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)


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


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)


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


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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