Amritsar, means "the tank of nectar or the tank of immortality", is the Home of world famous Har Mandar Sahib (Golden Temple) founded by Guru Ramdas the 4th Guru. It is the most important seat of sikh history and culture, trade centre & also the gateway for travellers coming to india on the overland route through Pakistan. The place lies amidst River Beas (to the east) separating Amritsar from Kapurthala and River Ravi (to the west). It is also known for the unfortunate incidents of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre while under British Rule (1919) and Operation Blue star in (1984) under the Late Prime Minsiter Indira Gandhi.
The History of Amritsar can be traced back to the days of the Indus Valley Civilization. A number of archaeological sites have been found in Amritsar and other parts of Punjab. The history of Amritsar in the Vedic period was marked by the existence of a number of Sages and Saints and the legend of Ramayana, which considers the area to be the venue of Rishi Balmikis ashram and the birth place of Lavh and Kush.
The history of Amritsar points out at Greek influence on the region around 326 B.C. when the area came under the control of Alexander. With the defeat of the Greeks, the Mauryas annexed Amritsar, making it a part of their Empire. From the 4th century to the 6th century the history of Amritsar came to be linked with the history of the Gupta Empire. After a short period of rule by the Shahi Dynasty, the area came under the control of Sultan Mahmood of Ghazni.
It was from the 16th Century that the history of Amritsar came to be linked with the Sikh Gurus and their teachings. Sikh Guru Ram Das and his successor Guru Arjan Dev went on to create a temple around a small pool, that had healing powers and thus the name Amritsar. Slowly with people settling around the temple a town grew up. Over the years Amritsar underwent various historical developments and went on to fortified by Guru Govind Singh. The history of Amritsar during India's Freedom Movement is a story of bloody struggles.
Air: Raja Sansi International Airport in Amritsar provides regular service to major cities like Mumbai and Chennai. Airport to the heart of the city, it costs only about Rs 100/- by taxi. Foreign cities can be connected through Mumbai and Chennai.
Rail: Amritsar Railway Station is well linked to other rail heads in the state and also connected to most of the cities in India. It has a connection railway line to Pakistan.
Road: State run public buses and private buses are available to move in and out from Amritsar. Grand Trunk Road connects Delhi to Amritsar. Luxury buses are available from Delhi.
For the avid shoppers, Amristar is a paradise. Punjab is famous for rich tradition of handicrafts and handlooms, you will find these items in markets of Amritsar. You may check out beautiful handicraft items like phulkari (traditional embroidery), lacquered woodwork, jewelry and much more. While shopping in Amritsar do not forget to buy the typical Punjabi shoes, Patiala salwar, hand-woven carpets, blankets and woolen garments. You should also buy famous jams, jellies and pickles of Punjab. Amritsar has a number of shopping centres, but the old city markets are best places for traditional Indian. You will also find several shopping malls having top brand shops. Cooper Road, Mochi Bazaar, Guru Bazaar and Shastri Market for some of popular markets in Amritsar.
Punjab is a land rich with the unique collection of handicrafts and handlooms. If you wish to go for a shopping spree in the state, no place other than Amritsar will be the best option for you. A number of shopping joints line the city, offering a variety of materials to shop for. The eloquently embroidered shawls (phulkari), elegantly designed jootis (shoes), lacquered wood work, traditional jewellery, woolen blankets, parandis (hair worn embellishment) and durries (embroidered carpets and bed-spreads) are the main things you should carry back home from Amritsar. Besides, Amritsar is also well known for delicious Punjabi cuisines. You can taste it in any of the many restaurants in the city. The pickles of the area are very famous and easily available in most of the markets.
Amritsar Shopping Places
There are some prominent shopping centers in Amritsar, where you can get the maximum shopping items in one go. The important among them are discussed below:
Hall Bazaar is one of the most important shopping complexes of Amritsar. You can get a variety of electronic items, jewelry, books, handicraft items like phulkari and ready-made garments available here in plenty. The bazaar is famous for Pakistani jootis and Chinese lights, available in different models. The Gandhi Gate, also known as the Hall gate, is the entrance to the bazaar and boats of a typical royal look, with a clock.
Guru Bazaar is the oldest market in the city, widely known for the collection of gold and silver ornaments. Located between Guru Ka Mahal and Golden Temple, the bazaar is most visited for the traditional Indian jewelry 'jadau’ and ornaments made of precious stones. You also get earthen lamp, glittering silver diyas, hatli and idols of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi here.
Katra Jaimal Singh Market
This market is situated close to Hall Bazaar and has profuse collection of textiles, like saris, pashminas, marvelous beaded dresses, men's wedding dresses and attractive boxed shirt and tie sets with quasi designer names. The price is reasonable and there is a wide choice available here. Handicraft items can also be found here in plenty.
This is an exclusive market for ladies, where they can get both textile items and ornaments, at a cheap price. Dupattas, earrings, gorgeous salwar kameez, bangles, bindis etc are available in wide range here.
Amritsar is dotted with a good number of hotels ranging from luxurious to budget hotels. Equipped with the modern amenities and well-appointed rooms, the luxurious hotels of Amritsar provide a pleasant stay to guests. Budget and economic hotels of the city also offer comfortable stay alongwith warm hospitality. Some of the famous hotels of Amritsar are :
Luxury Hotels : Hotel Ritz Plaza, Mohan International Hotel, Hotel Swarn House and M K Hotel
Heritage Hotels : Ranjit's Svaasa
Economic Hotels : Hotel Royal Castle, Hotel Grand Legacy and Hotel Kumar International
Budget Hotels : Hotel Astoria, Grand Hotel, Hotel Suncity Towers and C J International Hotel