Unveiling the Spiritual, Cultural, and Culinary Delights of the Golden City

Posted On : 15-3-2018
Unveiling the Spiritual, Cultural, and Culinary Delights of the Golden City

Call it Sri Harmandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib, regard it as a tourist destination or a religious place, but the monolithic GOLDEN TEMPLE in Amritsar with a holy lake and a golden dome is truly an iconic masterpiece in every possible way.

The popular city of Amritsar, in Punjab, is synonymous with The Golden Temple and is a revered site for the Sikhs. Tracing its original name to Harmandir Sahib which means the ‘Temple of God’, the Gurudwara is thronged by Sikh devotees from all parts of the world.

The onus for adding sanctity to Amritsar goes to Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Guru, who hit upon the idea to build the Gurudwara.
This amazing place of worship has held holy significance ever since its inception. The foundation of Harmandir Sahib had been laid by the Sufi saint Hazrat Mian Mir in December 1588 and the construction work was completed in 1601.

Amritsar is a place of both stupendous beauty and sublime peacefulness. The temple’s architecture draws on both Hindu and Muslim artistic styles yet represents a unique co-evolution of the two. It was richly ornamented with golden gilding and large quantities of precious stones during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the 17th century.

The Golden Temple stands on a rectangular platform surrounded by a pool of water called the Amrit Sarovar (pool of nectar). This pool has become a great source of inspiration for the Sikh community.

The entrance to the temple complex is through an ornate archway, which is intricately decorated with inlay wood. On the doorway, one finds the inscription of verses from the holy Granth Sahib.

View - a 360-degree view of Golden Temple Amritsar

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-story marble temple can be reached by a bridge known as Guru’s Bridge. Its architecture has a fine blend of Hindu and Muslim styles. The lower floor is made of white marble and has nicely decorated walls with inlaid flowers. The upper story 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 are 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-story 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 glasswork.

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 every day.

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 flights from Delhi, Srinagar Chandigarh, and other major cities.

• Rail: Amritsar is well-connected by rail to major towns and cities of the country. The trains are available from Delhi, Mumbai and other cities of the country.

• Road: A good network of roads connects 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 facilities. The Golden Temple offers a free accommodation facility in its hostels. Besides, there are a number of star hotels for the tourist. Apart from the above center's visitors thronging the temple could also accommodate 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 the moony ear. According to the 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.