The Origin of the city of Amritsar lies hidden in the mists of time due to the scanty evidence available in its early history .On the development of the city, the generally accepted view is based on the Amritsar District Gazetteers, the authoritative works of reference on local history.
The various Opinions that the land was granted by emperor Akbar to Guru Amar Das (later on transferred to Guru Ram Das), or was acquired by Guru Ram Das before the grant was actually obtained, or the land was purchased by the Guru on a payment of Rs.700 from the zamindaar of the village at tung at the instance of Emperor Akbar, or presented by the people of village Sultanwind out of regard and reverence for the Guru are all versions based on popular tradition .There are no documentary evidences to support or contradict these views. But the version regarding the purchase of the land by Guru Ram Das is in keeping with the tradition of Sikh Gurus who never took any land grants from the rulers. It seems that originally the site of Amritsar was a community land lying between the village of Sultanwind, Tung, Gumtala and Gilwali, and later it was acquired by the Sikh Gurus either on payment or was received by them free of cost. Opinions may vary on the question of acquisition of the site, but it is certain that the selection of the site was planned and not accidental. It was the choice of the Gurus themselves, and the site of Amritsar was revenue free land.Even the early name of the city chak Guru,bears testimony to the nature of the settlement as detached or revenue free. Probably, Chak Guru was granted exemption from land revenue by the Mughal government during the reign of Emperor Akbar,Whose policy of religious toleration and religious grants even to non-Muslims centres is a well known fact.
The original plan of the new project was chalked out by Guru Amardas and Conveyed to Ram Das for execution .Guru Ram Das was given guidelines for the location of the site and was instructed to found a village,to build a House for himself, to dig a tank and to develop the centre gradually into a city . Arrangements were made for money and assistance .some intelligent, experienced and elderly Sikhs were instructed to assist Ram Das to implement the project .The project was thus executed by Guru Ram Das.
First of all a boundary line of the settlement was drawn. The foundation was laid by Guru Ram Das and the village was named Ram Das Pura .Opinions vary on the date of the founding of the city. Probably the foundation was laid in 1573 AD but the popular view is that it was done in 1577.
The construction of the new centre was started with great enthusiasm.Some huts and houses were built and then excavation of the tank was startad . when a portion of the project was completed, Bhai Jetha went to Goindwal to report the progress of the work.This time Guru Amar Das directed Ram Das to dig another tank at the low level area near the site of the tank under construction.On his return, Guru Ram Das selected the site for the second tank surrounded by a large number of Jujube trees. The construction of the second tank commenced on Nov.6,1573 and Guru Ram Das personally supervised it.Many Sikh devotees came to participate in the Sewa. Simultaneously with the construction of the tank all care was taken to develop the village Chak.52 types of caste groups from Patti,Kasur and Kalanaur were called for ensuring regular supply of essential commodities to the settlers. A market called Guru ka bazar which exists now also was established. Some wells were dug for water supply .A number of rich bankers and traders also settled down in the town.
The construction of the tank and the town was going on smoothly .But Guru Ram Das had to rush back to Goindwal at the call of the dying Guru Amar Das, while the work was in progress.The work was resumed on his return in 1577 and the construction of the tank and town was completed in the same year.
On the completion of the project, the Guru called the local business community and told them to take charge of the holy place but they humbly pleaded their inability to perform religious duties and requested the Guru to engage some Brahmins and mendicants for the job.
The Guru and his disciples were thrilled at the completion of the new pilgrimage centre.Guru Ram Das composed beautiful verses in glorification of the sarowar,making an injunction upon his followers to take bath in the holy tank and meditate the name of God.The tank acquired a reputation fo sanctity and became the head-quarters of the Sikhs.The Amrit Sarowar remained un-bricked till Guru Arjan Dev ascended the Gur Gaddi in 1581.The tank was made pacca and its side stairs were bricked. The tank was named .Amar sarowar or Amritsar .Gradually the fame of the sacred tank led to its identity with the latter appellation and the city got its final name of Amritsar.Guru Arjan Dev also settled in the new city artisans and craftsmen of diverse calling and inculcated in his followers keen interest in horse trade.