Kaulsar.—Kaulsar, i.e. the ‘Tank of Kaulan’, is quite close to Baba Atal. Kaulan was the daughter of a Muhammadan Qazi of Lahore. She had a desire to live with Guru Hargobind. At the time of the Guru’s visit to Lahore, she saw him and accompanied him to Amritsar. Here, she expressed her desire to marry him, but the Guru refused and advised her to live there as his disciple. She agreed and requested the Guru to keep and memory alive. Thereupon, the Guru build a tank and named it Kaulsar after the name of the lady. There is a small gurdwara by the side of the tank.
Ramsar.—This small tank, built Guru Arjan Dev, is the place where he compiled the holy Granth Sahib. Gurdwara Manji Sahib, situated on the south-west of Baba Atal, stands by the side of Ramsar. There is a raised white marble platform, known as Manji Sahib, where Guru Arjan Dev dictated the Adi-Granth, i.e., the first original copy, to Bhai Gurdas.
Bibeksar.—In front of the Gurdwara Ramsar is this tank, the foundation of which was laid by Guru Hargobind in 1622. Nearby was also a beautiful garden where the Guru used to come for recreation. He usually took rest on the edge of the tank where now stands the Gurdwara Bibeksar. Sometimes, he held his meetings here in the evening. Here, the Guru organized his followers on military lines.
Santokhsar.—Santokhsar and the adjoining Gurdwara. Tahli Sahib are situated in the heart of the city, near the Town Hall. There is a shisham (tahli) –tree under which Guru Arjan Dev used to sit. Santokhsar is one of the biggest tanks in Amritsar. Its digging was started by Guru Ram Das in 1570 and was completed by Guru Arjan Dev in 1588.
According to a tradition, once in 1584 a man, named Santokha, came to Guru Arjan Dev to seek his blessings. He was a rich man and was issueless wanted to be blessed with a child. He offered 250 gold mohars to the Guru who spent the amount on the excavation of the tank and named it Santokhsar after Santokha.
According to another tradition, while the digging of the tank was in progress, a math was found underneath. When its door was cleared, a yogi Santokh Das by name, was found sitting there in the Samadhi pose (in meditation). When brought to consciousness, the yogi told Guru Arjan Dev that was a religious centre even in the Duapar Yug and the name of the place was ‘Amritsar’. He beseeched the Guru to bless him, as he was waiting for him to come to this place in order to revive its ancient importance. As the Guru blessed the yogi, he left for his heavenly adobe. The tank was, therefore, named Santokhsar after him.
Gurdwara Sara Garhi.—Situated just opposite the Government Higher Secondary School, Town Hall, Amritsar, it was built in the memory of the non-commissioned officers officers and men of the 36th Sikhs whose names have been engraved on a marble stone fixed on the wall of the gurdwara as a perpetual record of heroism shown by these gallant soldiers. They died at their posts in the defence of the frontier Fort of Saragarhi on 12th September, 1897, fighting against an overwhelming number of Pathans.
To commemorate their bravery, three gurdwaras were erected—one at Saragarhi, the venue of the battle, the second at Firozpur and the third here. The memorial at Amritsar was unveiled on February 14, 1902.
Gurdwara Shahid Ganj Baba Dip Singh.—Situated near the Chatiwind Gate, this gurdwara was built in the memory of Baba Dip Singh. During his invasion of 1756-57, Ahmad Shah Abdali had razed the Hari Mandir and had filled the Holi Tank with debris and all kinds of rubbish. The shrine was heavily guarded by Muslim soldiers and no Sikh was allowed to enter it. When Baba Dip Singh came to know of it, he took a solemn vow to free the Hari Mandir from the Muslims. He prayed that in case he achieved martyrdom he must fall in the precincts of the Hari Mandir. Along with a few hundred Sikhs, he started for Amritsar. The Muhammadan authorities also sent a big force to check their advance. A bloody battle ensued, but the brave Sikhs kept on advancing. They were yet about 6 km from Amritsar, when Baba Dip Singh got a severe cut with a sword in the neck and his head was nearly severed. It is said that when the head was about to fall, his companions reminded the Baba of his vow. On this, he immediately recovered himself, supported his head with one hand and, wielding his dagger with the other, pushed through the enemy. On reaching the vicinity of the Hari Mandir, he let his head drop and breathed his last. A small gurdwara stands at this place. The dead body was cremated outside the Chatiwind Gate where stands a big gurdwara known as Shahid Ganj Baba Dip Singh. The dagger used by him is still preserved in the Toshakhana of the Golden Temple.
Durgiana Mandir.—Shri Lakshami Narain Mandir, popularly known s the Durgiana Mandir, situated outside the Hathi Gate, Amritsar, is modelled on the pattern of the Golden Temple. It was founded in 1922 through the joint efforts of Nathu Mal Rangwala and Gur Sahai Mal. The temple stands in the middle of a tank, about 162 metres long and 130 metres wide. A bridge about 76 metres long and 5.6 metres wide leads to it. The idols of Lakshami and Narain stand in the central structure along with those of Rama and Sita and Radha and Krishna, installed on the left and right of it. There also exist Sant Tulsi Das Mandir, Sat Narain Mandir, Hanuman Mandir, Radhe Shayam Mandir and a Shivala.
The site of the shrine was once covered with a dense forest, away from the main residential area. A Brahmin, named Durga, lived there. He was a worshipper of Bhagwati Mata (Goddess Mother). He had build the Shitla Mandir which now stands to the north of the main gate of the Durgiana Mandir. In front of the Shitla Mandir, he had got dug a small tank which came to be known after him as Durgiana. This very tank was enlarged and the Gurgiana Mandir, named after the tank, was build in the middle of it.
In the premises of the temple are located the Shri Lakshami Narain Sanskrit College and Shri Lakshami Narain Ayurvedic College. In front of the main gate of the temple is a dharmshala (popularly known as Dhanwant Kaur Dharmshala) where free accommodation is provided for the visitors.
Shitla Mandir.—Situated towards the north of the Durgiana Mandir, this old shrine is held in great veneration by the people. The idol of the goddess Shitla is installed on a golden throne with a golden canopy over it. Parents with children infected with measles usually visit the shrine for obtaining the blessings of the goddess. Inside the temple, are also installed the idols of the goddesses Kali Mata, Lakshami and Saraswati.
During the Navratra days in March and October, women visit the temple in large numbers. A large number of people also visit the place on the Ashtami and Sankrant days every month.
Shri Hanuman Ji Mandir.—Situated by the side of the Durgiana Mandir, Amritsar, this temple is about 250 years old. It is said to have been build on the site where Hanuman was tied to a tree after he had suffered a defeat at the hands of Rama’s sons Lav and Kush who held the horse of the Ashwamedh Yajya in defiance of Lord Ram’s orders and fought successfully against the imperial army. Originally, the shrine was housed in a kachcha hut erected by an ascetic know as Mauni Baba.
It is believed that whosoever comes to worship here gets his wish fulfilled by god Hanuman. That is why parents, who beget children through their devotional service to Hanuman, present them once in a year at the temple dressed in gaudy clothes. The children dance and sing in praise of Hanuman. It is perhaps the only temple in India where this performance is held during the Kartik Navratra days before the Dussehra celebrations. Two idols of Hanuman, one in the standing and the other in the sitting posture, are installed here. The temple is held in great reverence by the people who visit it in large numbers on every Tuesday.
Shri Raghunath Ji Mandir.—Situated close to the Durgiana Mandir, Amritsar, this temple is said to have been built about three centuries back. It was founded by Swami Bhagwan Das whose smadh exists within the premises of the temple. A few old paintings still exist on the walls of the temple. Besides, there are idols of different gods and goddesses in the temple.
Jallianwala Bagh.—The massacre of the innocent people at the Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, perpetrated by General Dyer on March 13, 1919, has no parallel in history in barbarousness and cruelty. It forms an important landmark in India’s struggle for freedom. The flame of liberty lighted there set the whole of the country aflame. It gave great impetus to the Satyagrah movement which ultimately won freedom for the country on August 15, 1947.
The Jallianwala Bagh area once belonged to Bhai Hamit Singh Jallawala, a vakil of Raja Jaswant Singh of Nabha, at the court of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It had ceased to be a garden long ago, and was used as a dumping ground. On all sides were the back walls of houses. Within this area were mounds of rubbish, a dilapidated smadh and a well. It was about 5½ feet (about 1.68 metre) below the level of the city. Situated in the heart of the city, it was surrounded by narrow and crooked lanes.
It was decided in 1923 to acquire the Jallianwala Bagh and raise a national memorial there. For this purpose, a committee was formed with Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya as President and Dr. S.C. Mukerji as Secretary. The Jallianwala Bagh was purchased from its thirty-four owners for Rs 5,65,000 in 1923. The National Memorial Trust, with Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru as Chairman, got prepared a suitable design for the memorial.
The Bagh being a depression, its level was raised by 5½ feet (1.68 metre) to that of the road outside. Four stone lanterns flank the pylon, which looks like a flame. It is composed of 300 pieces of red stone obtained from Dholpur quarries (Rajasthan), and the base and the plinth are made of pieces of granite brought from Bangalore quarries (Mysore). Fourteen stone lanterns, scattered over the site, provide subdued lighting. At the entrance to the garden is an open terrace 60 × 100 feet (18.29 × 30.48 metres) made of Kotah (Rajasthan) stone. This was the spot from which the soldiers opened fire. The terrace is flanked by two loggias 130 × 10 feet (39.62 × 3.05 metres). The columns of the loggias are studded with Ashoka chakras. The entire work was completed at a cost of Rs. 9,25,000. The memorial was inaugurated by Dr. Rajendra Prashad, President of India, in 1961.
In 1974, the Bagh was landscaped by the experts of the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. Rows of poplars and eucalyptus were planted along the periphery to provide a green wall for isolating the view of the surrounding unsightly houses. There has also been set up an art-gallery, named as the Martyrs’ Gallery, where a painting of the massacre, as well as the portraits of the political leaders, etc. of the time are displayed.
Asal Uttar.—It is situated at a distance of 26 km from the headquarters of the Patti Tahsil and 58 km from the headquarters of the Amritsar District. It is connected with Amritsar, Patti and Khem Karan by roads. The village has a panchayat, a Government Primary School and a Government Dispensary. Its population ws 3,011 in 1961, as against 3,010 in 1951.
Sandhu Jats, the inhabitants of the village, had migrated here from another village Asal, situated near Patti. This place was also named Asal. The Sandhu Jats had also settled in another village, also named Asal, situated near Kasur in Pakistan. In order to distinguish this village from the other above mentioned two settlements of the same name, it was named Asal Uttar.
The village came in the limelight during the Indo-Pak conflict of 1965. It was at this place that a heavy onslaught of Pakistani Patton tanks, coupled with armoured cars, was repulsed and the Pakistani forces were defeated.
Atari.—Situated at a distance of 25 km from Amritsar and 49 km from Tarn Taran, Atari is included in the Tarn Taran Tahsil. It is connected by rail and road. The village has a panchayat. Its population was 3,936 in 1961, as against 4,002 in 1951. There are a Government High School for Boys, a Government High School for Girls, a Government Primary School, a Civil Dispensary, a Veterinary Dispensary, a Police-Post and a Post & Telegraph Office.
The village was founded by one Gaur Singh, a Jat of the Sindhu tribe and ancestor of the Atariwala Sardars. As to the origin of the name of the place, it is said that in the nearby village of Pucca Pind, there was an akhara of bairagis (ascetics) where Langar was served. Once it so happened that milk did not reach the place in time. The junior bairagi ordered to fill the degs (big cooking-posts) with water and rice. Meanwhile, milk was supplied, but it was not poured into the degs. Through the spiritual powers of he junior bairagi, the contents in the degs were formed into khir. On enquiry by some miscreant about the milk lying unused, the junior bairagi told that milk had been collected in excess of the requirements and that it would be used later on. The miscreant reported the matter to the senior bairagi who asked the junior one to better occupy the gaddi. The latter regretted the incident and left the place.
The junior bairagi made a small katra (a short of fortress) near Atari and started meditation there. Sardar Nihal Singh, father of Sardar Sham Singh Atariwala, used to go there for playing chess with the junior bairagi. Once it so happened that a Muslim trader suffering from leprosy came to the bairagi and prayed to him to cure him of his disease. The bairagi, recollecting the past incident which had led to his exit from his previous abode, replied that he had no such powers. He, however, suggested to the trader to have faith in God and that, after taking bath, he should paste his body with he ash given by him from the dhuni (fire-pit). Miraculously enough, the trader got cured and, as a nazr (offering), he built a small beautiful hut for the bairagi and implored him to shift there. The bairagi visited the hut with Sardar Nihal Singh and instaneously remarked that was an atari fit for a Sardar like him and not for an ascetic (bairagi). Thereafter, the place came to be known as Atari.
The dera of the bairagi, popularly called the Akhara, has about 300 bighas of land attached to it. The gaddi is not hereditary and the mahant (saint in charge of the place is appointed by the District Akhara Trust on a reasonable salary.
The historical fort of Sardar Sham Singh Atariwala is in ruins. Only a wall of the fort exists. The haveli of Sham Singh is in a dilapidated condition, but it is still occupied by his descendants.
Outside the town, there are smadhs (tombs) of Sardar Nihal Singh , Sham Singh and Kehar Singh and Ram Kishan Kaur (wife of Sardar Kehar Singh). Nearby, there is a big tank which has now fallen into disuse. A mela is held every year on 12th February — the martyrdom day of Sardar Sham Singh Atariwala.
Near the railway station, a gurdwara was build by Sardarni Niaz Kaur some four decades back, where necessary facilities for accommodating the travellers exist.
About ½ km from the railway station, there is a village called Pucca Pind. There is a gurdwara in the memory of Guru Hargobind who is said to have stayed there whole on his way from Lahore to Amritsar. On his arrival at the village, the Guru asked for water. Leaving the nearby well, the ladies of the village ran to a distant well to fetch water. On the Guru's asking, it was stated that the water of the nearby well was brackish and that of the other was sweet. The Guru, on the contrary, said that the water of the nearby well was sweet, whereas that of the other was brackish. The brackish water is laid to have, thus, miraculously turned sweet. The ladies of the village served the Guru well. He is said to have blessed them, saying "Maiyan rab rajaiyan." It is held that the girls of this village, wherever married, generally remain well off.
Baba Bakala.—It lies on the Jullundur-Batala Road; 40 km from Amritsar. There are a village panchayat, Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa High Schools for boys and girls separately, a Primary Health Centre, a Civil Dispensary a Veterinary Hospital and a Sub-Post & Telegraph office. Its population was 3,511 in 1961, as against 3,164 in 1951.
While the child saint Guru Harkishan was on death-bed at Delhi in 1664 and his disciples expressed great anxiety, he said "Baba Bakala"; thereby hinting that his successor, the Ninth Guru, lived at the village of Bakala.
In those days, the office of the Guru, being a source of great income and prestige, was coveted by many. The result was that when the Sikhs came to Bakala to find out their Guru, they, to their surprise, found that a large number of the near relatives of the previous Gurus, mostly Sodhi Khatris, had proclaimed themselves the Guru and had begun to accept the offerings of the Sikhs. It became difficult for the Sikhs to find out who the real Guru was. The situation was, however, saved by a Sikh named Makhan Shah. He was a devotee of Guru Nanak Dev and had brought 500 gold mohars for the Guru because sometime back he had vowed to make this offering to the Guru while escaping a shipwreck. Makhan Shah then hit upon a plan to find out the real Guru. Instead of offering 500 gold mohars, he placed two mohars before every impostor. But, when he placed two mohars before Tegh Bahadur, the latter asked him to offer the remaining 498 also, as the Sikh, at the time of shipwreck, had promised 500. Makhan Shah at once fell at his feet and then proclaimed at the top of his voice “Guru ladho re, Guru ladho re”, i.e., the Master is found, the Master is found. Thereupon, the Sikhs recognized Guru Tegh Bahadur as their head1.
Bhagwanpura.—Situated on the Amritsar-Khem Karan Road, it is 24 km from Patti, the tahsil headquarters, and 45 km from Amritsar. The village has a panchayat, a Primary School and a Post-office. Its population was 1,281 in 1961, as against 1,184 in 1951.
The takiya (rendezvous) of a Muslim saint, Shah Chup, is situated outside the village where a mela is held on the 1st of Bhadra (August-September).
1K.S. Narang and H.R. Gupta, History of the Punjab (1526—1857), pp. 141-42
Chheharta.—The town is about 7 km from Amritsar (the tahsil and district headquarters) on the Amritsar-Atari branch line. It is situated on the G.T. Road, Chheharta is a class 11 municipality . It has two high schools (one for boys and the other for girls), a Government Polytechnic Institute, a Municipal Hospital, a Veterinary Hospital a Police-Post, a Post & Telegraph Office, a Telephone Exchange and a Municipal Library. Its population was 13,760 in 1961, as against 10,367 in 1951.
The town derives its name from a well, fitted with six Persian wheels, in the historic gurdwara located here. The gurdwara was constructed by Guru Arjan Dev to commemorate the birth of his son, Harbobind. It is regarded very auspicious to take bath with the water of this well. The water from the well is poured into an adjoining tank. Issueless women take bath in this water, seeking bleessing to beget a son. A big fair, attended by over 75,000 persons, is held here annually on the Basant Panchami day in January/February.
About 2½ km from Chheharta is Wadali Guru, Where Guru Hargobind was born. A fair is also held there annually on the Basand Panchami day.
Chheharta is an industrial centre, with a good number of registered factories and mills and smaller concerns, producing a variety of goods.
Chima.—It is situated 35 km to the south-west of the tahsil head-quarters, Patti, and 56 km south of the district headquarters, Amritsar. The village has a primary school and a panchayat. Its population was 991 in 1961, as against 890 in 1951.
The village came into prominence during the Indo-Pam Conflict of 1965. At this place, Havinlar Abdul Hamid smashed four Pakistani Patton tanks and checked their advance. The valiant fighter also died fighting there on 11th September, 1965. He was posthumously awarded Parm Vir Chakra by the President of India. His grave is situated in a corner of the village. Every year, the people, all high and low, visit the grave on 11th September to pay their homage to the martyr.
Chohla.—Situated in Tahsil Tarn Taran, Chohla is connected by road with Sirhali Kalan which is situated on the Amritsar-Harike Road. It is 5 km from Sirhali Kalan and 48 km from Amritsar. There are a Government Higher Secondary School, a Government Girls' High School, a Government Primary School (Boys), a Veterinary Dispensary and a Sub-post Ofice. The village has a panchayat. Its population was 4,675 in 1961, as against 4,164 in 1951.
There is a gurdwara in the memory of Guru Arjan Dev who, on his way from Sirhali Kalan, stayed here for 2 years, 6 months and 10 days. The place was previously known as Bhaini. The residents served the Guru well. A lady belonging to Bhaini, said to be a lambardarni, brought a chola (long robe) and churi (bread mashed with ghee and sugar) for the Guru, who accepted the offerings and was immensely pleased. He named the village Chohla and said 'Chohla guru ka ohla', 'Bhaini dhaini'. A large number of people visit the place on every Amavas and Sanskrit. A fir is held there on the Baisakhi day.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh assigned the revenue of the entire village to gurdwara. The revenue amounted to Rs 5,000, but, with the exemption of land revenue on small holdings, it has come down to Rs 1,000. About 350 acres of land is attached to the gurdwara.
Chung (Baba Rodey Shah).—It is situated on the Amritsar-Khem Karan Road at a distance of 24 km from the tahsil headquarters at Ptti, and 45 km from Amritsar. The village has a panchayat and a primary school. Its population was 927 in 1961, as against 937 in 1951.
The village was originally inhabited by Mirza-Shujayat Alah-Beg who party inherited it from his in-laws and partly purchased it. It was named Fatehpur-Aman-Allah. The Warraich Jats were at the time adana maliks of the land. The village was deserted by the time the Mughal authority ended in the area. During the ascendancy of Kanwar Nau Nehal Singh, some Warraich Jats again shifted here from different village. They named the village Chung after their all (the popular name by which a caste is known). Since then, the village has never been deserted.
At a distance of 2 km from the village, there is the Takiya Rodey Shah where a mela is held on 20th of Asadha.
Dera Baba Jaimal Singh.—It is situated in Tahsil Amritsar on the western bank of the River Beas. The nearest railway station is Beas, about 6 km from the Dera (adobe). The plae is connected with the railway station and the Grand Trunk Road by a pucca approach road. The Dera was founded in 1891 by Baba Jaimal Singh, a disciple of Swami Maharaj of Agra. His successor, the second Guru, was Baba Sawan Singh, who breathed his last in 1943. The third Guru was Sardar Bahadur Jagat Singh who was succeeded in 1951 by the present Guru, Baba Charan Singh—grandson of Baba Sawan Singh.
In the beginning, the Dera was a waste land, but gradually it was transformed into a township. This spiritual centre became widely known during the period of Baba Singh who remained Guru for more than 4 decades. The Dera has its own labour, architect, engineer, electrician, veterinary doctor and medical officer. Most of the members of the staff do not draw any salary.
The present Guru severed his connection with the Dera property amounting to lakhs of rupees and formed it into a trust, managed by an elected committee. Free langar is served at the Dera. There is a special ultramodern rest-house, with all amenities for foreigners.
A big diwan (congregation) is held four times in a year in February, June, September and December. The diwan is attended by a large number of people. The Guru holds discourses and gives Nam (initiation) to the deserving devotees. A very big langar hall has been built on the bank of the river where thousands of persons can sit at a time to have meals. Special canteens of the cafeteria type, on no-profit-no-loss basis, are also opened during the congregation days to provide meals for those desirous of having it on payment.
The present Sat Sang Ghar at the Dera, where discourses are held, was built in 1934.
Mitti ki sewa and kahi ki sewa are the most well-known features there. The disciples, in utter disregard of their social status, most eagerly volunteer themselves for dumping mitti (earth) on the low land, thus reclaiming the land for the use of the Dera. The other important service rendered by the people is to cut from the river bank kahi (reeds) which are used for cooking meals in the langar of the Dera all the year round.
The guru preaches the Radhasoami cult. To a Radhasoami, ‘Radha’ does not mean the beloved of Krishna. To him, it means the ‘Soul’ and 'Soami' mean ‘God’. It is held that the soul has a direct intimate connection with God—its Lord. The Radhasoami cult is no separate religion. A follower of any region, caste and creed can become a Radhasoami and have Nam (initiation) at the discretion of the Guru. It is therefore, no wonder that persons belonging to different faiths, castes and creeds are seen as devotees during the congregations.
The Guru tours throughout the country and even goes abroad to propagate the cult.
Gharyala.—It is 12 km from Patti (the Tahsil headquarters) and 60 km from Amritsar by road, and 14 km and 58 km respectively by rail. It has a panchayat, a Government High School, a Primary Health Centre and a Police-Post. It population was 5,434 in 1961 as against 4,736 in 1951.
As to the origin of the village, it is said that twelve families or clans migrated from Ghazni and settled at this place which was named even then as Gharyala. There is a takiya, named Baba Tali Sur Singh, where a mela is held in the memory of the saint.
Ghukewali (Gurdwara Guru-Ka-Bagh).—The village of Ghukewali in the Ajnala Tahsil is situated 12 km to the east of Ajnala on the Harse Chhina-Fatehgarh Road. There are a Khalsa High School (co-educational) and a serai. The population of the village was 794 in 1961, as against 808 in 1951.
There is a gurdwara in Ghukewali, known as Gurdwara Guru-Ka-Bagh, built in the memory of Guru Ajran Dev. It is said that Hari Sen, the Raja of Suket, was told by a Pandit that in the next birth he would be born in a chandal family. In order to get over this curse, the Raja, on the advice of a Sikh of Suket, approached Guru Arjan Dev. The Guru observed, "Likhya lekh na mite he sakhi jo likhya Kartar", i.e. "what is willed by God cannot be undone". On this, the Raja got disgusted and wanted to return, but, on the Guru's persuasion, he stayed on. The Raja fell asleep and in his dream experienced a complete course of life from birth to death as a chandal. On awakening, he thought it was just reflection of his mind. The Guru kept him occupied and one day took him out for a hunt. The Guru suggested that whoever noticed the hunt would chase it. Accordingly, the Raja chased the hunt as it passed by him. On return to Guru-Ka-Bagh, he was caught by chandals one of whom, having the Raja's appearance, had died a day before. The Guru, however, asked the chandals to look for their dead person in the grave, where they found the buried corpse. The Guru then told the Raja that his next life as a chandal had been completed in his dream.
Guru Tegh Bahadur is also said to have stayed at Gurdwara Guru-Ka-Bagh for 9 months and 9 days and raised an orchard round the place. Another gurdwara was built nearby in his memory.
A mela is held here on teh Amavas day. The mela is largely attended, particularly on the Amavas of Chaitra and Bhadra.
Guru-Ka-Bagh is also well known for the Guru-Ka-Bagh Morcha held at the place by the Akalis in 1921 during the Gurdwara-Reform Movement.
Govindwal.—Situated at a distance of 24 km from Tarn Taran, the Tahsil headquarters, and 48 km from Amritsar, Govindwal is connected with the former place by road. Its population was 1,179 in 1961, as compared with 1,053 in 1951. One Gonda (Govinda) Marwaha originally lived there. The village was named Govindwal after him.
Guru Angad Dev is said to have started the building of Govindwal in 1546 or thereabout and to have entrusted its construction to Amar Das. In 1552, when the Guru realized that his end was drawing near, he installed Amar Das as his successor and asked him to shift to Govindwal from where he was to guide and direct the activities of the sect.
Govindwal was quite important commercially and otherwise during the Mughal period, as it was situated on the then highway from Atari to Govindwal. At Govindwal, there was a very well-known ferry on the River Beas and a brisk trade was carried on. With the opening of railway lines from Amritsar to Kasur (now in Pakistan) and from Amritsar to Lahore, the town lost its importance as a trading-centre and, with the lapse of time, became a deserted place. Lofty buildings in a dilapidated and practically deserted condition are seen even today.
There is a gurdwara built by Guru Amar Das. The institution of langar, originally started by him, owes its origin to this gurdwara. The Guru would not allow any disciple to see him until he had taken food from the langar. There is a baoli (well with a flight of stairs), with 84 steps, within the gurdwara. It is said that a person by reciting the Japji at each step attains salvation. A considerable portion of the Adi-Granth—the composition of Guru Amar Das—was composed at Govindwal.
There are some other smaller gurdwaras also. One of these is named after the son of the Third Guru, Baba Mohan. The gurdwara is known as Baba Mohanji da Gurdwara. Here, the Baba used to stay and meditate on God.
Another important place is known as the Chaubara Sahib—the residence of Guru Amar Das. The building has been renovated. It has a well where the Guru used to take bath. This place is regarded as very holy. The hair of the Guru (collected after each combing) and his chola preserved here. There is a room where the three sons of Guru Ram Das, including Guru Arjan Dev, were born. There is also a room in the Chaubara Sahib where Guru Amar Das 'arrested' the relapsing fever (teya tap) and said that no child in the village would die during his lifetime. A gurdwara has been guild at the place where Guru Amar Das used to take bath, and where he conferred the guruship on his son-in-law, Ram Das. That the guruship had been conferred upon Ram Das at the Chaubara Sahib is recorded on an embossed gold-plated picture there.
A fair is held at Govindwal in Bhadra (Bhadon) when the place presents a jubilant look for about a week.
Gurdwara Bir Sahib Baba Buddha.—Situated in the Tarn Taran Tahsil, Bir Sahib is 16 km from Tarn Taran and 24 km from Amritsar (via Chheharta) by road. There are the Baba Buddha High School and the Baba Buddha Khalsa College.
There is a gurdwara built in the memory of Baba Budha who is said to have resided at this place. He had many cows and used to send butter and milk for the Guru’s langar at Amritsar. Baba Budha is said to have served and first six Gurus. For a long time, the Fifth Guru, Arjan Dev, had no son. It is said that Mata Ganga came from Amritsar to Bir Sahib on foot, with loaves, buttermilk and onions on her head. Baba Buddha accepted the offerings and, through his blessings, Mata Ganga gave birth to a son (Hargobind). In commemoration of the birth of Guru Hargobind, a fair is held there on 21st Asvin.
About 150 acres of land is attached to the Gurdwara Bir Sahib Baba Buddha.
Gurdwara Jhar Sahib.—Situated in the Patti Tahsil, the Gurdwara Jhar Sahib is 2 km from Gajal which is 8 km from Khem Karan. The gurdwara is built in the memory of Guru Hargobind, who, while coming from Kasur, stayed here and hunted a tiger which had become a menance to the people of the area. Fifty acres of land is attached to the gurdwara. A mela is held here on 31st Asadha.
Adjacent to this gurdwara is the smadh (tomb) of Baba Harnam Singh, a disciple of Bhai Vir Singh. At a small distance towards the rohi is another gurdwara at Muthianwala built in the memory of Bhai Vir Singh. A mela is also held there on 27th Baisakh.
Gurdwara Sanh Sahib.—Situated in the Tarn Taran Tahsil, this gurdwara is 14 km from Amritsar. It was built in the memory of Guru Amar Das. It is said that when the sons of Guru Angad Dev began to harass Guru Amar Dss, he returned to his native village of Basarke. At a distance of about two kilometres from this place is situated the Gurdwara Sanh Sahib. The Guru started meditation there is seclusion and his whereabouts were not known to the disciples. Baba Buddha traced the Guru with the help of his mare. A notice had been put up outside the Guru’s room to the effect that a curse would befall the intruders. Therefore, Baba Buddha entered the room through the back wall by breaking it. This annoyed the Guru who told Baba Buddha that he had disobeyed the injunction. The latter replied that the injunction was for entry from the front door and not through the back wall. It is held that whosoever enters the Gurdwara through the hole in the back wall attains salvation. A fair is held at Sanh Sahib is Bhandra, coinciding with dates of the fair at Govindwal.
Jalalabad.—Situated on a theh (ruins) on the bank of the River Beas, at a distance of 12.5 km from Rayya and 47.5 km from Amritsar, the tahsil and district headquarters, Jalalabad is quite an old village. It is said to have been founded by Emperor Jalal-ud-Din Akbar. Its population in 1961 was 2,213, as against 2,373 in 1951.
There are a Diwan-I-Khas and a Diwan Khana with cellars, which are said to have been built by Sheikh Shabad Din of Kapurthala. Other old buildings have disappeared. There are some wells of old times. Outside the village, there is an old pucca drain, the traces of which can be found up to 2 km.
Jandiala Guru.—Situated on the G.T. Road towards Jullundur, Jandiala Guru is 17 km from Amritsar, the tahsil and district headquarters, both by rail and road. It is a railway station on the Jullundur-Amritsar main railway line. Jandiala Guru is a class III municipality. It has two Government Higher Secondary Schools, one each for boys and girls. There are a Civil Hospital, a Primary Health Centre, a Canal Rest-House a Zila Parishad Rest-House, a Municipal Library, a Police-Station, a Post & Telegraph Office, and a Telephone Exchange. Its population was 11,915 in 1961, as against 12,704 in 1951.
The town was founded by a colony of Jats, and it was named after Jand, the son of the founder. Previously, it was surrounded by a mud wall and had seven gates. In 1767, Jandiala Guru was invaded by Charat Singh, the grandfather of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, to punish the Niranjania Guru, who had made submission and taken service with Ahmad Shah Abdali, and, hence, had incurred the displeasure of the people and excited their sentiments for seeking vengeance upon him.
There is a gurdwara in the memory of Baba Handal. Another gurdwara has been raised at the place where Baba Handal was born. Baba Handal belonged to a Jat family. His father’s name was Ghazi and mother’s name was Mai Sukhi. Ghazi was a disciple of Sakhi arvar and was a majawar at Jandiala Guru. During his childhood, Handal, while grazing cattle in the environs of Jandiala Guru, used to get spiritual lessons from a Nath Jogi living in a temple situated near the present gurdwara of Baba Handal. On the sudden disappearance of the Nath Jogi from that place one day, Handal felt extremely distressed. He went to Amritsar and started meditation on the edge of the tank of the Golden Temple. His parents beseeched Guru Arjan Dev to persuade Handal to return home. On the Guru’s intervention, the Baba said that the Guru generally exhorted the people to mediate, whereas in his case he was pressing him to return home. However, on the Guru’s insistence, Handal promised to return home after 12 years. All through this period, Handal had remained engaged in meditation and at the end met his preceptor, the Nath Jogi.
On the return to Jandiala Guru, Baba Handal demolished the grave of the Pir, whose majawar his father was. The Muslim residents caught hold of the Baba and started beating him. It so happened that the houses of the violent mob mysteriously caught fire, and they rushed back to extinguish it. The more they endeavoured to extinguish the fire, the more it flared up. Meanwhile, they got intuition and went to Baba Handal and apologized to him.
Thereafter, Handal propagated his teaching. He founded the Niranjania Sect. It stands for the oneness of God. Niranjanias revere the Ten Gurus, besides Baba Handal. The Niranjanias believe in a living guru. The present guru from the lineage of Baba Handal is Satguru Amar Das. They regard the Adi-Granth as a holy book. They have composed their own ardas in the memory of Baba Handal. While paying homage to the Adi-Granth, they bow their heads and keep the hands folded behind their backs. They hold that the hands are responsible for all sins, and feet share the vices, whereas the head is the only pure part of the body.
A gurdwara and a tank have been built at Nathan da Dera, where Handal had received spiritual lessons from the Nath Jogi. An Udasi saint manages the gurdwara. A mela is held on 28-29 Baisakh and on 1st Magh. Langar is served here.
The old-time utensil-making industry of Jandiala Guru has almost disappeared. Since the town is situated in a fertile belt, a food-grain market is coming up.
Jhabal.—Jhabal is 16 km from the Tarn Taran Tahsil headquarters on the Amritsar-Khem Karan Road. There are a Government High School (co-educational), a Government Primary School, a Civil Dispensary, a Police-Station and a Sub-Post Office. Its population was 4,582 in 1961, as against 4,678 in 1951.
There is a Gurdwara of Bibi Veero, daughter of Guru Hargobind.