Amritsar – India – Asia

Amritsar(previously also known as ‘Ramdaspur’ and ‘Guru ki Nagri’) is a city in thenorthern part of India and is the administrative headquarters of Amritsardistrict in the state of Punjab, India. The 2001 Indian census reported thepopulation of the city to be over 1,500,000, with that of the entire districtnumbering 3,695,077. Amritsar is situated 217 kilometres (135 mi) northwest ofstate capital Chandigarh and is 32 kilometres (20 mi) east of Lahore, Pakistanand therefore, very close to India’s western border with Pakistan.
It is home to the Harmandir Sahib (referred as the Golden Temple to westernmedia), the spiritual and cultural center of the Sikh religion. This importantSikh shrine attracts more visitors than the Taj Mahal with more than 100,000visitors on week days alone and is the number one destination for Non-residentIndians (NRI) in the whole of India.
The city boasts of being the main centre of Sikhs’ cultural, religious andpolitical history, it also houses the Sikh temporal and political authority,Akal Takht as well as the Sikh Parliament. Amritsar is also known for thetragical incidents of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in 1919 under British Rule andOperation Bluestar in 1984 under the dictatorship of late Prime Minister of India,Indira Gandhi in which thousands of innocent Sikhs lost their lives. The maincommercial activities include tourism, carpets and fabrics, farm produce,handicrafts, service trades and light engineering. The city is known for itsrich cuisine and culture. Amritsar is also home to Central Khalsa Orphanage,which was once a home to Shaheed Udham Singh, a prominent figure in the Indianindependence movement.
Amritsar city is one of the cities of the Punjab state in India. This city wasfounded by the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das in 1574 on land bought by him for700 rupees from the owners of the village of Tung. Earlier Guru Ram Das hadbegun building Santokhsar Sarovar, near the village of Sultanwind in 1564. Itcould not be completed before 1588. In 1574, Guru Ram Das built his residenceand moved to this place. At that time, it was known as Guru Ki Nagri. (Later,it came to be known as Ramdaspur)
Amritsar is dominated by the history of Sikhs and many of their sacred shrinesare found in and around the city. It was established by Guru Ramdas. The cityhas one of the most prominent Shrine of Sikhs “The Harimandir Sahib”popularly known as Golden Temple. Amritsar’s central walled city has narrow zigzag streets mostly developed in the 17th and 18th century. The city is apeculiar example of an introverted planning system wit unique areas calledKatras. The Katras are self styled residential units that provided uniquedefence system during attacks on the city. The city was attacked numerous timesduring the 18th century mainly by Afghan invaders as it was considered thespiritual centre of Sikhs.
The city lies on the main Grand Trunk Road, a well laid medieval Highway thatruns through the whole of the northern half of the Indian subcontinentfromBangladesh to Delhi then passing through Amritsar connecting it to Lahore inPakistan and kabul in Afghanistan. The city is also connected to most othermajor cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta by an extensive network ofrail system. The city also provides air connectivity to major Indian cities, aswell as international cities such as Toronto, Dubai, Singapore, London from itsairport, Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport. The airport is beingdeveloped 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 wasdeveloped from a small pool in a dense forest to the largest commercial center inthe northwestern indian subcontinent, a position it retained till the partitionof indian in 1947. However, it did grew much afterwards to become theindustrial center of india owing to its proximity to the volatile Indo-Pakborder.
Amritsar is well known for its food. Dhabas such as Bhrawan da Dhaba and Kesarda Dhaba are extremely popular with locals and tourists.
Amritsar’s international airport, Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport,has more than 200 domestic and international flights during the week with dailyconnections to Delhi, Chandigarh and Jammu in India and international flightsto Tehraan, Frankfurt (Mahan Air), Doha Qatar Airways,Ashgabat TurkmenistanAirlines,Tashkent Uzbekistan Airways. There are also flights to London, Englandand Toronto, Canada.
Amritsar is well connected by rail to almost all major cities in India such asDelhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Indore,Bhopal, Agra, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Ujjain, Ahmedabad, Pune, Chandigarh etc.Amritsar Railway Station is the main terminal station. There is a special trainthat runs west to Wagah (Attari Border), which is the last station on theborder in India before continuing on to Pakistan.
Indian Railways has proposed a high speed rail line to serve Delhi-Amritsar viaChandigarh and Ambala. The train is to run at high speeds of 350 km/h, secondonly in India to the Bhopal Shatabdi Express. It will travel the 445 km betweenthe two cities in 2.5 hours (compared to the current time of 5 hours). Companiesfrom Japan, China, UK and Canada have expressed an interest in the project. Thecontract for building the line were to be awarded at the end of May 2008. Otherlines of this kind have proposed in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune, and Kolkata.
Amritsar is located on the historic Grand Trunk Road (G.T Road), also known asNational Highway 1, and therefore very well connected to the road network.Daily bus services run to and from Ambala, Delhi, Chandigarh and Jammu. Rs 450crores is being spent to expand the Amritsar-Jalandhar stretch of G.T. Road tofour lanes. In 2010, elevated road with four lanes connected to the Nationalhighway for better access to the Golden Temple has been started.
For transportation within Amritsar city, rickshaws, autorickshaws, taxis andbuses are easily available. Recently, the government of India and Punjabpledged Rs. 2,100 crore for the development of a mass rapid transport systemfor the city. It is hoped that this will help relieve traffic congestion andimprove air quality.

Posted on October 26, 2011, in Asia and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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