Amritsar, homeland of the holy shrine of Golden Temple, is one of the most sacred and ancient cities of India. This is the reason as to why it often referred to as 'Golden City'. Amritsar holds a very significant role in the history and culture of Sikhism in the world. This stunning city is located in the northwestern part of India, in the Indian state of Punjab, just 25 km away from the Indo-Pakistan Border. The city is spread over an area of 5094 sq km, at an altitude of 218 m above the average sea level and has a semi-arid climate. It includes extreme hot and dry summers (April-June), cold winters (November-March) and moderate monsoon (July- September), with an average annual rainfall of 542 mm. The best time to visit this city is from the month of October to March. Being a major commercial, cultural, transportation and religious center of India, Amritsar is visited by thousands of visitors daily, including pilgrims (domestic & foreigners) and businessmen.
There are two school of thoughts when it comes to the history of Amritsar. One sect strongly believes that Amritsar existed during the Ramayan times. According to them, the city was the site of the ashram of Rishi Balmiki as well as the birth place of Lord Ram's sons - Luv and Kush. On the other hand, the people of the second sect believe that Amritsar was founded by Guru Ram Das Ji (fourth Sikh Guru) in the year 1574. At that time, it was known as Guru Da Chakk or Chakk Ram Das. After few years, in 1588 the foundation of Darbar Sahib (main hall of Harmandir Sahib) was laid by Sain Mian Mir Sahib. By 1601, Darbar Sahib was ready, while all the Sikh scriptures and Guru Granth Sahib were installed in it on 16, August 1604. Apart from the religious importance, the city has witnessed great historical events such as the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in 1919 under British Rule and the Operation Bluestar Massacre in 1984 during the rule of Indira Gandhi.
Amritsar derives its name from the name of the pool around the Golden Temple which means "holy pool of nectar". Amrit means 'nectar' and Sar (short of Sarovar) stands for 'pool' or 'lake', which when clubbed together forms Amritsar. Despite being a historic city, Amritsar boasts of all the modern facilities and conveniences. Everything, right from transportation and infrastructure to economy, is top notch. To serve various needs of the visitors, it possesses an excellent transport system that links it to the world. The major commercial activities of Amritsar are tourism, carpets and fabrics export, handicrafts, and agricultural crops. Exhibiting a glorious history and culture to the world, this city truly proves to be the jewel of Punjab and even India. Once here, don't miss a chance to visit some most revered and historical places like Sri Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple), Akal Takht Sahib, Dhan Dhan Khalsa, Durgiana Temple, Jallianwala Bagh, and Wagah Border.