Just as many other tourists and travelers you might also be the one scrolling on the internet looking for the famous places to visit in Amritsar. Though you will get enough answers to your queries, but we assure you that the hidden gems about which we will be talking in this blog, you would not have been able to found out all by yourself.
Amritsar, a historic city of Punjab also known as Ramdaspur in the name of Guru Ram Das Ji, 4th Guru of Sikhs has veiled many stories inside it in form of hidden architects in and around the walled city. Golden Temple, Jallianwala Bagh, Durgiana Mandir or Wagah Border aren’t the only attractions of this city. The city has much more to offer you and much more to tell you about its past.
If you are planning your visit to Amritsar, apart from the famous tourist destinations these hidden gems are must to be explored. As they say, ” “The gladdest moments is a departure into unknown places.”
10 Hidden Gems of Amritsar:
12 Misls used to control Punjab during the 18th century out of which 4 Misls use to control Amritsar. Those 4 Misls were namely Ahluwalia Misl, Ramgarhia Misl, Kanhiya Misl, and Bhangi Misl. The head of Ahluwalia Misl was Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, who built this Quila (Fort) as a comforting base during his visits to the holy shrine, The Harimandir Sahib.
After the demise of Jassa Singh, his descendants took over the control of the fort expanded the fort to strengthen its defensive powers. Then in 1802, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji, the head of Shukarchakiya Misl took over the control of the fort and built friendly relations with the Chief of Ahluwalia Misl, Fateh Singh. In one of the conflicts with Multans and Maharaja, Fateh Singh had to leave the fort to assist him. Till then the Quila is left abandoned and no one is there to take care of this heritage architect.
So when in Amritsar, do visit this amazing architect hidden in the narrow bylanes near the Dharam Singh Market.
Punjab flourished both culturally and economically during the era of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji, that is why that era is called as Golden Era of Punjab. One such site was built during that time by Maharaja was Pul Moran which was earlier called Pul Kanjri.
Ranjit Singh Ji used to travel a lot between Lahore and Amritsar when the Sikh empire under him was at its zenith. He gave orders to construct this site for resting and recreational purposes. This historic hidden gem is situated just at the border of India-Pakistan and marks the remembrance of the eternal love story of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji and a commoner – Moran, a Muslim nautch dancer.
Moran- a young Muslim dancer was Ranjit Singh’s favorite and the king even used to favor her with many gifts on her every visit. The story behind the “Pul” is believed to be that one day on her visit to the Darbaar she lost one of her silver shoes in the flowing canal which was gifted to her by the Maharaja. She refused to perform that night until her shoe was retrieved. Seeing his favorite dancer depressed because of the loss of a shoe, the KIng ordered to construct a Pul – bridge, to avoid such an incident to happen again.
This hidden gem is a must-visit site in Amritsar and is situated about 40km away from the main city of Amritsar.
Despite having two more mosques near it, Jama Masjid Khairuddin Mosque is the main center of all the Islamic prayers in the city. The mosque is located in the middle of Hall Bazaar though at a hidden place that makes it the another hidden gem of the city.
Built-in 1876 by Mohammad Khairuddin, the mosque is the most admired religious centers of both locals as well as travelers. When the Jallianwala Bagh massacre happened in 1919 and the garden was littered with dead bodies and blood, it was this mosque that served as a cremation place for those bodies. The Muslims were the persons who performed the rituals during the cremation ceremonies of those bodies.
Many times it has been seen that Jama Masjid is not only a place of worship for Muslims rather people belonging to Sikh religion and Hindus have been seen going there especially at the time of Eid. People had been performing various volunteer jobs of cleaning, guarding and performing various other duties during the time of Eid. Thus displaying what secularism really means.
This Mosque is the biggest of all the mosques you will find in the walled city and holds a very special place in defining the secular environment of the city by having Golden Temple on one side and Durgiana Mandir on the other.
Though not a hidden gem but still most of the people don’t know about it. The Ram Bagh Gate is the only gate out of 12 gates of Amritsar that survived in its original form.
It is believed that the Ram Bagh Gate was a connection between the Summer Palace or the Ram Bagh Palace and the Golden Temple. Like all the other 12 gates this gate was also constructed to safeguard the city from the external invaders. The internal structure of the Rambagh Gate in Amritsar has been redeveloped and upgraded as part of the HRIDAY project of the National Institute of Urban Affairs of the Union Ministry of Urban Development and the Amritsar Municipal Corporation (MCA) to conserve the cultural importance of this historical site.
The interior of the gate has been renovated keeping in mind the original design of the structure. You will find the colored steel trunks inside the gate that holds the story of the people who left them during the partition of the country in 1947. The bricks used in the gate are Nanakshahi style with lime and no cement is used inside the structure to give it a contemporary look.
So when in Amritsar, don’t forget to visit this beautiful historic gate though not a hidden gem but surely a place less known to people.
Also known as Ram Bagh Palace, it is believed to have been connected to the Ram Bagh Gate. Having a deep interest in development and beautifications works of gardens and palaces, Maharaja constructed this Summer Palace for his visit to Amritsar.
The palace was constructed under the supervision of Faqir-Aziz-ul-Din, Desa Singh and Sardar Lehna Singh Majithia all having close relationships with the Maharaja. This beautiful historic hidden gem was built with the cost of Rs 1,25,000/- at that time. After the Sikh empire lost its power into the hands of the British, these palaces were left unattended and with the time turned into ruins.
It took quite a long time for the Government to know the historic value of the structure. In 1997, the Government of Punjab declared the whole of the Ram Bagh complex as the protected area. The place is truly a hidden gem very less known to even the locals. So on your next visit to Amritsar, do visit this place and learn about it.
This guest house was built more than 350 years ago by Abd al-Haqq Shirazi, who was given the title of Amanat Khan by the Royal Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Amanat Khan was the court librarian and calligrapher in the court of Shah Jahan. He was appointed by Shah Jahan for the calligraphy works on the mausoleum which later came to be known as the Taj Mahal.
Amanat Khan took retirement from the court of Shah Jahan just after the demise of his brother Afzal Khan who was Diwan in the court of Shah Jahan. Though Amanat Khan didn’t return to Iran which has his birthplace but settled in the village at Tarn Taran-Attari Road which is now named after him. He completely isolated himself from the world and started the construction of “Sarai” for the weary travelers who have to travel to Agra from Lahore. The calligraphy on the guest house is wholly done by himself only.
He spent his entire life here only after the retirement from the court and spend his lifetime earnings on its construction. It is believed that he was buried here only. This hidden gem on the outskirts of the city has not been taken care of properly by the Government which has lead to the encroachment of the site. The Nanakshahi style bricks which were used in the construction of the “Sarai” are falling off.
Though the structure is not in good condition at all but the travelers need stories to hear and past to learn to feed their soul. Visit this hidden gem during your visit to Amritsar and experience the Mughal architecture by the famous calligrapher.
Located at the south entrance of the Harimandir Sahib, this Gurudwara is hidden under the shadow of the splendor of Golden Temple. The holy shrine is named after the descendant of Guru Hargobind Singh Ji, the 6th Guru of Sikhs. As the gurudwara is built in the memory of Baba Atal Ji. so let’s just have a sneak peek into the history behind it.
It is said that Baba Atal Rai Ji at the age of 9 revived his friend named Mohan from his demise after he was bitten by a snake. But as he went against the law of nature to revive the one who has already died, Guru Hargobind Singh Ji wasn’t pleased with him on this spiritual act of his son. So he reminded his son of the trade of soul. Soon after this incident, Atal Rai Ji renounced his life on the bank of Kaulsar reciting Japji Sahib, one of the Holy Sikh prayers.
The shrine’s structure represents a nine-storey octagonal tower almost 40 meter high making it the tallest standing building in Amritsar, still then it is ignored by many. So coming to Golden Temple? give yourself a chance and experience the serene ambiance here too.
Khuh is a Punjabi word which means wells. This hidden gem which is currently under the renovation as a heritage site under the HRIDAY scheme of central government.
This site is more than 100 years old and is located at Jorha Fatak. The whole city was supplied water through these 40 wells. The cast-iron pipes are still present there. The design and architect of the site will resemble to that of Rosegarden and leisure valley
It is a centuries-old sacred banyan tree that grows in the middle of the Old City’s narrow streets. A small shrine has been built around the base of the tree itself, and all the surrounding houses have been built to allow for the tree.
This place is somewhere hidden in the market near Golden Temple and is believed to be the birthplace of Baba Atal Rai Ji. Guru Arjan Dev Ji also got married here only and was enthroned as next Guru hereafter Guru Ramdas Ji, the founder of Amritsar.