Amritsar (About this sound pronunciation (help·info); Punjabi: Punjabi pronunciation: historically also known as 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 (commonly known as the Golden Temple), 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 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.
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.
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