Golden temple of Amritsar: Most prominent Gurudwara in the world
Imagine a beautiful gold coated structure decorated with colorful lighting on a quiet sunset evening and the clean water nearby reflects this mesmerizing site! If I tell you such a place does exist then wouldn’t you like to visit it?
Sri Harmandir Sahib, famously known as the ‘Golden Temple of Amritsar’ is a pilgrimage made with love. The golden temple of Amritsar is a symbol of brotherhood, compassion, and equality. Can you believe every day 1lakh visitors come to Sri Harmandir Sahib!! What so special about the golden temple Amritsar? Well, let’s find out.
What’s the construction history of the golden temple of Amritsar?
‘Sri Harmandir Sahib’ is ‘home to the higher power’ of Sikhism and located in the Amritsar city in Punjab, India. The golden temple Amritsar is one of the prominent spiritual sites of Sikhism.
In the year 1589 the 5th guru of Sikhism, Guru Arjan requested Mir Mian Mohammed, a Muslim saint of Lahore to lay the golden temple’s foundation stone to start the construction. Guru Arjan installed a copy of the ‘Adi Granth’, a religious scripture of Sikhism in the year 1604 inside Sri Harmandir Sahib. Guru Granth Sahib is worshipped at the golden temple.
The 3rd Sikh guru, Guru Amar Das advised Guru Ram Das in the year 1570 to build an ‘Amrit Sarovar’ (Holy tank) of the golden temple. In the year 1577, the 4th Sikh guru, Guru Ram Das finished building it.
Many Mughals and Afgan armies repeatedly invaded and destroyed the Sri Harmandir Sahib. Thus, the golden temple Amritsar was rebuilt each time. The leader of the Sikh Empire, Maharaja Ranjit Singh rebuilt the golden temple in the year 1809 with marble and copper.
In the year 1830, the sanctum of Sri Harmandir Sahib was covered with gold. Thus, the temple got the name ‘The golden temple Amritsar’.
Shall we discuss the architectural beauty of the golden temple of Amritsar?
Sri Harmandir Sahib has 4 entrances in each direction and is built on a 67ft square platform, which is in the middle of the holy tank. There is a walking area around the pool to rotate around the golden temple Amritsar.
The golden temple is designed beautifully in Sikh architecture with 3 stories and a large area.
There is a bridge that leads you to the ‘Darbar Sahib’, the main temple area with a length of 202ft and 21ft width at Sri Harmandir Sahib. On the other side of the bridge there is an arch, ‘Darshani Deori’ that allows you to enter the bridge and is 10ft tall and 8ft broad at the golden temple Amritsar.
Sri Harmandir Sahib is built on the lower level. There is ‘Akal Takht’, 1 of the 5 ‘Takth’ (Seats of power) of the Sikhs at the golden temple Amritsar. This is the major center of admission, politics, and justice for Sikhism today at the golden temple.
Lesser known facts about Sri Harmandir Sahib:
1. Guru Amar Das bought the land of the golden temple as the payment of Zamindar of the native village and decided to make a central place to worship for the Sikhs.
2. History says, Mughal emperor Akbar gifted the land of the golden temple Amritsar to Guru Amar Das.
3. As the golden temple Amritsar stands in the middle of the Amrit Sarovar, the name of the city was kept ‘Amritsar’.
4. Devotees take bath in it and many even take it back home from the golden temple Amritsar.
5. The golden temple displays an amazing blend of Indo-Mughal and Hindu Rajput architecture.
6. Approximately 400 to 750kgs of gold sit on the top of Sri Harmandir Sahib. Even the doors of the main area are covered with gold at the golden temple Amritsar.
7. You must cover your head (be it male/female) to enter the golden temple Amritsar.
8. All the visitors enter Sri Harmandir Sahib barefoot after passing a separate foot-washing pool.
9. Bir Baba Buddha, the 1st high priest planted the rugged old Jubli tree 450 years ago in the North-West corner of the golden temple Amritsar area. Hence, the tree is considered holy at the golden temple.
10. Inside the golden temple Amritsar complex, there are many buildings like a clock tower, a museum, offices, the library, and a community kitchen.
11. Langar, the community kitchen of the golden temple is known as offers only vegetarian food to 20thousand people without any discrimination.
12. According to the decision of Guru Hargobind, the ancient weapons of the Sikh warriors are kept inside the Akal Takht, a part of Sri Harmandir Sahib.
13. 1st Some people clean Darbar Sahib, the main area of the golden temple Amritsar with clothes as ‘Sukhi Seva’(the dry cleaning). Later, a selected group of Sikhs purify it with milk and water called ‘Snaan Seva’ (the bathing cleaning ritual) at the golden temple Amritsar.
14. The cleaning of Darbar Sahib takes place every day from 12 AM to 3 AM at the golden temple. Later at Sri Harmandir Sahib a few main priests wake Guru Granth Sahib and take at Darbar Sahib.
15. Every day priests read kirtans from Guru Granth Sahib from any random page at the golden temple.
16. At the golden temple, Guru Granth Sahib is kept inside Darbar Sahib during the day and kept inside Akal Takht at night.
17. At 10 PM the devotees bid good night to Guru Granth Sahib with rose water and petals at Sri Harmandir Sahib.
18. The 4 entrances of the golden temple symbolize that Sikhism believes in equality. Everyone from any religion is welcome at the pious place of Sri Harmandir Sahib.
19. Out of 4 doors, only 1 is used for entry and exit due to security reasons at the golden temple Amritsar.
20. To get victory in WW1 the British government performed ‘Akhand Paath’ at Sri Harmandir Sahib.
Why do people visit Sri Harmandir Sahib?
Out of all the Sikh temples the golden temple Amritsar holds a prominent place in Sikhism. The spiritual beauty of the golden temple is beyond explanation.
The construction story of the golden temple is interesting which leads many history experts curious to visit.
According to the traveling list, the golden temple Amritsar is one of the must-see places in India and attracts forgivers to witness the beauty of architecture and religion.
Devotees find peace at Sri Harmandir Sahib that pulls them.
How to reach the golden temple of Amritsar?
- Amritsar international airport is the nearest airport.
- Amritsar railway station is the nearest station to Sri Harmandir Sahib.
- Many private and public transports can take you to the golden temple Amritsar.
Sri Harmandir Sahib still welcomes 3billion people monthly after so many years! I guess the charm of the golden temple Amritsar is still intact.
At Secret Temples, you can learn more about many temples like Sri Harmandir Sahib and many religions.