Sri Harmandir Sahib:
Legends and miracles are connected with the origin of the Amrit Sarowar (Tank of Nectar). It is said that Guru Amar Das found at the edge of the pool the desired herb to cure the skin ailment of Guru Angad (the second Guru of the Sikhs). However, the persistent local tradition best highlighting the medicinal properties of the water of the pond is the story of Rajni, daughter of Rai Duni Chand, a Kardar (revenue collector) of Patti, and the subsequent cure of her leprous husband after taking a dip into the pond. It is said that Ram Das (at that time on a visit to a nearby area) visited the place in connection with the above episode and was so much impressed with the beauty of the site that he decided to found a place of pilgrimage here. It is also said that Bhai Jetha used to visit that place along with the Sikh Sangat from Goindwal on the occasions of San grand (the first day of the Indian month) and Amavasaya (the dark moonless night of the month) to bathe in the pond prior to his pontificate. Also, according to the historical element derived from the Sikh literature the place was searched out by Guru Ram Das during his travels in the Majha region for finding a suitable site for establishing a new Sikh centre.
The idea of establishing this place of pilgrimage was formed by Guru Amar Das. The predominant factor which motivated the Guru for the formation of this idea was the continuity of the tradition of founding new places for the Sikh congregations as followed by his predecessors. The secondary factor was the peaceful settling of his future successor Guru Ram Das. It is recorded in the Sikh chronicles that to avoid all possibilities of any clash between his descendants and his son-in-law (Ram Das), Guru Amar Das instructed Ram Das to establish a station for himself, to dig a tank and develop it into a seat of Sikh pilgrimage. The new centre was founded on an open uninhabited piece of land, about twenty-five miles distant from Goindwal, lying between the villages of Sultanwind, Tung, Gumtala and Gilwali,’all at that time in the Pargana of Jhabbal in the Ta ‘alluqa of Patti, which formed a part of the Suba of Lahore ruled by the Mughals. The issue of the acquisition of the land by the Sikh Gurus has been described differently by different sources of the local history of Amritsar. 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 Zamindars of the village of Tung at the instance of Emperor Akbar, or presented by the people of the 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 the Sikh Gurus who never took any land grants from the rulers. It seems that originally the site of Amritsar was a shamlat'(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 a revenue-free land.’Even the early name of the city, Chak Guru, bears testimony to the nature of thebasti (settlement) as detached or revenue-free. Probably, Chak Guru was granted muafi (exemption) from land revenue by the Mughal Government during the reign of Emperor Akbar, whose policy of religious toleration and waqf(religious grants) even to non-Muslim centres is a wellknown fact.’