Loose yourself in the neighborhoods of Stay Shaandaar
using the Self-Guided Heritage Walking Maps
and discover hidden gems and authentic culture along the way.

Our Boutique stay is located near the Golden Temple and is just minutes from Gurudwara Shaheed Baba Deep Singh Ji. Browse through a shopping street, savour local cuisine or learn about the religious history of Gurudwaras.

 

The Golden Temple

            The Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar, Punjab is the holiest shrine of Sikhism. Previously (and still more commonly) known as the Golden Temple, it was officially renamed Harmandir Sahib in March 2005.

            Under the instructions of Guru Amar Das, this city was founded by Guru Ram Das in 1574. Guru Ram Das began excavation of the Amritsar Sarovar (tank) in 1577. It was ready by 1581. This tank was renovated by Guru Arjun in 1586. Since then this city is known as Amritsar (after the name of the sarovar). By 1601, the Golden Temple was fully ready. In 1603-04 the first volume of Guru Granth Sahib (the holy book of Sikhs), the Sikh scriptures, was prepared in the city and was installed at Harmandir Sahib on August 16, 1604.

Some Facts about Golden Temple

  1. In the early 19th Century, 100 kg of gold was applied to the inverted lotus shaped dome and decorative marble was added. All this gold and marble work took place under the patronage of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (The legendary Warrior King was a major donor of money and materials for the shrine).

  2. The axis of the golden temple is neither North, South, East nor West.

  3. It has four entry gates symbolizing that the temple is open to all religions Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, and Christians.

  4. It was built at a lower level than the surrounding land so that the denotes would go down steps to enter it. It means that everybody, even a king has to come to a lower level to visit the shrine.

  5. Free langar is served to one and all irrespective of the caste, color or creed.

  6. The foundation stone was laid by a Muslim saint Hazrat Mian Mir.

  7. Free water is distributed at the corners of the Golden Temple called Chabbils.

  8. Every day Guru Granth Sahib (the present guru of the Sikhs) is taken on the Palki Sahib to sukhasan for sleep during the night and back to the temple for parkash.

  9. Daily the interior of the Golden Temple is cleaned with milk.

  10. On historical days Jaloo (means showing historical weapons and other instruments and jewelry) is organized.

  11. For any announcement in Golden Temple, Nagara (a reed instrument) is used.

  12. Now, new LCD’s have been installed in the Golden Temple on which the meaning of Gurbani (holy book) is displayed in Punjabi and English.

 

The Gurudwaras of Amritsar: A Historical Perspective

          

Gurudwara Shaheed Baba Deep Singh Ji

            Also known as Shaheedan Sahib, is situated in Amritsar on the Tarn Taran Road. In the year 1757, when Baba Deep Singh got the news that Taimurshah and Jahan Khan had shown disrespect for Shri Harmandir Sahib and had also started filling the holy sarovar. He took a pledge to teach a lesson to the cruel and started on his journey for Sri Amritsar Sahib. There was a fierce battle with Jahan Khan, Babaji was beheaded. Babaji held his head in his left hand and swayed the Khanda with his right hand, babaji reached Shri Amritsar and offered his head at Shri Harmandir Sahib. Antim Sanskar (Funeral) of Baba Deep Singh Ji and other Shaheed Singh’s was done here.

       Baba Atal Sahib

            Gurudwara Baba Atal Sahib is situated on the back side of the Golden Temple. Baba Atal Rai was born in 1676 to Shri Guru Hargobind Sahib. From the early age, he was intelligent, lively and a deeply religious boy. He was called ‘Baba’ because whatever he said had some deep humane meaning.

       Dukh Bhanjani Beri

            Duni Chand Khatri was a rich landlord. He had five daughters. He married his youngest daughter Rajni to a leper. She accepted the leper as her husband served him with great lone. In those days, Guru Ram Das was constructing a new city at Amritsar.

            She took the leper with him and reached Amritsar. She joined the other devotees and was deputed to cook meals in the common kitchen. While going for her duty, she used to take her husband with her. One day, she left him to sit under a Ber tree. He saw a pair of crows taking a dip in the pool and flying away with their color changing from black to white. He reached near the pond and took a dip into the water. When he came out, he was astonished to see himself healed and healthy. He was no longer a leper. Rajni felt very happy. They met Guru Ram Dass and told him the whole story. The Guru was pleased to hear it. When the people of the area heard about the appearance of Nectar pond they rushed to see and have a bath in it. The tree, under which the leper was sitting, came to be known as ‘Dukh Bhanjani Beri’ as it relieves pains and afflictions. A gurudwara has been built near the Beri and thousands of people take bath under that Beri.

        Gurudwara Bhai Shalo Da Tobha, Amritsar

            This gurdwara is situated in the Hall Bazaar area of Amritsar marks the place of a pond where Bhai Shalo used to stay during the construction of Amritsar city. Bhai Shalo stayed with Guru Ram Das ji and started selfless service and meditation (simran).

For the establishment of the city, Bhai Shalo brought traders and workers of 52 castes and settled here. Guru Arjun Dev was delighted to know this and gave charge of the whole city to Bhai Shalo.

For strengthening and renovation of sarovar (pond), the fuel required for kiln was finished. Bhai Shalo went to many villages and exclaimed that a person who would donate fuel (like dung cakes, firewood etc.) would be blessed with a son. Many people gave donations. When the Guru came to know this, he was very pleased and stated the person who would both, with heart and soul, in Bhai Shalo’s pond would be blessed with a son and weak children who bathe in it would become healthy.

         Gurudwara Guru Ka Mahal

            It is situated near to the Golden Temple. Shri Guru Ram Das and his family were staying here. Sri Guru Arjun Dev got married and was also blessed as guru here. Guru Hargobind Sahib was also married here. This place is also the birthplace of Baba Atal Rai and Guru Teg Bahadur ji.

        Gurudwara Guru Ka Bagh

            It is situated in the village Sainsara in the Amritsar. This holy place is built in remembrance of Shri Guru Arjan Dev. After Shri Guru Arjan Dev, Shri Guru Teg Bahadur ji came here. Guru ji used to meditate here during that time. Guru ji planted trees at this place and named it ‘Guru Ka Baag’. He also blessed this place as “Jehra akhoo Guru Ka Baag, unhoo lagange Bhaag’.

      Gurudwara Beed Baba Budha Ji

            This Gurudwara is situated on Chabbal Amritsar road. Baba Budha Ji spent many parts of his life here. Guru Arjun Dev also visited this place. Mata Ganta expressed her wish for a son. So Guru Arjun Dev suggested her to pay homage to Baba Budha and ask for ‘Putar Di Daat’ Mata Ganga got delicious food prepared and visited Baba Budha ji here. But Baba Ji refused to accept the food. Later Mata Ji herself prepared missi roti and a onion and visited Baba Ji. Baba Budha Ji blessed Mata Ji with son and told her that her son would be a great warrior and he would crush Muslims heads as he crushed the onion. Later Mata Ji and Guru Arjun Dev ji were blessed with Shri Guru Hargobind Ji.

     Gurudwara San Sahib         

            Situated in the village of Basarke in Amritsar district. Guru Amar Das was named the next Guru by Guru Angad Dev but Datu, the son of Guru Angad Dev forced Guru Amar Das to leave Goindwal Sahib. Guru Amar Das, being a humble person, returned his family village of Basarke.

            Here the Guru Shut himself up in a small hut with a note on the door. The note said, “he opened this door is no Sikh of mine, nor I am his Guru”. When a delegation of the sikhs lead by Baba Budha Ji found the hut, they were perplexed as what to do. Finally, Baba Budha Ji decided to make a hole in the wall so as not to go against the Guru’s instruction.

            They pleaded the Guru Amar Das ji to return to Goindwal Sahib as only he was their true beloved Guru. Guru ji returned with the Sikhs. The hole in the wall is still preserved today inside the Gurudwara Sahib.

        Akal Takht Sahib

            The Akal Takht literally means the seat (Throne) of the Timeless one or the seat of God is the highest seat of the temporal authority of the Khalsa and is equivalent to any parliament of the world sovereign state. Akal Takht is located in the Harmandir Sahib Complex in Amritsar.

It was built by the sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind as a symbol of the political sovereignty of the Sikhs. It stood as a symbol of political and military resistance against the tyranny and cruelty of the rulers in the 17th and 18th century.

On 4 June, 1984, the Akal Takht building was badly damaged during the operation Blue Star launched by the Indian Army on the orders of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to evict a group of armed Sikh saint soldiers that had fortified the buildings and were posing a threat to the Indian Government’s political powers.

         Gurudwara Baba Bakala

            This historical shrine is associated with an important event in the Sikh history. The shrine is associated with Guru Teg Bahadur, Baba Makhan Shah Labana and Mata Ganga. Before death, at Delhi on March 30, 1664, Guru Harkrishan uttered these words “Baba Bakala”, thereby meaning that his successor was to be found at Bakala village in Amritsar. In Bakala, there were many men who claimed to be the Guru’s successor. This was the first time that a Guru had not selected his successor in person. It created some anxiety in the Sikhs.

       Gurudwara Chheharta Sahib

            This Gurudwara is named after a well that Guru Arjun had sunk. The well was so wide and the water supply so abundant, that six Persian Wheels installed around the interiors of its circumference could operate simultaneously. Hence its name Chheharta (mean having six (chee) Persian Wheels (hart). The well has now been covered, but its water is still pumped to feed the main tank of the gurudwara.

      Gurudwara Goindwal Sahib

            Goindwal is the first-ever place of the Sikh pilgrimage so designated by its founder, Guru Amar Das. This, in fact, was to spot where the ancient east-west high way crossed the River Beas. In 1559, Guru Amar Das commenced the digging in Goindwal of a Baoli that is a well with steps descending down to water level which, when completed, attracted pilgrims from for and near. It also became the center of an annual fair on the occasion of Bai Sakhi in the time of Guru Amar Das. Devotees continued to visit Goindwal to have a dip in the sacred baoli and pay homage at other local shrines.

Gurudwara Guru Ki Wadali

            It is situated in Guru Ki Wadali Village in Amritsar district. It is a holy place where Guru Arjan Dev started the five harat. With tune, guru Hargobind along with thousands of Sikhs, came for a visit and also gurudwara Chheharta Sahib where he took bath and had a congregation.

            Whoever cursed does Ardas here, his curse would go. Whoever would offer Ardaas at this place, it would be fulfilled.

      Gurudwara Tarntaran Sahib  

            Tarntaran Sahib is a city in Punjab. It was founded by the fifth Sikh Guru Shri Guru Arjan Dev Ji. He laid the foundation of Sri Tarntaran Sahib temple.

Jallianwala Bagh

            The Jallianwala Bagh site is witness to one of the most brutal incidents that took place during the Indian Freedom Struggle. This incident played an important role in giving a definite direction to the Indian freedom movement. Hence to pay homage to the thousand killed in the awful incident, the Jallianwala Bagh was resurrected.

            On the day of Baisakhi, on 13th April 1919, around 10,000 people gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh to protest peacefully against the oppressive Rowlatt Act quite unaware of the danger surrounding them in the form of brutal General Dyer and his army.

After independence, in around 1961, a large flame shaped memorial was built in Jallianwala Bagh. This 45 feet red stone pillar was erected to pay homage to those thousands of innocent and helpless people. This monument is popularly known as Jallianwala Bagh.

Pul Kanjari

            A renovated movement in Amritsar brings alive a historical romance between Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Rani Moran, a nautch girl who became his queen later. About 40 km from Amritsar, this Pul Kanjari literally the bridge of a naukch girl. This bridge is now officially called Pul Moran, was restored by the Punjab Government.

            Ram Bagh Garden

Ram Bagh garden attracts a lot of tourists every year, owing to the enormous natural beauty. It is used to be the summer palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the past. Earlier, it was called the Company Garden. Later, Maharaja Ranjit Singh changed its name to Ram Bagh to commemorate his devotion to Guru Ram Das.

            The garden is built on the model of Shalimar gardens in Lahore. It has a huge collection of plants and trees, rare coniferous trees, herbal plants and water channels set with fountains and golden fish At one end of the garden, one can see a lively statue of the king seated on a horse.

            The garden has a panorama of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh which depicts the important events in the life of the Great Maharaja through three-dimensional montages. Today, the summer palace of Ranjit Singh has been converted into a museum, which is rich in traditional items like antique weapons, replica of diamond ‘Kohinoor’.

 

Gobindgarh Fort

            The fort occupies a unique place in the Indian military history. Built in 1760, it was called Bhangian Da Kila. According to historians, during 1808, the fort was known as the fort of Gujjar Singh Bhangi. Later it was re-built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh with the help of Jodh Singh. The legendary Maharaja enhanced the fortification of the fort in order to keep his treasures and treaties in safety.

            The fort was constructed with brick and lime with numerous army bastions and iron gates with 25 cannons on the ramparts, now replaced with modern weaponry. In October 1948, the fort was handed over to the Indian Army.

 

Wagah Border

            The Wagah Checkpoint is about midway between the cities of Lahore in Pakistan and Amritsar in India, each about 25 kms away, on the only road link between the two neighbors. Wagah itself is a village through which the controversial Radcliffe line was drawn. The village was divided by Independence in 147. Today, the eastern half of the village remains in the Republic of India while the western half is in Pakistan.

            Here the border is marked in white as it cuts across the historic Grand Trunk Road. The road has been closed for years at Wagah by two metal gates, one on each country’s side. The two flag posts are located contiguous to the boundary line between the two gates. The Wagah Border often called the “Berlin Wall of Asia” is a ceremonial border where each evening there is a retreat ceremony called ‘lowering of the flags’ which has been held since 1959.

 

The Walled City Amritsar

            The Sikh Misals (confederations) gained power in the later 18th century. It was then that the walled city emerged as an architectural masterpiece. The construction of the wall began in 1821 and was completed in about 20 years. It has 240 towers and 12 gates. Bungas, Katras, Bazars, forts, garden, tanks and havelies came up all around as the constituents of the ever-enlarging city of Amritsar.

            In the third decade of the 19th century, Maharaja Ranjit Singh started constructing a wall around the city to improve its fortifications. It was completed finally costing over 12 lacs rupees. The thick outer wall, encircled by a wide and deep moat, was made of unbaked bricks. Inner wall was thinner but made of baked bricks. All the twelve gates were named by Aliuddin:- Hall gate, Hakima Gate, Hathi Gate,  Khazana Gate, Lahori Gate, Ram Bagh, Bhagtawala Gate, Gilwali Gate, Chatiwind Gate, Sultanwind Gate, Ghee Mandi, Mahan Singh Gate, Lohgarh Gate.

 

The Bazaars (Markets) of Amritsar

            The Darbar Sahib in Amritsar has housed numerous markets around its periphery. These markets were known for offering quality goods and were completely dependent on the Sikh shrine for their business.

a)         One of the original markets came to be known as the Jhootha Bazaar because it was believed that everything else was materialistic and the real beauty was “Sach Khand” – the Darbar Sahib.

 

b)         Another famous bazaar was Kathiya wala Bazaar, which was located in the backdrop of Akal Takht. This market started in 1602. Famous for leather goods.

 

c)         The Mai Sewan Bazaar started early in the era of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. This bazaar had shops of drafting material, printing presses, sweets shops, bookshops.

 

d)         Jhootha Bazaar was popular among women for embroidery, lace work, Punjabi juttis, artificial jewelry.

 

e)         Katra Jaimal Singh Full of sarees and textiles. Also famous for handicrafts like phulkari and jewelry etc.

 

f)          Guru Bazaar Famous for gold ornaments traditional Indian jewelry called ‘Jadau’ can be purchased from shops here.

 

g)         Kapda Bazaar Main shopping area of ladies. Dupattas, earning, salwar kameez, bangles etc are available from these shops.

 

h)         Mishri Bazaar- Famous for the variety of sharbats, pickles, murabba. This market is a hot spot during summers.

 

i)          Paparan Wala Bazar: Amritsar is famous worldwide for its papad and warian.

 

j)          Majith Mandi: Famous for dry fruits.

 

k)         Chure Wala Bazaar: The Punjabi bride is incomplete without red bangles called ‘Chura’. This market is famous for various designs of Chura and other bridal accessories. The shops also contain other materials required for various ceremonies during the marriage.

 

l)          Religious Products: Area around Golden Temple has many shops of various religious products like Kirpans, Kara, Chaur Sahi, Chandoa, Rumaalas etc.

The city is also a favorite spot for chess pieces which were craned from ivory and exported to Britain. Chess pieces are now made from Sandalwood and Rosewood.

 

Amritsari Cuisine

Amritsari food is a part of the Punjabi Cuisine, which is characterized by spiciness, richness and Calorie loaded dishes and drinks. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods are eaten in Amritsar city, with special emphasis on milk and milk products like ghee and Butter. City speaks of delicacies like Paranthas, Amritsari Kulchas, Pappad Waddan, Puri Chana, Lassi, Fish, Lachedar Parantha and Maah Ki Daal, Sarso Ka Saag and Makki Ki Roti, Matka Kulfi, Satpura and Rabri which are famous all over the country and many parts of the world.