Amritsar, city (1991 pop. 709,456), Punjab state, NW India. It is a district administrative center,
as well as a trade and industrial city where carpets, fabrics of goat hair, and handicrafts are made.
The center of the Sikh religion (see
), Amritsar was founded in 1577 by Ram Das, the
fourth guru [Hindustani,=teacher], on land given by
. The Golden Temple (refurbished
1802), set in the center of a lake, is especially sacred to Sikhs. The city was the center of a Sikh
empire in the early 19th cent., and modern Sikh nationalism was founded there. Khalsa College,
a branch of Punjab Univ., is in Amritsar. The first Amritsar massacre took place in the Jalianwala
Bagh, an enclosed park, in Apr., 1919; hundreds of Indian nationalists were killed and thousands
wounded when troops under British control fired upon them. The second massacre occurred
June, 1984, when Indian troops, opposing a militant Sikh separatist movement, shot their way
into the Golden Temple, killing more than 400 people inside.