Golden Temple, Amritsar
The Golden Temple, also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib, is a prominent Sikh gurdwara located in the city of Amritsar, in the northwestern state of Punjab, India. It is considered the most sacred and significant shrine of Sikhism and is visited by millions of pilgrims and tourists every year.
The temple was built in the 16th century by the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji. It is a symbol of peace, equality, and brotherhood, and its architecture reflects the unique blend of Hindu and Islamic styles. The temple is surrounded by a man-made pool of water, known as the Amrit Sarovar, which is considered sacred by Sikhs.
The most distinctive feature of the Golden Temple is the gold-plated dome that sits atop the main shrine. The dome is decorated with intricate designs and is surrounded by smaller domes and minarets. The temple is also surrounded by a white marble walkway, which is said to symbolize the Sikh concept of egalitarianism.
The temple complex includes several other important buildings, including the Akal Takht, which is the highest temporal seat of Sikhism, and the Guru Granth Sahib, which is the Sikh holy book. The temple also houses a free community kitchen, or langar, where all visitors are welcome to eat regardless of their religion or social status.
The Golden Temple is a place of great significance and is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Sikhism or Indian culture. It is known for its peaceful atmosphere, beautiful architecture, and delicious food, and is a symbol of the inclusiveness and hospitality that is at the heart of the Sikh religion.
How to Reach
The Golden Temple in Amritsar is well-connected by various means of transportation, including air, rail, and road.
By Air: The nearest airport is Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport, which is located approximately 11 kilometers from the temple. It is well connected to major cities in India and some international destinations.
By Train: Amritsar Junction Railway Station is the main railway station in the city and is well-connected to major cities in India. Several trains operate between Amritsar and other major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai, among others.
By Road: Amritsar is well-connected by road to major cities in India, with several national highways passing through the city. Bus services are available from nearby cities, including Delhi, Chandigarh, and Jalandhar.
Once you reach Amritsar, you can take a taxi, auto-rickshaw, or a cycle-rickshaw to reach the Golden Temple, which is located in the heart of the city. The temple is easily accessible from any part of Amritsar and is located near the city’s main bus stand and railway station.
What does it signify?
The Golden Temple or the Hari Mandir Sahib is a living example of the historical and spiritual traditions of the Sikhs. It is the chief pilgrimage destination for Sikhs from all over the world. It was Guru Arjan Sahib himself who conceived the idea of creating a chief center of pilgrimage for the Sikhs and it was he who designed the architecture of this ever-glorious temple. The temple is famous as the Golden Temple for its scenic surroundings and the gold plating that is done upon it.
Guru Arjan Sahib got a Muslim saint Hazrat Mian Marji for laying the foundation of the temple in December 1588. The Guru himself supervised the construction work. He was assisted by such eminent Sikh personalities as Baba Budhaji, BhaiGurdasji, BhaiSahloji, and a number of other godly and pious Sikhs.
Attraction around Golden Temple
Facing the Golden Temple, Akal Takhat was built by the 6th Sikh Guru Hargobind Singh in 1609. The place is held in high esteem by the Sikh community all over. It is the very place from where all the commandments affecting the community are issued. Muslim raiders brought it down several times. The ground floor of the present building was built in the year 1874. Maharaja Ranjit Singh added three stories to the structure. During operation Blue Star in 1984, Akal Takhat suffered severe damages again from the Indian Army.
Baba Atal was built in remembrance of Guru Hargobind’s son AtalRai. The tower was erected between 1778 and 1784. The structure is considered to be one of its kind, reaching up to a height of 108 feet.
The Golden Temple is provided with a community kitchen offering Guru KaLangar to the devotees and visitors of the temple. The Langar (Food) is offered round the clock to the devotees irrespective of caste and creed. Several thousands of devotees are served with meals every day.
Sri Guru Ramdas Niwas
Sri Guru Ramdas Niwas offers free accommodation to the pilgrims. It is maintained by the Temple authorities. There are 228 rooms and 18 huge halls. The Niwas also supplies free bedding, lights, fans, etc. However, the lodgers are not allowed to stay here for more than three days at a time.
What is the best time?
Summers are hot and winters are chilly at Amritsar. The annual rainfall of the city records 59.2 cm. The best time to pay a visit to the temple is between October and December.
Things to do
The Golden Temple is a place of great religious and cultural significance, and there are several things that visitors can do to make the most of their visit. Here are some of the top things to do at the Golden Temple:
- Take a Holy Dip: The Golden Temple is surrounded by a man-made pool of water, known as the Amrit Sarovar, which is considered sacred by Sikhs. Visitors can take a dip in the pool to purify themselves before entering the temple.
- Explore the Temple Complex: The Golden Temple complex includes several important buildings, including the Akal Takht, which is the highest temporal seat of Sikhism, and the Guru Granth Sahib, which is the Sikh holy book. Visitors can explore these buildings and learn more about Sikhism and its rich history and culture.
- Participate in the Langar: The Golden Temple is known for its free community kitchen, or langar, where all visitors are welcome to eat regardless of their religion or social status. Visitors can participate in the langar by helping to prepare food or by serving food to others.
- Attend the Evening Ceremony: The Golden Temple is a beautiful sight to see at any time of day, but it is particularly stunning during the evening ceremony, when the temple is lit up and the sounds of Sikh devotional music fill the air. Visitors can attend the evening ceremony, which takes place every day and is a must-see experience.
- Take a Walk around the Temple: The Golden Temple complex is surrounded by a white marble walkway, which is said to symbolize the Sikh concept of egalitarianism. Visitors can take a leisurely walk around the temple and enjoy the beautiful architecture and peaceful atmosphere.
- Visit the Central Sikh Museum: The Central Sikh Museum, located within the Golden Temple complex, is a great place to learn more about Sikh history and culture. The museum houses a collection of Sikh artifacts, including weapons, manuscripts, and paintings.
- Buy Souvenirs: The Golden Temple complex has several shops where visitors can buy souvenirs, including traditional Sikh clothing, books, and other items related to Sikhism and the temple.
Overall, a visit to the Golden Temple is a unique and unforgettable experience that offers a glimpse into the rich culture and traditions of the Sikh religion.