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Amritsar, Punjab, India        


Amritsar is the largest and most important city in Punjab and is a major commercial, cultural, and transportation centre. It is also the centre of Sikhism and the site of the Sikhs' principal place of worship, the Harimandir, or Golden Temple. It was founded in 1577 by Ram Das, fourth Guru of the Sikhs, on a site granted by the Mughal emperor Akbar. Ram Das ordered the excavation of the sacred tank, or pool, called Amrita Saras ("Pool of Nectar"), from which the city's name is derived. A temple was erected on an island in the tank's centre by Arjun, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs. During the reign (1801-39) of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the upper part of the temple was decorated with a gold-foil-covered copper dome, and since then the building has been known as the Harimandir. The city was annexed to British India in 1849.

A short distance away from the Golden Temple is a spacious park, Jallianwalla Bagh, where on April 13, 1919, British colonial government troops fired on a crowd of unarmed Indian protesters, killing 379 of them and wounding many more. The site of the Amritsar Massacre, as this incident is now called, is now a national monument. Another violent political clash took place in Amritsar in 1984, when troops of the Indian army attacked hundreds of Sikh separatists who had taken up positions in and heavily fortified the Golden Temple. Conflicting reports indicated that between 450 and 1,200 persons were killed before the Sikh extremists were evicted from the temple.

Amritsar is a centre of textile and chemical industries and also engages in food milling and processing, silk weaving, tanning, canning, and the manufacture of machinery. The city lies on the main highway from Delhi to Lahore (GT road) and is a major rail hub. It is home to Guru Nanak Dev University, founded in 1969 as the leading educational centre of the Sikhs (with PhDs in nearly 30 disciplines, including Sanskrit and Pali). A medical, a dental, an arts, and a technical college are also located in Amritsar, and Khalsa College (1899) lies just outside the city. In the newer, northern section of the city is Ram Bagh, a large park that contains the summer palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (aka Sher-e-Punjab). [Adapted from Encyclopedia Britannica;  Sep 06]

Harimandir at night (1, 2, 3)

Amrit sarovar (1, 2, 3)

Lots o' gold (1, 2, 3)

Harimandir at night


Temple complex (1, 2)


Buildings near causeway


Closer view (1, 2, 3)


Tranquil spot


Attendant on duty


Doting mother with kids


Two women


"Oye, puttar!"


Harimandir detail (more)


Bathers


Causeway entry (1, 2)


Plaques galore (1, 2)


Sikh holy man (1, 2)


Visitor from the provinces


Guard on duty


Father and son


Father and son


Guard on duty


Handicapped man (1, 2, 3)


Overweight man


Lost in prayer


Loaded with shiny stuff


Skinny Sikh


Old man walking


Man bathing


Three boys


Sikh elders


Visiting family


Man in a wheelchair


What's she reading?


Two Sikh men


Family of three


Bunga Ramgarhia (more)


Refreshment / water stand


Langar (communal kitchen)


A mountain of plates


Langar kitchen (1, 2)


Big pile of dough


Hot rotis on the grill


Ready for the grill


Tossing a fresh one


Men in the kitchen (more)


Giant vat (more)


Two women

 
Akal Takhat

Seat of the Sikh parliament

Inside

Sikh priest

Rebuilt after Operation Blue Star


Behind the Akal Takhat


Ready for private service


Signing up for amrit-pan


Akal Takhat rear view

 

The Museum at the Golden Temple

This museum records many events that deeply mark the Sikh psyche, in particular their wars of survival, monumental events, and the worst of the historical Muslim atrocities against the Sikhs, most under Aurangzeb. The stories behind these gruesome images are retold across Punjab. Most paintings have been commissioned in the last few decades.

Memories of war

Breaking joints unto death

Head sliced off

Mothers garlanded with
parts of their babies (more)


Someone's head on a spear


For not converting to Islam


Bhai Mati Das sawn into two


Bhai Dayala boiled alive

 
Jallianwala Bagh

Narrow entrance to the bagh

Martyr's memorial (1, 2)

Surrounded by a garden

Wall with bullet marks


The infamous well (more)


120 bodies recovered here


Inside the well


Tagore's letter of protest


Martyr's gallery


Artist's impression


Painting detail


Painting detail

 
Mata Temple

Bespectacled goddess (more)

Throngs

She's like a rock star! (not)

Priest offering puja


Garish religious gallery


Triple headed goddess


Priest inside simulated cave


Show your tongue!

 
Durgiana Temple

Durgiana temple (more)

Inside the temple

Inner sanctum

The dieties

 
Miscellaneous

Maharaja Ranjit Singh's
summer palace

His court at Lahore

Haunt of the Sher-e-Punjab

Rickshaw wallah


Amritsar old town


A day of heavy rains


Ad for Dr. Bengali


Amritsar bus stand


 

 

 

 

 

 

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