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Amritsar Holidays Overview
Amritsar is a city located in the North Indian State of Punjab. This bustling city which is home to over a million people was actually named after its most famous landmark, the world renowned Golden Temple which is the greatest spiritual and cultural center for followers of the Sikh faith. The name ‘Amritsar’ which when translated means ‘holy pool of nectar’ has its origins in the sacred body of water that surrounds the imposing structure that is the Golden Temple. The word Amrit itself means nectar while Sar is short for sarovar or lake. The history of Amritsar is quite closely linked with that of the Sikh religion as the city is believed to have been founded in 1577 when the leaders of the Sikh faith ,Guru Ram Das and his son Guru Arjan Dev constructed a temple in the midst of a pool whose waters were believed to have healing powers. Guru Arjan Dev subsequently encouraged traders and craftsmen to then set up shop around the temple complex and thus laid the grounds for the growth and development of Amritsar.The development of the city experienced various ebbs and flows through the ages and due to its strategic location on the Grand Trunk Road (which links Delhi to Lahore) it has featured prominently and often in the annals of Indian History. One such incident was the Jalianwalla Bagh Massacre which occured during India's freedom struggle against the British. This massacre took place on 13th April 1919 when thousands of men, women and children were brutally butchered at Jalianwalla Bagh by British troops acting under the command of General Reginal Dyer. The people of Amritsar had gathered peacefully demonstrate against the draconian Rowlatt Act which the British had passed earlier that year and it was during this peaceful protest that they were fired uopn by the British troops. British troops.
Amritsar at this time was occupied by Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs but the largely Muslim population of Amritsar migrated to Pakistan during the partition of India in 1947 which coincideded with the deperature of the British from the country. This period was another dark period for this city as it experienced unprecedented carnage and loss of life during the riots that were associated with the events of the Partition.
Today the walled city of Amritsar continues to have an old world air about it as its landscape is predominantly dominated by narrow roads and by lanes though the outskirts of the city have experienced much development as they are characterized by wide roads and beautiful residential and commercial complexes. The chief commercial activity in Amritsar continues to be linked with agriculture though carpet weaving, handicrafts, tourism and service industry also augment the local economy.
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holidays - Top Events
The main events in Amritsar are centered on the major festivals of Lohri, Baisakhi and Gurupurab.
Lohri is a harvest festival which is usually celebrated on the 13th of January every year as it marks the end of the winter and harvesting season. The event is celebrated with indigenous music and dance in all of the Punjab. The day of Lohri considered to be the first day of the Sikh calendar and it is accordingly celebrated by submitting offerings at Gurudwaras( Sikh temples) and amongst the needy.
The Baisakhi Festival
The Baisakhi Festival usually falls on April
13th or April 14th and this festival marks the beginning of the solar year. The economy of the state of Punjab is largely agrarian and accordingly people thank God for a good harvest during the festival of Baisakhi. This festival also features visits to Gurudwaras, Vaisakhi processions and fun fairs(melas) and traditional dance performances .
Gurupurab is the most sacred festival of the Sikhs as this festival commemorates the birth anniversary of the founder of the Sikh religion Guru Nanak. This festival is usually celebrated in November but the date varies with the lunar calendar. Elaborate festivities and prayers take place every year at the Golden Temple in celebration of Gurupurab.
holidays - How to Get There
Airlines such as Malaysian, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, British Airways and Sri Lankan offer air links to Amritsar from the Australian cities of Melbourne and Sydney.
These journeys usually involve stops in hubs such as Singapore and Delhi and typically involve a flight time of more than 25 hours depending on the route you choose to fly.
Australia doesnt have a consulate or a mission in Amritsar and the closest Australian mission to Amritsar is the Australian High Commission in New Delhi.