Ram Das, the 4th Sikh Guru, founded this holy city of the Sikhs in 1577. It is both the centre of the Sikh religion and the major city of the State. It has grown from a sacred village pond into a spiritual temporal centre of Sikh culture. The city gets its name from the sacred pool Amrit (nectar) Sar (pool) in which the Golden temple was raised. The present city dates back to the 15th century but its association with the epic Ramayana, shows that its sacred heritage must be measured, not in centuries but millenniums. Amritsar is the most important seat of Sikh history and culture, trade and also, the gateway for travellers coming to India, on the overland route through Pakistan.
The Khatris and Aroras of Punjab had trading outlets from Chittagong (now in Bangladesh) right upto Iran in Persia and when these Khatris and Aroras converted to Sikhism Amritsar became the East's biggest trading and eventually a manufacturing centre. Today it is India's important distribution centre of dry-fruits, tea (next only to Calcutta), and condiments (an edible substance, that is added to some foods to impart a particular flavor, enhance its flavor, or in some cultures, to complement the dish) and is a leading exporter of goods to the Middle East.