Jallianwala Bagh (park) is a memorial ground located a few minutes away from the Golden Temple.
This poignant park commemorates the many Indians that were wounded and killed by the British General Dyer on April 13, 1919.
His soldiers fired at locals who were having a peaceful gathering.
Among the people present were children and women too.
Today the Jallianwala Bagh has been converted into a historical tourist spot, as a sign of respect to the thousands of freedom fighters massacred mercilessly during the British rule in India.
Things to see and do at Jallianwala Bagh
This memorial to commemorate the people who lost their lives at the hands of the British army in 1919 was built post Independence in 1961.
The memorial has been created in the shape of a flame.
It is made from red stone sourced from Dholapur quarries in Rajasthan (the dessert state of India).
The base of the memorial is made from granite sourced from Bangalore.
The narrow entrance is one of the most significant aspects of the Jallianwala Bagh.
The park has only one entrance till date.
This was the narrow path through which General Dyers troops entered the park and took positions.
Since this entrance was blocked by the troops, there was no exit available for the protesters once the shots started to get fired.
Walking through this narrow entrance can send shivers down your spine, when you think of the many who lost their lives.
Amar Jyoti translates to ‘timeless light’.
It is a flame that burns throughout the day and night for all days of the year.
Amar Jyoti has been placed at the location where the people had gathered during the Baisakhi Day (Sikh New year) on 1919.
It’s a symbol to pay respect to the many people who lost their lives in the massacre.
The Martyrs Well is a well-known well located inside the premises of the Jallianwala Bagh.
Since people in the gathering had no way to save themselves from the bullets, many jumped in this well to avoid the raging bullets.
It is said that the well was full of stacked bodies when it was later discovered and earched.
The bullets that hit the walls and structures in the park have been preserved.
These remind people about the many rounds that were fired mercilessly on unarmed and peaceful citizens of the country.
The Martyrs Gallery is a place that has been set aside in the park to showcase various pictures, paintings and artifacts.
These were gathered from the park after the massacre.
Sound and Light Show
The Sound and Light Show at Jallianwala Bagh commences at 7 pm in the summer months.
In winter the show starts at 5 pm.
The voice over during the display is provided by Amitabh Bachhan.
He is a well-known actor from Bollywood.
Best time to visit
While the Jallianwala Bagh is open throughout the year, the best time to visit the city of Amritsar is between October and March since the summer months can get excruciatingly hot.
If you do visit during summer, go to the attraction after sundown.
There are special restrictions with regards to what you have to wear while visiting Jallianwala Bagh.
Carry adequate amounts of drinking water if you visit during summer.
If you plan to stay back for the Sound and Light show, use dollops of mosquito repellent since this is a common issue that many people face.
Be mindful of pickpockets on the way to the Jallianwala Bagh.
There are some guides offerring their services near the entrance.
However, you can easily rad about the 1919 Amritsar Massacre on the engravings placed at various displays.
There are no places to eat inside the park.
You can carry some snacks with you in case you have children but make sure that you do not litter.
However, the street food outside the park is to die for.
Do not miss the ‘lassi’ with cream made from yogurt, the kulcha chole (India tandoori bread with white gram) and the fried poori with potato curry.
How to get to Jallianwala Bagh
A private cab, tuk-tuk or rickshaw (manned three wheeled cycle) can be used to reach Jallianwala Bagh.
- Cab – This is the most comfortable of all rides but is also the most expensive. You will be charged a basic minimum INR amount and INR 20 per kilometer.
- Tuk-tuk – Choose this option only if you do not mind a few jolts and do not have any back pain issues.
- Rickshaw – A good way to reach the Jallianwala Bagh if you also want to simultaneously check out the various shops that are lined on the way. On your way back, you can pick up souvenirs too.
Alternatively, you can maximise your experience by joining a guided tour.
Jallianwala Bagh was like any other park in the country before the fateful day in 1919.
It was a large open space where people gathered on special occasions to enjoy.
It was also one of the main parks used to celebrate specific festivals. Fairs were also organized in this park at times.
All this changed on April 13, 1919, the day of the Amritsar Massacre.
The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre – Also called the 1919 Massacre or the Amritsar Massacre, Jallianwala Bagh was witness to the killings of more than thousand innocent people.
Protests in the country against the British Rule had become extremely tough to handle and the Rowlatt Act was signed in order to prevent large groups of people from congregating.
In addition to that, this Act also allowed seditious crime to be tried by a panel of three judges without any commitment proceedings or later appeal.
Searches without warrants were also a part of this ACT.
In order to oppose this Act, a large number of Indians from the state of Punjab gathered in the Bagh on the Baisakhi Day.
Since the protest was a peaceful one and was organized on the day of a festival, many women and children were also present.
General Reginald Dyer brought in troops and blocked the only entrance and exit to the grounds an hour after the meeting began at 4:30pm.
The troops comprised of sixty-five Gurkha and twenty-five Baluchi soldiers.
An innocent crowd had no warning before round after round was fired on.
Some tried to clamber the high walls. Others jumped in the well inside the park.
Mothers tried to cover their children with their own dying bodies to save them.
While the shooting lasted for only 10 to 15 minutes, 1650 rounds were fired. The number of deaths caused by the shooting is disputed.
The official number of deaths was reported as 379 but it is known to be much higher and more than a thousand.
Creation of the memorial – Post the massacre, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya created a committee to raise funds to create a memorial on the massacre grounds.
The Bagh was acquired by the nation on August1, 1920 at a price of INR 5,60,472.
However, construction could only start after Independence.
Designed by American Architect Benjamin Polk, the memorial was inaugurated by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the then President of India in the presence of Jawaharlal Nehru and other prominent Indians of the times.