahib was fully ready and on August 16, 1604 the first volume of the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scriptures, was prepared and installed in the Darbar Sahib at Amitsar.
It is here that the Akal Takht (The throne of immortality, lit. the never ending throne) the seat of Sikh political power was built by Guru Hargobind in 1609. Two flags representing temporal and spiritual authority and Sikh sovereignty were set up in front of the Akal Takht. Here Guru Hargobind wore two swords of Miri and Piri (temporal and transcendental authority).
On April 13, 1634, the Mughal army attacked Guru Hargobind here. From 1635 to 1698, Amritsar remained in the control of the Mina family (descendants of Pirthi Chand). Guru Tegh Bahadur visited the town on November 23, 1664. In April 1698, Bhai Mani Singh was appointed as the caretaker of the shrines of Amritsar.
The Mughal chief of Patti tried to occupy Amritsar several times. One such attempt was made in April 1709. The Sikhs, under the command of Bhai Mani Singh and Bhai Tara Singh of Dhillwan, repelled this attack. When Baba Banda Singh Bahadur occupied several areas in the Punjab, Bhai Mani Singh chose to leave Amritsar in order to avoid the Mughal attacks. On December 30, 1711, the Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah, granted Ajit Singh Palit charge of Amritsar. After the death of Bahadur Shah, Ajit Singh Palit returned to Delhi. In 1721, Bhai Mani Singh returned to Amritsar and re-started regular worship. His first act was to solve a dispute between the Tat Khalsa and the Bandai Khalsa factions for the right to the management of the shrines in Amritsar.
On March 29, 1733, a major gathering of Sikhs was held here in front of Akal Takht. During the same time a Sarbat Khalsa gathering was also held. It discussed the Mughal offer of Nawab-hood. In April 1734, Bhai Mani Singh was arrested and was executed in Lahore on June 24, 1734.
In 1740, Massa Ranghar, an official, desecrated the Darbar Sahib. He was killed for this action by Bhai Sukha Singh and Bhai Mahtab Singh, on August 11, 1740. In 1757 an Afghan army of Ahmed Shah Abdali demolished both the Darbar Sahib and the Akal Takht. Baba Deep Singh led several thousand Sikhs against the Afghans. A major battle was fought on November 11, 1757. Baba Deep Singh and several thousand Sikhs were killed. In 1762 the Darbar Sahib complex was demolished by an Afghan army once again. On December 1, 1764, the Afghan army raided again. 30 Sikhs, led by Jathedar Gurbakhsh Singh, fought against the mammoth Afghan army and were killed. In 1765 the Sikhs began re-construction of the shrines. The central part was ready by 1776.
During the eighteenth century, Amritsar, like the Sikh community as a whole, faced great difficulties including the repeated desecration and destruction of sacred monuments. This was ended by the establishment of the sovereign authority of the Sikh misls, or principalities, over the Punjab in 1765. Amritsar was thereafter under the control of several misl chiefs although its surrounding district was held by Sardar Hara Singh of the Bhaaga misl. Different sard?rs or chiefs constructed their own buagas or residential houses around the principal sarovar and also their respective kaaaas or wards, encouraging traders and craftsmen to reside in them and over which each exercised exclusive control.
The sacred shrines were administered by a joint council comprising representatives of the chiefs who had made endowments in land for their maintenance. Even prior to the time of Sikh ascendancy, joint councils, known as Sarbat Khalsa (lit. the entire Sikh Panth), had been held at Amritsar to take crucial decisions on political matters. Now, with all misl chiefs having their bu?g?s there, Amritsar became the common capital of the Khalsa. Devotees from far and near, free to visit the holy city after six decades of persecution, flocked to Guru ka Nagar (the Guru’s town). Business and trade flourished thanks to the increased pilgrim and resident population and moeetain stability.
Trade, commerce and crafts flourished in different ka???s each having its own markets and manufacturings. By the end of the eighteenth century, Amritsar had become Punjab’s major trading center. Yet the town with its multiple command setup remained a confederated rather than a composite habitation until Maharaja Rajat Singh (1780–1839) rose to power and consolidated the Punjab into a sovereign State.
Ranjit Singh, chief of the Sukarchak?? misl, first occupied Lahore the traditional capital of the Punjab in 1799 and declared himself Mah?r?j? in 1801. Ranjit Singh extended his hegemony to Amritsar in 1805 when he took over from his traditional rivals, the Bh?ng? chiefs, their fort with its mint striking the N?naksh?h? rupee, and the famous Zamzam? gun. The fort of the R?mgarh?? misl was occupied in 1815 and with the possessions of R?n? Sad? Kaur of Kanhaiy? misl and Fateh Singh ?hl?w?l?? in Amritsar during the early 1820s, Ranj?t Singh’s occupation of Amritsar was complete.
Ranjit Sigh then constructed a double wall and moat around the city with twelve gates with corresponding bridges over the moat. Already in 1809 he had constructed the Gobindgarh Fort outside Lahaur? Gate complete with a formidable moat, three lines of defense and several bastions and emplacements for heavy guns. Amritsar thus became his second capital. The royal Toshakhana or treasury was kept in Gobindgarh Fort which was also used as the royal residence during the Maharaja’s frequent visits to the city before his palace in the city, Ram Bagh, was completed in 1831.
Several members of the nobility also raised palatial houses and beautiful gardens in and around the city. Ranj?t Singh devoutly provided liberal funds to have the dome and exterior of the Darbar Sahib gold plated and to have the interior ornamented with fine filigree and enamel work and with decorative murals and panels in marble inlaid with colored stone. Sard?r Des? Singh Maj?th?? (died 1832), who had been appointed manager of the holy shrines in the city since its occupation by Ranj?t Singh, donated gold for gilding the top of B?b? Attal. Around 1830, Ranjit Singh had Muslim goldsmiths to gold-plate some parts of the inner section of the Darbar Sahib. The profusion of gold plating led to it being called the Golden Temple.
In 1846, more than six years after Ranjt Singh’s death, the British established themselves in the Lahore Darbar with a resident in the Court. In order to keep the sanctity of the city, H. M. Lawrence, the British resident, issued an order, dated March 24, 1847, asking the English people to follow Sikh protocol while visiting Sikh places of worship.
In 1858, a municipal committee was set up here. In 1862, train services between Lahore and Amritsar were started. Khalsa College, the first Sikh college was established here in 1892. In 1969 Guru Nanak Dev University was established in Amritsar. In 1913, the city was electrified. In September 1915, the British declared Amritsar a holy City. This order was later annulled after Indian independence on August 15, 1947 by the Indian government. On April 13, 1919, General Reginald Dyer opened fire on the gathering, at Jallianwala Bagh, near Darbar Sahib, killed 379 people and wounded another 1200. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (S.G.P.C.) and the Shiromani Akali Dal were established here in 1920.
Pilgrims at the Harmandir Sahib
Amritsar is dominated by the history of Hindus and Sikhs and many of their sacred shrines are found in and around the city. It was established by Guru Ramdas. 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 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.
The city lies on the main Grand Trunk Road (GT Road) from Delhi to Amritsar connecting to Lahore in Pakistan. The G. T. Road, built by Sher Shah Suri, runs through the whole of the northern half of the Indian subcontinent, connecting Peshawar, Pakistan to Sonargaon, Bangladesh. The city is also connected to most other major cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta by an extensive network of rail system. The city also provides air connectivity to major Indian cities, as well as international cities such as Birmingham, Toronto, Dubai, Singapore, Tashkent, Ashgabat, London etc. from the Raja Sansi International Airport, recently renamed as Guru Ramdas International Airport. The airport is being developed for increasing demand in future; a new International inbound & outbound terminal is operational and cargo terminal is also under construction. The city is the administrative center for the Amritsar District. Amritsar developed from a small village pool to a business center. However, it did not become the industrial center of Punjab due to its proximity to the volatile Indo-Pak border.