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Page:Provincial geographies of India (Volume 1).djvu/359

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CITIES

Lahore has prospered. Owing to the influx of workers the population has risen rapidly from 157,287 in 1881 to 228,687 m 1911- The railway alone affords support to 30,000 people, of whom 8000 are employed in the workshops.

Amritsar (31.38 N., 74.53 E.) is a modern town founded in the last quarter of the sixteenth century by the fourth Guru, Ram Das, on a site granted to him by Akbar. Here he dug the Amrita Saras or Pool of Immortality, leaving a small platform in the middle as the site of that Har Mandar, which rebuilt is to-day, under the name of the Darbar Sahib, the centre of Sikh devotion. The fifth Guru, Arjan Das, completed the Har Mandar. Early in the eighteenth century Amritsar became without any rival the Mecca of the Sikhs, who had now assumed an attitude of warlike resistance to their Muhammadan rulers. Once and again they were driven out, but after the victory at Sirhind in 1763 they established themselves securely in Amritsar, and rebuilt the temple which Ahmad Shah had burned. Ran jit Singh covered the Darbar Sahib with a copper gilt roof, whence Englishmen commonly call it the Golden Temple. He laid out the Ram Bagh, still a beautiful garden, and constructed the strong fort of Govindgarh outside the walls.

Trade and Manufactures.— Amritsar lies in a hollow close to a branch of the Upper Bari Doab Canal. Waterlogging is a great evil and accounts for the terrible epidemics of fever, which have occurred from time to time. The population has fluctuated violently, and at the last census was 152,756, or little larger than in 1881. Long before annexation the shawl industry was famous. The caprice of fashion a good many years ago decreed its ruin, but carpet weaving, for which Amritsar is still famous, fortunately did something to fill the gap. Amritsar has also been an entrepot of trade with other Asiatic countries.