Jallianwala Bagh Amritsar
People with the heart of travelers will know how eccentric it is to visit historical places. The towers, castles, fields, battlegrounds and many more are there in the list to bring back the memories of past in front of you. Jallianwala Bagh Amritsar. India is filled with those special grounds where every nook and corner will speak something from ancient time. But not all of them have to have glorious past imprinted upon them. Some lands will speak of sorrow, remorse, and cruelty. Jallianwala Bagh Amritsar is definitely among those places.
History Of This Place:
Jallianwala Bagh is situated in Amritsar, Punjab. This place will immediately bring forth a historical event in the mind of the viewers and that is The Jallianwala Bagh massacre on 13th April 1919. In the ground of Jallianwala Bagh Amritsar, huge number of nonviolent protesters gathered among which some of the people were Baishakhi pilgrims. They were mercilessly fired upon by British-Indian soldiers directed by the colonel Reginald Dyer. The purpose was to celebrate an annual festival held by Punjabi people especially known as Baishakhi celebrations. It was a religious festival and people joining in were completely unaware of the events to occur.
The reason why so many people died when Dyer ordered for a shootout is because he made his soldiers fire on the people trying to escape from the ground through few open gates. Since the gates were narrow enough to cross by panicked people together their deaths were inevitable. The ground is surrounded by high walls, so jumping through them was impossible also. According to British report on the massacre it was 1650 rounds of bullets fired and almost 1200 people wounded. But according to Indian National Congress the number was way more than that. It was around 1500 wounded people and they mentioned approximately 1000 people who died. The actual number of casualties remains unknown till today.
13th of April 1919 was actually the time of Punjabi New Year and people gathered in the Bagh were not supposed to be doing any rebellious meeting or so. Before that event occurred, Dyer had announced ‘no meeting’ and banned all similar activities. But since news was not spread as quickly as of today, those people were unaware of the fact. After hearing their gathering, Dyer went there with 50 Gurkha troops and ordered to fire at those unarmed people including women and children for 10 minutes continuously until their ammunition supply ran empty.
This issue was taken up by the House of Commons who voted against Dyer and eventually forced him to retire in the year of 1920. This massacre is what brought the actual role of the soldiers and army in front of the people and a re-evaluation became necessary. The army’s role was forced down to minimum and it became less violent when dealing with common issues like crowd control. Many historians look at this massacre to be the decisive point where the end of British rule upon India was marked.
How To Reach?
Jallianwala Bagh Amritsar is situated in the centre of Amritsar and easy to reach from almost any local transportation. After reaching Amritsar you can take auto, taxi or private car to reach the spot. It is open every day and from 6:30 am to 7:30 pm. There is no entry fee required to enter the ground.
Turning Into Memorial Garden:
A trust to build a memorial ground on the Jallianwala Bagh Amritsar was found on 1920. This was possible after a resolution was passed by Indian National Congress in the year. After that on 1923, the trust bought that ground from the owner and started the project.
After independence, this ground was transformed into a memorial garden dedicated to people who were murdered without any crime. The memorial was particularly designed by American architect Benjamin Polk. You can find it very easily. The memorial garden was established as a national important ground in the year 1961 by Dr. Rajendra Prasad on 13th April. Jawaharlal Nehru and many other important leader of that time were there in the inauguration day. There is a flame that doesn’t go out for the purpose of undying will of those who were murdered. It was added there after the inauguration day.
Things To See On The Park:
Although almost naturally you will find places you want to be in the ground due to the path you will follow but still for those having confusions should know that there are more than just the monument for the dedicated to the sacrificed and the light lit for them. The first thing you will find is a room full of pictures, known as the Martyrs Gallery, some are painted and some original. The painted ones are showing how grotesque this whole event was? Everyone was made a target; neither women nor children were left out.
The real pictures will show the aftermath, few of the protest held for this event after. People pointing out the massacre and the walls where the bullet marks are clear. There is a picture where policemen are standing guard after the shootout and pictures where people are roaming in the ground after the massacre. No matter how you will look at them you are going to feel scared and insecure for those who lived through those dark times in India.
After coming out from that room you will find the walls where the bullet marks are clear as they were in the picture. Those holes are marked by circles and there is a board nearby where it is explained. The well where people had jumped out of panic and tried to save their lives from the firing comes after the walls. The depth is horrifying and even without water you can still somehow guess how deathly it was before. The report submitted by the British rule for the massacre said to have found 126 dead bodies in the well. The well is guarded by a wall now so it is quite difficult to see through except for the windows built to see inside.
Next you will find the spot from where those soldiers fired at those innocent people. It is a triangular shaped built upon ground noting the information. Ultimately you will reach to the monument. The daylight falling upon it making an astonishing architecture is definitely a rare view. The park is surrounded by high walls as it was and those connecting buildings are left as they were. Currently there are two passageways, the entrance and exit, but before there were five gates. When you will enter or exit the ground, you will find the plaque where this whole massacre is pointed out. It will also inform that from there those innocent people tried to escape but failed.
It takes about 1 and a half or 2 hours maximum to visit the ground so you might miss a chance to see a show particularly held in the evening. The sound and light show held in the ground starts from 7 pm in summer and from 5 pm in winter days. The lighting quality may falter at few times but the sound provides a massive punch due to the voice actor’s precision. It is none other than Amitabh Bachhan, a renowned Bollywood actor who brings forth the massacre of 1919 alive every night.
Tips To Visit The Jallianwala Bagh:
If you are planning to visit Jallianwala Bagh and other attractions in Amritsar then it is best to reach in between the months of October and March since Punjab can get super Hot in the summer. The memorial ground is almost bare and less shade is provided to avoid the scorching sun above, so you might even suffer some serious heat issues. If you happen to be in the summer then it is best to visit after sun down.
There is some issues of pick-pocketing while you enter or exit through the narrow space so being caution is important. You need to maintain a special dress code while in this place because it is close to the Golden Temple. If you are there during day and want to stay till the light and sound show be sure to bring your necessary items with you and the mosquito repellents. Avoiding strangers is wise.
There might be some guides in front of the gate trying to help you explore the place but as it is mentioned above that the path will lead you the destinations very naturally. There are boards and plates to notify the happenings of the massacre and the things you need to see. So taking guide is almost unnecessary.
There is no food stalls inside so if you need to stay for a long time there then bring your own snacks with you. There is a market outside the ground so if you like there are lots of amazing Indian foods to eat. The Punjabi special foods are even more delicious since you are visiting their land after all! There are ‘Lassi’ which is made with yoghurt and cream and in some stalls you will find cashew and pistachio grind sprinkled on them, Kulcha which is basically Tandoori bread and last but not the least fried Poori that comes with a mouthwatering potato curry.
Jalianwal Bagh Massacre is known to be the cruelest incidents of all time in India. People visiting this place witness it as a historical place and also as a place that has bled and cried helplessly before India could drive away the Britishers from the country forever.