During the last quarter of 10th century, Raja Jaipal of Shahi Dynasty ruled over Punjab including the present area of Amritsar district. His son and successor, Anangpal was finally defeated by Sultan Mahmmod of Ghazni in A.D. 1008. From that time, until the final overthrow of the Muhammdan Supremacy, The Amritsar district was attached to the Suba or Province of Lahor. The Important Muhammdan dynasties were the slave dynasty, the Lodhi dynasty and the Mughal dynasty. During the medieval period, the people of Amritsar district were influenced much by the teachings of the Sikh Gurus who were contemporaries of the Mughal rulers. Before the people of Amritsar district came under the benign influence of the Sikh Gurus, there were not big cities or towns in this district. However, Fatehabad( in Tarn Taran Tahsil) was an important town which lay on the old Delhi and Lahore road. It had an imperial serai for the halting of armies and carvanas. As most of the Mughal rulers were fanatics, the Sikh Gurus and their disciples were bound to come in conflict with them. The impact of the Sikh Gurus on the people of Amritsar district and their conflicts with the Mughals are briefly given as under:

Amritsar and the Sikh Gurus

GurunanaksahibjiThe People of Amritsar District came under the influence of teachings of Guru Nanak in the beginning of 16th century, Bhai Lehna (later known as Guru Angad Dev), a residence of Khadur Sahib became a devoted follower of Guru Nanak.He preached people on the lines of Guru Nanak.He preached people on the lines of his Guru.He converted Takhat Mal, the headman of the village, and many others to his faith. A community kitchen (langer) was also initiated and men from far and near started pouring in to receive spiritual instruction from him. Even Guru Nanak visited him at khadur Sahib twice and on his second visit, seeing his never-failing devotion to god and man took him back to Kartarpur and appointed him as his successor on 14 July 1539 and called him Angad. Guru Angad Dev settled at Khadur Sahib, his native village and made it his headquarters. He began to preach and spread gospels of Guru Nanak with great devotion. He allowed one of his disciples-Gobind to build a township on the bank of the river Beas, but refused to call the new settlement after his own name and called it Gobindwal (now Goindwal) to commemorate the memory of the disciple.It was on 29 March 1552 Amar Das Ji, the most devoted follower of Guru Angad Dev, was appointed by Baba Buddha as the third Guru of the Sikhs in the benign presence of the Guru. It may be stated here that Humayun also visited Khadur Sahib and received the blessings of Guru Angad Dev.

akbar1Guru Amar Das guided the Sikhs from Goindwal from 1552-1574.In the year 1567, when Akbar visited Lahore, he made a call on the Guru at Goindwal.On being told that the Guru would see no one, high or low, till one had partaken of the food from the langar (community Kitchen), Akbar, a man of broad sympathies and high culture, welcomed the Idea and partook of the food distributed there, sitting in a row with his subjects of humble origin. Guru Amar Das established 22manjis (dioceses) in many parts of the country to popularise Guru Nanak’s message.Many people came to the Guru to listen to his precepts.The Guru also got constructed a baoli at Goindwal and fixed the first of Baisakh as the day of the annual gathering of the Sikhs.He introduced several new ceremonies on occasions of birth and death,replacing the chanting of Sanskrit Shiolokas by the recitation of Gurbani. He preached against the purdah system, the seclusion of women, encouraged inter-caste alliances and remarriage of widows.The Guru condemned the practice of sati (burning of widow on the pyre of her husband’s dead body).

In 1573, Guru Amar Das deputed Ram Das ji to start excavation of the tank later known as Santokhsar and to found a new town later known as Amritsar.Arrangements and control of funds for the purpose were entrusted to Baba Buddha.A number of intelligent, experienced, devoted and elderly Sikhs were instructed to join Ram Das in accomplishing the task. The inauguration of the work was made in the traditional Indian style.Paid labourers were engaged. The visiting Sikh devotees were exhorted to lend a helping hand. Before regular excavation work of the tank (later on named ‘Santokhsar’),started, the boundary line of the new settlement was marked and it was named chak Guru or simply the chak. Later on it began to be called, variously, as Guru ka Chak, Chak Guru Ram Das, or Ram Das Pura. Kilns were laid and a number of hutments were built. The Guru also took abode in a hut near the site (later named Guru ke Mehal)

baba-budhaAfter the portion of the project was completed, Ram Das went to Goindwal to pay his homage to Guru Amar Das and report the progress to him. This time, Guru Amar Das instructed Ram Das to dig another tank at a lower level near the site of the tank that was already under construction. On his return to the Chak, Ram Das made a search for the beri, the covered site for the second tank as instructed by Guru Amar Das .The site having been selected, the construction of the second tank (later on named Amrit sarowar ) commenced under the personal supervision of Ram Das assisted by Baba Buddha. According to Gian Singh Giani (Tawarikh Guru Khalsa, p.344), the digging of the tank commenced on 7 Kartika 1630 BK (6 November 1573).A large number of labourers were engaged . Many Sikh devotees came to the chak to participate in the work of the digging of the tank.The digging continued for many months.Simultaneously with the construction of the tank, every care was taken to develop the chak also .A large number of traders and businessmen from the neighbouring areas were induced to settle in the new township. In due course a market, called Guru ka Bazar, also sprang up there. Some wells were dug for supplying drinking water. A number of rich sarafs (bankers) and banjaras (traders) found their way to the town. A considerable number of the disciples of the Guru shifted to the town.

In 1574, when Guru Amar Das saw his end approaching, he summoned Ram Das to Goindwal and made him his successor on 1 september 1574.Guru Ram Das ascended the spiritual throne of Guru Nanak at the age of about forty years in 1574.During his brief period of seven years, he achieved considerable progress in expanding the activities of the Sikh religion. He sent out many of his disciples called Masands even to neighbouring countries like Afganistan to spread the gospel and also to collect offerings of the devotees which he needed more than ever not only to run the community kitchen, but also to complete the excavation of the sacred tank later called Amritsar and to expand the activities of the city of Ramdaspur he had founded in the life time of Guru Amar Das.