City of Amritsar was founded by Fourth Guru Ramdas ji in around late 1600 A.D., around a pool which he called "pool of nectar (amrit)". It was originally named as Ramdaspur and later changed to amritsar, which means "pool of nectar". This pool of nectar is in which Golden Temple is built, construction for golden temple was started by Guru Ramdas ji and it was finished by his son and Fifth Guru Arjan Dev ji. Many Hindus and Sikhs who were followers of Guru and other businessmen settled around Golden Temple and thus with constant pilgrims visiting Guru and taking a bath in pool as a necessity two times a year, Amritsar in less then 50 years became an important trading center. Soon city of Amritsar was compared parallelly to Lahore, arguably oldest living city of Punjab established by Lav, elder son of King Rama. Amritsar at that time was in control of Mughal empire being run from Delhi and a local governor at Lahore. Traders from middle east and central Asia were trading directly from Amritsar since as oppose to Lahore. Guru Arjan Dev ji here at Amritsar compiled Guru Granth Sahib (called Adi Granth). Then came the death of Emperor Akbar and thus a battle of succession was starting between his sons. Dara Shikoh who was eldest and favourite of India's majority Hindu population but disliked by Mullah clergy for his humanitarian ways was shunned from getting control on empire by youngest son named Salim, who had support of all Muslim clergy. Dara Shikoh started a march to Iran, his ancestor's place to get support there and on the way stopped at Amritsar for 10-15 days. Guru Arjan Dev ji owing to tradition of Sikhism, gave him shelter at Golden Temple and presented him a siropa as well as put a tilak on his head. Two years later Emperor Jehangir (prince salim) summoned Guru Arjan Dev to Lahore for this crime, Muslim clergy requested a death sentence after torture but pardoned only if "Guru Arjan dev ji converts to Islam". Guru Arjan Dev ji refused and thus started 10-15 days of torture in hot punjabi june days of Lahore. His body was sewn inside the hide for two days, then he was made to sit on hot burning sand and more hot sand was poured on his body for two-three days, this made his body swoolen with blisters but he constantly chatted sholakas from Adi Granth. Then at the end of the day Guru was allowed to bath in river ravi, but his weak fragile body without food and very small amount of water could not hold up to the current of the river and he was drowned. Guru Arjan Dev ji is called "King of the martyrs" in Sikh tradition. He was the first martyr and he successfully started a tradition of martyrdom which has continued to recent times.
Guru Hargobind, the Sixth Guru was tall, handsome and very well
built. His famous past time was hunting and wrestling. He knew about the showdown between Sikhs and
Mughals and thus started fortifying city of Amritsar and its various localities. He only accepted
horses, weapons and food as gifts everything else was refused. He created Akal Takht, the Sikh Parliament
directly opposite to Golden Temple on the Eastern Bank of pool. It was here that people visit him to
listen to his bani of "when all modes of justice had failed, rising a sword is pious and just".
Guru Hargobind fought several battles in and around Amritsar with Mughal forces and successfully
steererd pacifist Sikhs to the military tradition.