Art and architecture of Golden Temple
The main entrance to the temple, known as the Darshani Deori, is under a Victorian clock tower The two storey marble temple can be reached by a bridge known as Guru’s Bridge. Its architecture has a fine blend of the Hindu and Muslim styles. The lower floor is made of white marble and has nicely decorated walls with inlaid flowers. The upper storey is gold plated, which is capped with a golden dome, shaped like an inverted lotus. One can enter the temple through its four entry points which is also symbolic of openness and the interiors are nicely decorated with carved wooden panels and extensive inlay work in silver and gold.
The Golden Temple was built in the year 1601, and the Guru Granth Sahib, the famous religious book of Sikhs was installed in 1604. The Harmandir sahib is a two storey marble structure with an imposing dome of pure gold, which is meant to represent an inverted lotus flower. The interior of the temple is decorated with semi precious stones, frescoes and glass work.
Originally built in 1604, the temple sustained repeated damage from attacks by Afghan invaders. During the early 19th-century reign of Maharajah Ranjit Singh, the temple was rebuilt using marble, copper; and an overlay of gold foil. The temple sits on a small island and connects with land on the west by way of a marble causeway.
Akal Takht: It is situated next to the Golden Temple and is the seat of the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (the religious governing body of the Sikhs). The Guru Granth Sahib ji which is the sacred book of the Sikhs is placed here, and is taken out in a procession daily in the morning to the Golden Temple and brought back at night.
Adi Granth: The holy book compiled by Guru Arjan Dev, lies on a throne beneath a jewel-encrusted canopy. The Sikh Priests continuously recite verses from this holy book.
Shrines: The Shrines situated on the northern corner of the corridor are venerated as the 68 holy shrines of the Hindus.
Guru Ka Langar: The Guru Ka Langar is a community canteen, which was started in the 16th century and today approx 1 lakh devotees eat guru ka langar everyday.
The Jubi tree: The Jubi Tree stands at the northwestern edge of the complex, and is believed to be planted around 450 years ago.
How to reach Amritsar?
• Air: Amritsar airport has fligrits from Delhi, Srinagar Chandigarh and other major cities.
• Rail: Amritsar is well-connected by rail to major town and cities of the country. The trains are available from Delhi, Mumbai and other cities of the country.
• Road: Good network of roads connect Amritsar with the state as well as other states of the country.
Accommodation options in Amritsar
The city has several hotels, guest houses and hostels, which offer accommodation facility. The Golden Temple offers free accommodation facility in its hostels. Besides there are a number of star hotels for the tourist. Apart from the above centres visitors thronging the temple could also accomodate at the guest house.
Annual Celebrations at Golden Temple
Each year the birthday of Guru Nanak Sahib (the founder of Sikhism) is celebrated in November. The occasion sees a congregation of all faiths all over the world who gather year after year. Guru Gobind Singh Sahib, the tenth Nanak’s birthday generally falls in December or January or sometimes twice within a year as it is calculated according to Hindu Bikrami Calendar based on moony ear. According to Nanakshahi calendar the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib falls only once in a year i.e. on 5th January (every year). Apart from these two key celebrations one can witness the huge gathering at the time of Hola Mohalla and Basant Panchami.