Golden Temple

About-Golden-Temple
Vital Information for Visitors
Address:

Golden Temple (Gurudwara Harimandir Sahib / Darbar Sahib), Amritsar, Punjab

Open & Close:

Open on all days: 04:00 AM to 11:00 PM

Entry Fees:

Free

Duration:

Approx 2 hours

Significance :

Seat of Adi Gurugranth Sahib since 1604

Famous For:

Round the clock ‘langar’, Golden Gumbad

Golden Temple is also known as Harimandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib. It is a prominent, must-visit, and the famous pilgrimage site of Sikhism located in Amritsar, Punjab, India. Guru Ramdas wanted to make Amritsar the centre of the Sikh faith. Although he did not live long to give a shape to his dream, but it materialized in due course. His son, Guru Arjun Dev, built a temple in the midst of the lake and enshrined in it the Granth Sahib the holy book of Sikhs. The temple was renovated by the celebrated Sikh ruler of Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, in 1803. He covered its lower part with marble. The upper half was covered with copper and then with 400 kilograms of pure gold leaf. Thus the shrine became famous as the Golden Temple. The temple, also known as Darbar Sahib (Court Divine) and Hari Mandir (Shrine of the Lord), has four entrances opening on to the four points of the compass signifying that all are welcome. The construction of the Nectar Pond (Amrit Sarovar) was started by the fourth Sikh Guru Ram Das Ji in 1577. Its foundation stone was laid down by the Sai Mian Mir on the request of the fifth guru of Sikh Guru Arjan DevJi. In 1604, the Guru Arjan DevJi placed a copy of the Adi Granth in Harmandir Sahib. Moreover, the Golden Temple was repeatedly built by the Sikhs after terrible attacks by the Muslim armies from Afghanistan and the Mughal Empire. Golden Temple was demolished many times like in 1757 and again in 1762. In 1809, again, it was built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji in marble and copper. Revamped in 1830 with golden foil, fetched it the name of Golden Temple.

The Golden Temple is a pilgrimage place for Sikh community because the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the eternal Guru of the Sikhs is placed here. Every day thousands of tourists come to the Golden Temple to get blessings. The most famous place of this temple is located on the big pool of nectar or Amrit Sarovar known as Hari Mandir. It is a gold plated structure featuring copper cupolas and white marble walls coated with precious stones placed in decorative Islamic-style floral patterns. The doors are plated with finely wrought silver and the walls are richly gilded and painted with excellent floral motifs. Charming frescos and glasswork adorn the walls and the ceiling. The original Granth Sahib is preserved on an ottoman. Chanting of the holy verses and music from instruments keep the atmosphere vibrant with faith and serenity. On the roof is a small decorated pavilion with a curved top.

The temple is reached by following the Parikrama, which bounds the sacred pool in a clockwise direction. The path needs to be followed to go to Hari Mandir is known as the Guru's Bridge, which represents the journey of the soul after the death. Moreover, the gateway to the bridge, the Darshani Deorhi, has wonderful silver doors. Once entered at Hari Mandir, there is a Holy Book known as Guru Granth Sahib Ji located at the centre in heavy embroidered cloths known as Rumalas.

Another major thing to explore at the Golden Temple is the Guru-ka-Langar where above 50,000 people are fed free of cost by temple volunteers every day. For this, each devotee sits on the floor (known as Pangat), regardless of any caste or religion, wealth or creed which represents the equality among people. Moreover, guestquarters are also offered to national and international Sikh visitors free of cost or at a nominal fee. Apart from this, Prasad is also served free of cost at the Golden Temple.

The Sikh Museum is constructed at the main entrance, which displays galleries and remembrances of Sikh gurus, saints, and warriors. It depicts the history of the Sikhs in digital mode. The museum displays moving old paintings depicting the battles fought by the Sikhs to protect their faith from the onslaughts.

Close to the Golden Temple, on the western side of the square before the gateway is the Akal Takht, or the Throne Eternal, adorned with a gilt dome. This is the supreme judgement seat for all problems, social or religious, embracing the Sikhs. Some of the Sikh Gurus used to sit here and give their directions on various issues. Established by the sixth guru, Guru Hargobind (1606-1645), this is also the repository of the various weapons used by the gurus. The weapons are on display every evening. Every night at Golden Temple, there is a ceremony where the Guru Granth Sahib Ji is carried in a beautiful gold pleated Palki Sahib to place at the Akal Takht Sahib. This ceremony provides a chance for all male pilgrims to participate in veneration of the Holy Book. It is great to explore and capture when thousands of Sikhs come to Golden Temple to attend this ceremony only.

On the southern side of the temple is this magnificent garden spread over 30 acres, known as the GuruKa Bagh or the Garden of the Master. A tank and some small pavilions are a part of the estate.

In simple words, the Golden Temple is one of the most spiritual places to visit in India. Once visited even for a few hours, one gets highly influenced by looking at the beauty of this holy place. Moreover, while entering the Golden Temple, shoes and socks must be removed and deposited in Shoe Room or Jora Ghar and then heads are covered with scarfs or dupatta and hands and feet are washed. In brief, the Golden Temple is the best place in Punjab. Only a day is needed to visit and explore every aspect of it.

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