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Amritsar Holidays

Amritsar, the holy city of Sikhs, is located in the Punjab province of India. The name of the city is the combination of two words ‘Amrit’ the Holy Nectar and ‘Sarovar’ which means lake. The lake of holy nectar is situated in the Golden Temple, the holiest of holy Sikh shrine. The Sikh prayer exhorts every Sikh to have a dip in the holy pond. The city was also known as Ramdaspur in earlier times. The city is a border city of India and just 30 miles away from Lahore, Pakistan. The city assumes a major strategic importance for India.

The history of the Darbar Sahib starts with Guru Amar Das, who took the first steps towards building a shrine. Around the Golden Temple, the holy city of Amritsar came into being. His successor, Guru Ram Das, came to live near this tranquil and peaceful site, and started building the pilgrimage centre around the small pool, (later to become the Sarowar) which had intially drawn Guru Amar Das. By the time of Guru Ram Das' death, the pre eminence of the Darbar Sahib among the sikh devotees was unquestionable. The Harmandir Sahib, or the sanctum sanctorium, was envisoned by Guru Arjan Dev. This was concieved by him to reflect the resoluteness, clarity and simplicity of the Sikh relegion. The Harmindir Sahib today stands as the hallowed symbol of the indestructability of the Sikh faith. He designed it to have four doors, one on each side. The Golden Temple, would thus be open to all four castes-Kshatriyas, Brahmins, Sudras & Vaisyas.

Amritsar -Amritsar city is one of the major cities of the Sikh nation. Amritsar is located in the northwest part of India in the State of Punjab, 32 miles east of Lahore, Pakistan. The main spoken language in Amritsar and in the surrounding villages is the Punjabi dialect of Maajhi, considered to be Standard Punjabi. Other languages spoken in the city are English, Hindi, and Urdu.

Jallianwala Bagh : The Jallianwala Bagh place noted for its most notorious massacre under British rule. It is 400 meters north of the Golden Temple. The British General Dyer was the Lieutenant Governor of the province in 1919. He banned all meetings and demonstrations led by Indians against the economical set back by World War I. On 13 April 1919, pilgrims poured into Amritsar to celebrate the Baisakhi festival, a holiday in the Sikh calendar. In the afternoon thousands of people gathered at Jallian Wala Bagh to celebrate the Baisakhi. This ground surrounded by high walls on all sides has only a narrow alley for access. General Dyer personally led the troops to the sight and ordered his men to open fire without any warning. It resulted in the death of 379 and injured more than 1200.

Golden Temple : The golden temple building has four entrances instead of the usual single entry. This is symbolic of the openness of Sikhism and indicates that followers of all faiths are allowed inside. The walls within are decorated with carved wooden panels and elaborate inlay work in silver and gold. The Adi Granth, compiled by Guru Arjan Dev, rests on a throne beneath a jewel-encrusted canopy. Priests conduct continuous recitation of verses from the holy book in 3-hour shifts. A complete reading of the text stakes 48 hours. The original copy of the Guru Granth Sahib is kept under pink shroud in the, Golden Temple during the day and at around 10 p.m. each day is ceremoniously returned to the Akal Takht (Sikh Parliament) building. The morning processional ceremony takes place at 4 a.m. in Summer and at 5 a.m. in Winter, when Sri Guru Granth Sahib is bought from Akal takhat Sahib in a procession to the Sanctum Sanctorum, which is washed with milk. The Akal Takht, next to the Golden Temple, is the seat of the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee, the religious governing body of the Sikhs. The building of the Akal Takht was begun by Guru Arjan Dev and completed in 1609 by Guru Hargobind. If you miss the early morning or evening processions, the palanquin that bears the Adi Granth can be seen in the treasury room on the first floor of the Akal Takht. The palanquin is set with precious stones and has silver poles and a gold canopy.

The Golden Temple is open to all. Pilgrims and visitors to the Golden Temple must remove their shoes and cover their heads before entering the precincts. No Smoking is allowed inside the whole temple area, photography is permitted only in/from the Prakarma , the marble pathway that surrounds the sacred pool. An English speaking guide is available at the information office near clock Tower that marks the temples main entrance. The information office has a number of interesting free publications.

Ram Bagh
Ram Bagh beautiful garden is named as a tribute to Guru Ram Das, the founder of the city. It is situated in the new part of town and has a museum in the summer palace built by the Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) the Lion of Punjab. The museum contains weapons dating back to Mughal times and some portraits of the ruling houses of the Punjab and a replica of the diamond ´Kohinoor´. To commemorate the memory of his valour Ram Bagh has a lively statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh saddled on a horse. It is closed on Wednesdays.

Climate :-
The Amritsar city has the typical North Indian dry and extreme climate. The temperatures in summers reach up to 47 degree Centigrade or 116 degree Fahrenheit and winters see a drop to minus three degree Centigrade or 26 degree Fahrenheit. The monsoons during Jul-Sep are a hot and sweaty period. The best time to visit Amritsar is during mid September to the end of March.

How to Reach :-
Agra city is well connected by rail, road and air to major destinations in India. The strategic importance of Amritsar has led to the development of extensive rail and road network. The world standard highway from Delhi to Amritsar is a pleasure to drive on. The lush green fields bear testimony to the hard working Punjabis. There are many fast trains from Delhi which will take you to your destination within seven hours. Direct international flights are also available from US and UK.

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