Amritsar

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Amritsar
ਅਮ੍ਰਿਤਸਰ
Sifti da Ghar
Metropolitan City
Nightview of the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple)
Nightview of the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple)
Nickname(s): Golden City
Punjab
Amritsar
Amritsar
Coordinates: 31°38′N 74°52′E / 31.64°N 74.86°E / 31.64; 74.86Coordinates: 31°38′N 74°52′E / 31.64°N 74.86°E / 31.64; 74.86
Country India
State Punjab
District Amritsar
Founded by Guru Ram Das ji
Population (2011)[1]
 • Metropolitan City 1,132,761
 • Metro[2] 1,183,705
Demonym Amritsari
Languages
 • Official Punjabi
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 143-001
Telephone code 91 183 XXX XXXX
Vehicle registration PB-02
Website www.amritsarcorp.com
A typical chilly Amritsar morning

Amritsar (About this sound pronunciation ; Punjabi: ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤਸਰ, Punjabi pronunciation: [əmːɾɪt̪səɾ]) historically also known as Rāmdāspur and colloquially as Ambarsar, is a city in north-western part in India. It is the spiritual centre for the Sikh religion and the administrative headquarters of the Amritsar district in the state of Punjab.

It is home to the Harmandir Sahib (referred to as the "Golden Temple" in the western media), the spiritual and cultural center for the Sikh religion. This important Sikh shrine attracts more visitors than the Taj Mahal with more than 100,000 visitors on week days alone and is the most popular destination for Non-resident Indians (NRI) in the whole of India. The city also houses the Sikh temporal and political authority, Akal Takht, as well as the Sikh Parliament.

The 2011 Indian census reported the population of the city to be 1,132,761. Amritsar is situated 217 kilometres (135 mi) northwest of state capital Chandigarh. Amritsar is situated near Pakistan with the Wagah border only being 28 km (17.5 mi) to the west with the nearest city Lahore, the second largest city in Pakistan being only located 50 km away (31 mi).

The main commercial activities include tourism, carpets and fabrics, farm produce, handicrafts, service trades, and light engineering. The city is known for its rich cuisine and culture, and for the tragic incident of Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919 under British Rule. Amritsar is home to Central Khalsa Orphanage, which was once a home to Udham Singh, a prominent figure in the Indian independence movement.

History[edit]

Amritsar is one of the largest cities of the Punjab state in India. The city origin lies in the village of Tung, and was named after the lake founded by the fourth Sikh Guru Ram Das in 1574 on land bought by him for 700 rupees from the owners of the village of Tung. Earlier Guru Ram Das had begun building Santokhsar Sarovar, near the village of Sultanwind in 1564 (according to one source in 1570). It could not be completed before 1588. In 1574, Guru Ram Das built his residence and moved to this place. At that time, it was known as Guru Da Chakk. (Later, it came to be known as Chakk Ram Das.)

Amritsar's central walled city has narrow streets mostly developed in the 17th and 18th century. The city is a peculiar example of an introverted planning system with unique areas called Katras. The Katras are self-styled residential units that provided unique defence system during attacks on the city.

The city lies on the main Grand Trunk Road (GT Road) from Delhi to Amritsar connecting to Lahore in Pakistan. The G. T. Road, built by Sher Shah Suri, runs through the whole of the northern half of the Indian subcontinent, connecting Peshawar, Pakistan to Sonargaon, Bangladesh. The city is also connected to most other major cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta by an extensive network of rail system. The city also provides air connectivity to major Indian cities, as well as international cities such as Birmingham, Toronto, Dubai, Singapore, Tashkent, Ashgabat, London etc. from the Raja Sansi International Airport, recently renamed as Guru Ramdas International Airport. The airport is being developed for increasing demand in future; a new International inbound and outbound terminal is operational, and a cargo terminal is under construction. The city is the administrative center for the Amritsar District. However, it did not become the industrial center of Punjab due to its proximity to the volatile Indo-Pakistan border.

Jallianwala Bagh massacre[edit]

The Jallianwalla Bagh in 1919, months after the massacre
Bullet marks on the walls of the park premises

The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, involving the killing of hundreds of Indian civilians on the orders of a senior British military officer, Reginald Edward Harry Dyer, took place on 13 April 1919 in the heart of Amritsar, the holiest city of the Sikhs, on a day sacred to them as the birth anniversary of the Khalsa (Vaisakhi day).

In the Punjab, during World War I (1914–18), there was considerable unrest particularly among the Sikhs, first on account of the demolition of a boundary wall of Gurdwara Rakab Ganj at New Delhi and later because of the activities and trials of the Ghadrites almost all of whom were Sikhs. In India as a whole, too, there had been a spurt in political activity mainly owing to the emergence of two leaders Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi (1869–1948) who after a period of struggle against the British in South Africa, had returned to India in January 1915 and Mrs Annie Besant (1847–1933), head of the Theosophical Society of India, who established, on 11 April 1916, Home Rule League with autonomy for India as its goal. In December 1916, the Indian National Congress, at its annual session held at Lucknow, passed a resolution asking the king to issue a proclamation announcing that it is the "aim and intention of British policy to confer self-government on India at an early date."[3]

On 10 April 1919, Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew, two popular proponents of the Satyagraha movement led by Gandhi, were called to the deputy commissioner's residence, arrested and sent off by car to Dharamsetla, a hill town, now in Himachal Pradesh. This led to a general strike in Amritsar. Excited groups of citizens soon merged into a crowd of about 50,000 marching on to protest to the deputy commissioner against the arrest of the two leaders. The crowd, however, was stopped and fired upon near the railway foot-bridge. According to the official version, the number of those killed was 12 and of those wounded between 20 and 30. Evidence before an inquiry of the Indian National Congress put the number of the dead between 20 and 30.

Three days later, on 13 April, the traditional festival of Baisakhi, thousands of Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus gathered in the Jallianwala Bagh. An hour after the meeting began as scheduled at 16:30, Dyer arrived with a group of sixty-five Gurkha and twenty-five Baluchi soldiers. Without warning the crowd to disperse, Dyer blocked the main exits and ordered his troops to begin shooting toward the densest sections of the crowd. Firing continued for approximately ten minutes. A British inquiry into the massacre placed the death toll at 379. The Indian National Congress determined that approximately 1,000 people were killed.

Partition of 1947[edit]

Partition of British India into India and Pakistan had a most profound effect on the demographics, economics, culture, political and social structures of Amritsar. The state of Punjab was divided between India and Pakistan and Amritsar became a border city, often on the front lines of India-Pakistan wars. Prior to partition, the Muslim league wanted to incorporate Amritsar into Pakistan because of the Amritsar's proximity to Lahore (a distance of 30 miles) and a nearly 50% Muslim population,[citation needed] but the city became part of India. The Indian National Congress had similar aims of incorporating Lahore into India as Lahore was the cultural, economic, and political capital of undivided Punjab and Hindus and Sikhs constituted nearly 50% of the population, but Lahore became a part of Pakistan. Amritsar and Lahore experienced some of the worst communal riots during the partition of India. Muslim residents of Amritsar left the city en-masse leaving their homes and property behind due to violent anti-Muslim riots in Amritsar. Similar scenes of communal carnage against Hindus and Sikhs were witnessed in Lahore and led to their mass evacuation.[citation needed]

Important Muslim dominated villages in Amritsar district prior to partition include Sultanpur, Kala Afgana, Abdul Kalan, Rasheed Bal, Lahorie, Shahpur, Shahkot, Alipur, Aliwal, Allahbad, Fatehbad, Chak, Guza Chak, Jattan, Cheema.

Operation Blue Star[edit]

Operation Blue Star (3– 6 June 1984) was an Indian military operation ordered by Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India[4] to remove Sikh militants from the Golden Temple in Amritsar. The operation was carried out by Indian army troops with tanks and armoured vehicles.[5] Militarily successful, the operation aroused immense controversy, and the government's justification for the timing and style of the attack are highly debated.[6] Operation Blue Star was included in the Top 10 Political Disgraces by India Today magazine.[7]

Official reports put the number of deaths among the Indian army at 83.[8][9] In addition, the CBI is considered responsible for seizing historical artifacts and manuscripts in the Sikh Reference Library before burning it down.[10] [11] Four months after the operation, on 31 October 1984, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two of her Sikh bodyguards in what is viewed as an act of vengeance. Following her assassination, more than 3,000 Sikhs were killed in anti-Sikh pogroms.[12] Within the Sikh community itself, Operation Blue Star has taken on considerable historical significance.

Geography and climate[edit]

Amritsar is located at 31°38′N 74°52′E / 31.63°N 74.87°E / 31.63; 74.87[13] with an average elevation of 234 metres (768 ft).

Amritsar has a semiarid climate, typical of Northwestern India and experiences four seasons primarily: winter season (November to March) with temperature ranges from 0 °C (32 °F) to about 15 °C (59 °F), summer season (April to June) where temperatures can reach 42 °C (108 °F), monsoon season (July to September) and post-monsoon season (September to November). Annual rainfall is about 681 millimetres (26.8 in).[14] The lowest recorded temperature is −7.6 °C (18.3 °F), was recorded on 9 December 1996[15] and the highest temperature, 48.1 °C (118.6 °F), was recorded on 22 May 2013.[16]

Climate data for Amritsar
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 21.7
(71.1)
26.9
(80.4)
32.7
(90.9)
41.9
(107.4)
48.1
(118.6)
46.2
(115.2)
42.0
(107.6)
37.2
(99)
36.5
(97.7)
34.6
(94.3)
29.3
(84.7)
23.2
(73.8)
48.1
(118.6)
Average high °C (°F) 14.2
(57.6)
16.9
(62.4)
23.9
(75)
30.9
(87.6)
35.8
(96.4)
36.8
(98.2)
32.3
(90.1)
31.3
(88.3)
31.4
(88.5)
27.3
(81.1)
23.0
(73.4)
18.3
(64.9)
26.84
(80.29)
Average low °C (°F) 0.9
(33.6)
3.3
(37.9)
8.0
(46.4)
13.2
(55.8)
18.2
(64.8)
21.9
(71.4)
22.6
(72.7)
22.2
(72)
19.7
(67.5)
12.7
(54.9)
5.6
(42.1)
1.3
(34.3)
12.47
(54.45)
Record low °C (°F) −7.1
(19.2)
−6.8
(19.8)
−3.8
(25.2)
2.6
(36.7)
7.7
(45.9)
13.8
(56.8)
14.0
(57.2)
15.0
(59)
9.6
(49.3)
4.3
(39.7)
−3.5
(25.7)
−7.5
(18.5)
−7.5
(18.5)
Rainfall mm (inches) 28.3
(1.114)
29.2
(1.15)
34.8
(1.37)
19.3
(0.76)
19.6
(0.772)
51.7
(2.035)
224.7
(8.846)
174.5
(6.87)
94.6
(3.724)
21.3
(0.839)
5.7
(0.224)
14.6
(0.575)
718.3
(28.279)
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm) 2.4 2.0 2.6 1.5 1.3 3.1 8.2 8.1 3.6 1.2 0.6 1.2 35.8
 % humidity 74 70 64 47 38 48 72 77 69 67 73 76 64.6
Mean monthly sunshine hours 182.9 193.2 220.1 264.0 294.5 270.0 217.0 226.3 240.0 254.2 219.0 182.9 2,764.1
Source #1: IMD,[17] NOAA (extremes & humidity, 1971-1990)[18]
Source #2: HKO[19]

Demographics[edit]

As of the 2011 census, Amritsar municipality had a population of 1,132,761[1] and the urban agglomeration had a population of 1,183,705.[2] The municipality had a sex ratio of 879 females per 1,000 males and 9.7% of the population were under six years old.[1] Effective literacy was 85.27%; male literacy was 88.09% and female literacy was 82.09%.[1]

The scheduled caste population is 28.8%[20]

Transport[edit]

Air[edit]

Amritsar's international airport, Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport, has more than 160 domestic and international flights during the week with daily connections to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Srinagar, and Jammu etc. in India and international flights to London Heathrow, Doha, Sharjah, Ashgabat, Tashkent, Dubai.

Amritsar is very close to Allama Iqbal International Airport On the other side of the border, In the Pakistani city of Lahore.

Rail[edit]

Amritsar is well connected by rail to almost all major cities in India. Amritsar railway station is the main terminal station. There is a special train (Samjhota Express) that runs west to Wagah (Attari Border), which is the last station on the border in India before continuing on to Pakistan.

Indian Railways has proposed a high speed rail line to serve Delhi-Amritsar via Ambala.[citation needed] The train is to run at high speeds of 160 km/h, second only in India to the Bhopal Shatabdi Express. It will travel the 445 km between the two cities in 2.5 hours (compared to the current time of 5 hours). Companies from Japan, China, UK and Canada have expressed an interest in the project. The contract for building the line were to be awarded at the end of May 2008. Other lines of this kind have proposed in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune, and Kolkata.[21][22][23] Amritsar railway station has 6 platforms namely 1a.1-5.

Road[edit]

Shaheed Madan Lal Dhingra Interstate Bus Terminal, Amritsar

Amritsar is located on the historic Grand Trunk Road (G.T Road), also known as National Highway 1, and therefore very well connected to the road network. Daily bus services run to and from Ambala, Patiala, Delhi, Chandigarh and Jammu. Rs 45,000,000 (450 crores) is being spent to expand the Amritsar-Jalandhar stretch of G.T. Road to four lanes. In 2010, elevated road with four lanes connected to the National highway for better access to the Golden Temple has been started.[24]

For transportation within Amritsar city, rickshaws, autorickshaws, taxis and buses are easily available. Recently, the government of India and Punjab pledged Rs. 210,000,000 (21 crore) for the development of a mass rapid transport system for the city. It is hoped that this will help relieve traffic congestion and improve air quality. There have been many purse snatching incidents recently and it has become a headache for the tourists. Tourists are advised not to keep purse, mobiles, cameras or other precious things with them while on road. city bus service has also introduced in the city.

Amritsar is also connected with Lahore, Pakistan via the old Grand Trunk Road.

Educational Institutions[edit]

Following is the list of important educational institutions in the city:

  • Guru Nanak Dev University
  • Global Institute of Management & Emerging Technologies
  • Global Polytechnic College
  • Global Institute of Management
  • DAV College
  • Khalsa College, Amritsar
  • BBKDAV College for Women
  • SR Govt College for Women
  • Hindu College
  • Khalsa College for Women
  • Govt. Medical College
  • Govt. Dental College
  • Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Sciences & Research
  • Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Dental Sciences & Research
  • Shahzadanand College for Women
  • 4 S College for Women
  • Guru Nanak Dev University College (Verka)
  • DAV College of Education
  • Khalsa College of Education
  • Sri Laxmi Narayan Ayurvedic College
  • Amritsar College of Engineering
  • Khalsa College of Engg. & Technology(KCET)
  • Delhi Public School
  • The Senior Study School (I and II)
  • St Francis School
  • Sacred Heart School for Girls
  • Alexandra School
  • Bhavans SL Public School
  • Police DAV Public School
  • DAV Public School
  • DAV Sr Secondary School
  • DAV International School
  • Spring Dale Senior School
  • Shri Ram Ashram Public School
  • Holy heart Sr Sec School
  • Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School
  • Sant Singh Sukha Singh Sr. Sec School
  • PBN School
  • Gyan Ashram School
  • Prem Ashram Sr Secondary School
  • Shri Hemkunt Public School
  • Govt.Polytechnic College,Chheharta.
  • St.Francis School,Amritsar

Notable residents[edit]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Provisional Population Totals, Census of India 2011; Cities having population 1 lakh and above" (PDF). Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Provisional Population Totals, Census of India 2011; Urban Agglomerations/Cities having population 1 lakh and above" (PDF). Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  3. ^ Proceedings of the Lucknow Session of the Indian National Congress, 1916, cited by Pasricha, Ashu (2008). The Political Thought Of Annie Besant (Encyclopaedia Of Eminent Thinkers, Vol. 25). Concept Publishing. p. 84. ISBN 8180695859. 
  4. ^ "Operation Bluestar, 20 Years On". Rediff.com. 1984-06-06. Retrieved 2012-07-17. 
  5. ^ Ahmad, Ishtiaq (1996). State, Nation, and Ethnicity in the Contemporary South Asia. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 130. ISBN 1-85567-578-1. 
  6. ^ Praagh, David Van (2003). The Greater game: India's Race With Destiny and China. India: McGill-Queen's University Press (MQUP). ISBN 0-7735-1639-5. 
  7. ^ Gunjeet K. Sra (2008-12-19). "10 Political Disgraces". Indiatoday.digitaltoday.in. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  8. ^ Martha Crenshaw (1995). Terrorism in Context. Penn State Press. p. 385. ISBN 978-0-271-01015-1. 
  9. ^ Singh, Pritam (2008). Federalism, Nationalism and Development: India and the Punjab Economy. Routledge. pp. 44. ISBN 978-0-415-45666-1. Retrieved 29 July 2010. 
  10. ^ Kaur, Jaskaran; Crossette, Barbara (2006). Twenty years of impunity: the November 1984 pogroms of Sikhs in India (2nd ed.). Portland, OR: Ensaaf. p. 16. ISBN 0-9787073-0-3. 
  11. ^ Westerlund, David (1996). Questioning The Secular State: The Worldwide Resurgence of Religion in Politics. C. Hurst & Co. p. 1276. ISBN 1-85065-241-4. 
  12. ^ Singh, Pritam (2008). Federalism, Nationalism and Development: India and the Punjab Economy. Routledge. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-415-45666-1. Retrieved 29 July 2010. 
  13. ^ "Falling Rain Genomics, Inc - Amritsar". Fallingrain.com. Retrieved 2012-07-17. 
  14. ^ "Amritsar". Imd.gov.in. Retrieved 2012-07-17. 
  15. ^ http://www.imdpune.gov.in/Temp_Extremes/histext2010.pdf
  16. ^ http://www.imdpune.gov.in/Temp_Extremes/histext2010.pdf http://www.ogimet.com/cgi-bin/gsynres?ind=42071&ano=2013&mes=5&day=23&hora=15&min=0&ndays=30
  17. ^ "Amritsar Climate Record". Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  18. ^ "Amritsar Climate Normals 1971-1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Climatological Information for Amritsar, India". Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  20. ^ "State-wise, District-wise List of Blocks with >40% but less than 50% SC population". Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  21. ^ "Rail ride to Chandigarh from Delhi in 50 mins flat?". The Times Of India. 4 April 2008. 
  22. ^ "Railways invites global bids for Delhi-Amritsar high speed route". The Times Of India. 23 March 2008. 
  23. ^ "Speed machines: 13 states want Bullet Train". The Times Of India. 6 April 2008. 
  24. ^ "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Punjab". Tribuneindia.com. Retrieved 2012-07-17. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Harjinder Singh Dilgeer (2005), Sikh Twareekh Vich Akal Takht Sahib Da Role, Sikh University Press
  • Harjinder Singh Dilgeer (2011), AKAL TAKHT SAHIB (Concept & Role), Sikh University Press
  • Harjinder Singh Dilgeer (2008), SIKH TWAREEKH (5 volumes), Sikh University Press.

External links[edit]