Home to the most famous Sikh shrine, the Golden Temple Amritsar is located 230 km northwest of Chandigarh in Punjab. Guru Ramdas, the fourth Guru of the Sikhs established Amritsar in 16th century. Amritsar is also the seat of the highest temporal authority of Sikhs, the Akal Takht (or the timeless throne). The city is special for Hindus too; Sita is believed to have spent considerable time at Valmiki’s ashram at Ram Tirth near here. Lord Ram and Sita’s sons Luv and Kush were born here. Amritsar is also known for the Sri Durgiana Temple built in the 16th century, which resembles the Golden Temple and is often called the Silver Temple. Amritsar was at the forefront of Indian freedom movement. The city witnessed the brutal Jallianwala Bagh massacre in which the British opened fire on unarmed Indians, which left 379 dead and over 1200 injured. Partition of India and Pakistan had the most profound effect on the demographics, economics, social structure and culture of Amritsar. Today, the city boasts of jovial, helpful and hospitable people. Amritsar is also known for its rich cuisine, sacred temples, folk art and culture. Amritsar is India’s leading exporter of goods to the Middle East and the leading center of Punjabi publications. Despite its modern outlook, the city still preserves its heritage and culture. The Golden Temple runs the biggest langar or community kitchen in the world.
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