The Sikhs accept Guru Granth Sahib as their eternal Guru. The sacred verses are known as ‘Gurbani’ which is considered as the words of ‘Guru’ or the song message enshrined in it. It is believed that the poetic composition of the Granth was aimed at appealing to every human heart and also to prevent any possible alteration and adulteration. The Guru Granth Sahib was first composed by the fifth Sikh guru, Guru Arjan Dev at Amritsar and its second edition was composed by the tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh at Damdama.
Amritsar is thus a pilgrimage for the Sikhs, besides being a tourism center. The very word ’Amrit’ or nectar or elixir draws attention of tourists. The word ‘sar’ means pool. Literarily, Amritsar means ‘holy pool of nectar’. It denotes the pool, at the mid of which stands the Golden Temple, or Harmindar Sahib. It is the spiritual and cultural center of the Sikh religion. It is a unique Gurudwara or place of worship the construction of which was initiated by Guru Ramdasji and completed by his successor, the fifth guru, Guru Arjan Devji in 1601.
Irrespective their religious faith, visitors can have their spiritual experience at the Golden Temple. They are required to wash their feet before entering and keep their heads covered with cloth or handkerchief. After the main entrance or the ‘Ghanta Ghar’, comes the Amrit Sarovar in which male pilgrims can take bath. Harmandir Sahib or the Golden Temple is a two storey structure floating over the Amrit Sarovar. It houses the sacred Adi Granth scripture. The Akal Takht stands opposite to the Harmandir Sahib where the highest council of Sikhs sits and deliberates.
Those having interest in the freedom movement of India can pay a visit to the Jallianawala Bagh which is a five minute walk from the Golden Temple. This garden place stands mute witness to the event of 13th of April, 1919, when 1579 innocent people were mercilessly killed by firing by the British Indian Army. The sight of the bullet marks on the walls and adjoining buildings will echo the bullet sounds in the minds of the tourists and remind them of the sacrifices made by the people of Amritsar for the freedom of India.
Mata TempleA Hindu cave temple that is devoted to the female saint Lal Devi. Women come here to pray for getting children. The labyrinthine structure that involves roundabout path to reach the temple affords rare experience to the zealous visitors. They have to go through low tunnels, caves full of ankle-deep water, gradient walkways and mirrored hallways. This is a unique temple that houses varieties of deities, colored differently and elaborate mirrored images.
Summer Palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, located in the Ram Bagh Park houses a museum with exhibits of historical importance
Ram Tirth, 11 km away from Amritsar is believed to be the mythological ashram of Saint Valmiki. One can still witness a hut where Luv and Kush, the twin sons of King Rama were given birth to by Sita.
Amritsar is an amazing showcase of diverse traditions, secular culture, historical background, national heritage and abode of all merits.