The Golden Temple

The Golden Temple – Visit Famous Place in Amritsar

The Golden Temple, also known as the Harmandir Sahib or the Darbar Sahib, is the most sacred and revered site of Sikhism, the youngest and fifth-largest religion in the world. Located in the city of Amritsar in Punjab, India, the Golden Temple is a stunning architectural marvel that attracts millions of visitors every year from all faiths and backgrounds. In this article, we will explore the history, features, significance, and attractions of this magnificent gurdwara (Sikh place of worship). Visit during One Day Amritsar Sightseeing Trip by Private Cab

History of The Golden Temple

The Golden Temple, Amritsar

The Golden Temple was founded by Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru, in 1589. He wanted to create a place where people of all religions and castes could come together and worship God. He invited a Muslim saint, Mian Mir, to lay the foundation stone of the temple, symbolizing the interfaith harmony that Sikhism promotes.

The temple was built on a man-made island in the middle of a pool called Amrit Sarovar (Pool of Nectar), which gave the city its name. The temple was originally made of brick and mortar, but was later adorned with marble, copper, and gold by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the founder of the Sikh Empire, in the early 19th century.

The Golden Temple has witnessed many turbulent events in its history. It was attacked and destroyed several times by Mughal and Afghan invaders, who tried to suppress the Sikh faith. It was also the site of a violent clash between the Indian Army and Sikh separatists in 1984, known as Operation Blue Star, which resulted in heavy casualties and damage to the temple. The temple was restored and reopened after each incident, demonstrating the resilience and devotion of the Sikhs.

Features of The Golden Temple

The Golden Temple

The Golden Temple has four entrances, one on each side, signifying that it is open to everyone regardless of their religion, caste, gender, or nationality. The main entrance is on the west side, facing a large clock tower and a museum that displays the history and artifacts of Sikhism.

The temple is connected to the land by a marble causeway called Guru’s Bridge, which represents the journey of the soul towards God. The temple has a square plan with a dome in the center, surrounded by four smaller domes. The dome is covered with gold plates, giving the temple its golden appearance. The walls are decorated with floral and geometric patterns, as well as verses from the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of Sikhism.

Inside the temple, there is a sanctum where the Guru Granth Sahib is placed on a throne under a canopy of silk and jewels. The Guru Granth Sahib is treated as a living Guru by the Sikhs, who bow before it and listen to its recitation by priests called granthis. The recitation starts before dawn and continues until late at night, covering the entire scripture in 48 hours. The scripture is also carried in a palanquin around the temple every evening in a ceremony called Prakash (Illumination).

Around the temple, there is a marble walkway called Parikrama (Circumambulation), where devotees walk clockwise while meditating on God’s name. Along the Parikrama, there are several shrines and monuments dedicated to various Sikh Gurus, martyrs, and saints. Some of these include:

  • Akal Takht: The seat of temporal authority of Sikhism, where important decisions and edicts are issued by the Sikh leaders.
  • Har Ki Pauri: The steps leading to the water of the pool, where Guru Arjan Dev was martyred by being boiled alive by the Mughal emperor Jahangir.
  • Dukh Bhanjani Beri: A jujube tree under which Guru Arjan Dev used to sit and heal people’s sufferings with his blessings.
  • Thara Sahib: A platform where Guru Hargobind Sahib used to address his followers after his release from prison.
  • Ber Baba Buddha: A jujube tree where Baba Buddha Ji, a revered Sikh saint, used to sit and supervise the construction of the temple.
  • Ath Sath Tirath: A spot where 68 holy places of Hinduism are believed to be present spiritually.
  • Shaheed Bunga Baba Deep Singh: A tower built in memory of Baba Deep Singh Ji, a brave Sikh warrior who fought valiantly to defend the temple from Afghan invaders in 1757.

Significance of The Golden Temple

The Golden Temple

The Golden Temple is not only a place of worship but also a symbol of Sikh identity and values. It represents:

  • Equality: The temple welcomes everyone without any discrimination and provides free food and accommodation to all visitors. The langar (community kitchen) serves around 100,000 meals every day, prepared and served by volunteers. The food is vegetarian and simple, reflecting the Sikh principle of simplicity and humility. The temple also has a common dining hall called Pangat, where people of all backgrounds sit together and eat as equals.
  • Service: The temple is run entirely by the service of the devotees, who perform various tasks such as cleaning, cooking, reciting, singing, guarding, and managing. The service is done selflessly and joyfully, as a way of expressing gratitude and devotion to God and Guru. The service is called Seva (Selfless Service), which is one of the three pillars of Sikhism, along with Naam (God’s Name) and Vand Chhako (Sharing with Others).
  • Peace: The temple is a place of peace and tranquility, where people can experience the presence and grace of God. The temple is surrounded by water, which symbolizes purity and calmness. The temple also has a soothing effect on the mind and soul, as the sound of the scripture recitation fills the air with divine vibrations. The temple is a place of prayer and meditation, where people can seek guidance and solace from God and Guru.

Things to Do/ Must See in The Golden Temple

The Golden Temple

The Golden Temple is a place of immense beauty and spirituality, where visitors can enjoy various activities and attractions. Some of these are:

  • Take a dip in the pool: The water of the pool is considered sacred and healing by the Sikhs, who believe that it can wash away one’s sins and ailments. Many visitors take a dip in the pool before entering the temple, as a sign of respect and purification.
  • Visit the museum: The museum near the main entrance displays the history and heritage of Sikhism, through paintings, weapons, manuscripts, coins, and other artifacts. The museum also showcases the sacrifices and achievements of the Sikhs in various fields such as politics, arts, sports, and science.
  • Watch the Prakash ceremony: The Prakash ceremony is a daily ritual that marks the opening and closing of the temple. In the morning, around 4 am, the Guru Granth Sahib is brought from the Akal Takht to the sanctum in a palanquin amid hymns and chants. In the evening, around 10 pm, the Guru Granth Sahib is taken back to the Akal Takht in a similar procession. The ceremony is a spectacle of devotion and reverence that attracts many visitors.
  • Listen to Kirtan: Kirtan is the singing of hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib, accompanied by musical instruments such as harmonium, tabla, and rabab. Kirtan is performed throughout the day by professional singers called ragis, as well as by devotees who join in spontaneously. Kirtan is a form of worship that uplifts the spirit and connects one with God.
  • Enjoy Langar: Langar is a free meal offered to all visitors at the Guru Ram Das Langur. Langar is prepared by volunteers who cook large quantities of food such as roti (bread), dal (lentil soup), sabzi (vegetable curry), kheer (rice pudding), and tea. Langar is served by volunteers who carry trays of food and distribute them to the diners. Langar is a way of expressing hospitality and generosity to all guests.

FAQs

Q: What is the Golden Temple?

A: The Golden Temple is the most sacred and revered site of Sikhism, located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India. It is a gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) that has a gold-plated dome and walls, and is surrounded by a pool of water called Amrit Sarovar (Pool of Nectar)

Q: When was the Golden Temple built and by whom?

A: The Golden Temple was founded by Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru, in 1589. He also placed a copy of the Adi Granth, the holy scripture of Sikhism, in the temple in 1604. The temple was later embellished with marble, copper, and gold by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the founder of the Sikh Empire, in the early 19th century

Q: What are the main features and significance of the Golden Temple?

A: The Golden Temple has four entrances, one on each side, signifying that it is open to everyone regardless of their religion, caste, gender, or nationality. The temple is connected to the land by a marble causeway called Guru’s Bridge, which represents the journey of the soul towards God. Inside the temple, there is a sanctum where the Guru Granth Sahib is placed on a throne under a canopy of silk and jewels. The Guru Granth Sahib is treated as a living Guru by the Sikhs, who bow before it and listen to its recitation by priests called granthis. Around the temple, there is a marble walkway called Parikrama (Circumambulation), where devotees walk clockwise while meditating on God’s name. Along the Parikrama, there are several shrines and monuments dedicated to various Sikh Gurus, martyrs, and saints. The Golden Temple also has a langar (community kitchen) that serves free vegetarian food to all visitors without discrimination. The Golden Temple represents equality, service, peace, and devotion to God and Guru

Q: What are some things to do or must see at the Golden Temple?

A: Some things to do or must see at the Golden Temple are:Take a dip in the pool: The water of the pool is considered sacred and healing by the Sikhs, who believe that it can wash away one’s sins and ailments. Many visitors take a dip in the pool before entering the temple, as a sign of respect and purification.
Visit the museum: The museum near the main entrance displays the history and heritage of Sikhism, through paintings, weapons, manuscripts, coins, and other artifacts. The museum also showcases the sacrifices and achievements of the Sikhs in various fields such as politics, arts, sports, and science.
Watch the Prakash ceremony: The Prakash ceremony is a daily ritual that marks the opening and closing of the temple. In the morning, around 4 am, the Guru Granth Sahib is brought from the Akal Takht to the sanctum in a palanquin amid hymns and chants. In the evening, around 10 pm, the Guru Granth Sahib is taken back to the Akal Takht in a similar procession. The ceremony is a spectacle of devotion and reverence that attracts many visitors.
Listen to Kirtan: Kirtan is the singing of hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib, accompanied by musical instruments such as harmonium, tabla, and rabab. Kirtan is performed throughout the day by professional singers called ragis, as well as by devotees who join in spontaneously. Kirtan is a form of worship that uplifts the spirit and connects one with God.
Enjoy Langar: Langar is a free meal offered to all visitors at the Guru Ram Das Langur. Langar is prepared by volunteers who cook large quantities of food such as roti (bread), dal (lentil soup), sabzi (vegetable curry), kheer (rice pudding), and tea. Langar is served by volunteers who carry trays of food and distribute them to the diners. Langar is a way of expressing hospitality and generosity to all guests.

Conclusion

The Golden Temple is a must-visit destination for anyone who wants to experience the beauty and glory of Sikhism. It is a place where one can find peace, joy, and inspiration from God and Guru. The Golden Temple is not only a place of worship but also a symbol of Sikh identity and values. It reflects the history, culture, and spirit of Punjab and India.

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