The most eminent place of pilgrimage for people following Sikhism, Shri Harmandir Sahib or the Golden Temple is also known as Darbar Sahib. People from across the world come here to worship Shri Guru Granth Sahib and get blessings for prosperity of their health, business, mind, and soul. It is a place where one gets relief from all the pain by taking a bath in the Amrit Sarovar.
History of the temple-
- In 1577, Guru Ram Das constructed a man-made pool or the Amrit Sarovar around the temple.
- The foundation stone of the temple was laid by Sai Mian Mir of Lahore in 1589, as requested by Guru Arjan Dev.
- The temple has a square plan with circumambulation and four entrances welcoming everyone from every direction.
- The whole temple is gold plated from the exterior as well as the interior side. The sanctum has two floors, on the ground floor Guru Granth Sahib is kept and the first floor is meant for various prayers offered by the gurus there.
Architectural Marvels there-
- Akal Takht- It is the building located in front of the sanctum and the causeway. It was established by Guru Hargobind after the martyrdom of his father Guru Arjan. It is a place to conduct ceremonial, secular and spiritual affairs. It also houses a resting place of Guru Granth Sahib on the first floor.
- Sikh History Museum- It is situated on the first floor of the main Ghanta Ghar Deori north entrance. Various paintings and historical items like swords and Chakras tell us about the history of Sikhism and it’s Gurus.
- Underground Tunnel- An underground tunnel is present there in which the entry is restricted and might have been built to save people during wars in earlier years.
- Dukh Bhanjani Ber- It is one of the three Ber trees that are preserved between the walled boundaries of the campus. The other two are Ber Baba Buddha and Laachi Ber. This is the ”Suffering Remover” tree as the pain of people is relieved by taking a dip in the pool near this spot. A small Gurudwara is also present underneath the tree and the spot is known as Ath Sath Tirath or a place equivalent to 68 pilgrimage sites.
- Sukhasan- It is the ceremony of taking the Guru Granth Sahib to the bedroom located on the first floor of Shri Akal Takht Sahib for having rest after a series of Kirtans and Ardas.This ceremony takes place at around 10 pm every day.
- Prakash-It is the opening ceremony in which the Guru Granth Sahib is taken back to the sanctum from Shri Akal Takht Sahib in a similar way as done in Sukhasan. It takes place at dawn time around 3 am to 4 am daily.
- The best part of the temple is the availability of free food for thousands of people round the clock every day.
- This concept of Langar was started by Guru Amar Das, the third Sikh Guru. Pure vegetarian food is served to people by letting them sit in rows (panghats) on ground in a huge dining hall, the Guru Ramdas Langar Hall. All are treated as as equal regardless of their caste and economic status in the society. The menu of the food is rich in variety and changes everyday.
- Two types of Prasads are available in the temple- Kadha Prasad (the free one), and Pinni Prasad (the paid dry prasad taken by people to their home).
Many free and paid accommodation facilities in the form of guest houses and hotels are available within and outside the premises of the Golden Temple.
How to reach there-
- ADDRESS- Golden Temple Rd, Atta Mandi, Katra Ahkuwalia, Amritsar, Punjab 143006.
- The temple is well connected with the outside world by all means of air, water, and land.
- It’s about 2 km from Amritsar Railway Station and about 13 km from Amritsar Airport, all these distances can be covered within a few minutes.
- Free bus and autorickshaw services are also available from various parts of the city to help the tourists.
Entry is FREE inside the premises and there are no extra charges for anything.
- Mobile phones are allowed to be taken inside the main premises of the temple, but photography and videography are strictly prohibited. One reason according to people there is that flashlight reduces the golden shine of the temple.
- Only small handbags and wallets are allowed to be taken, else everything has to be kept in cloakrooms available there.
The temple is open on all days of a week and for 24 hours each day, so it could be visited at any time of the year. But some added beauty can be witnessed while visiting there at dawn time during the Prakash ceremony, or during the night when the image of the shining temple is observed in the Sarovar. Visiting during weekends should be avoided as much extra crowd comes there on holidays. A bath in the holy Sarovar is not a thing to be missed as it is believed to heal our body, mind, and soul.
Location on Map-