Golden Temple alias Sri Harmandir Sahib, is situated at AMRITSAR, Punjab, India. Sri Harmandir Sahib means ‘The abode of God’. Amritsar is the spiritual center for the Sikhs and the administrative headquarters of Amritsar District.
The Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) at night. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)[/caption]
This Gurdwara (temple) is the holiest Gurdwara (place of worship) for Sikhs. The first gurdwara here was built in the 15th century and the current gurdwara was built in 1764. Golden temple is built around the man made pool or lake called “AmritSarovar”, which was shortened to become the name of the town, Amritsar. Amrit means nectar, sarovar means pool.
The four entrances of the holy Sri Harmandir Sahib symbolizes the openness of the Sikhs towards all people and religion. Four entrances represents the four directions; North, south, East and West.
History Behind Construction of Golden Temple
The third Guru of Sikh religion, Guru Amar Das has chosen the site for this holy temple. Guru Ram Das, who succeeded Guru Amar Das in 1574, acquired the land chosen by his predecessor. He started building the new township in 1581, with the pool at its center. The pool was kept dry during the contraction period. It was filled with water after the inauguration of the temple. The construction of the temple was completed in 1589. The original temple was made of bricks. The town was initially known as Ramdaspur.
Later on, during Guru Arjan’s time, the town expanded and was named Amritsar with the Golden Temple complex, at its center. It was Guru Arjan who is credited with installing the first version of the scripture of Sikhism inside the Golden temple in 1604. He also established Amritsar as the main pilgrimage destination for the Sikhs.
In 1802, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the founder of Sikh Empire, took control of Amritsar. He rebuilt the Sri Harimandir Sahib temple with Marble and Copper. He also donated gold to cover the sanctum. The sanctum was covered with gold foils. He also made the temple officials position a hereditary one.
Golden temple is a mixture of different architectural styles. Hindu Rajput architecture along with Indian and Islamic Mughal architecture can be seen here at the Golden temple.
Custom & Free Food at Golden Temple
It is customary to wash your legs before entering the golden temple. There is a free community kitchen which serves food to thousands of visitors, daily. It is called Langar.
Wheat Halwa is the prasadam at Golden temple. Prasadam is the food that is a religious offering in Sikhism. It is consumed by devotees after worshiping.
How Do I Go to the Golden Temple at Amritsar?
Amritsar is well connected by buses to cities like New Delhi, Dehradun, Shimla, Jammu, etc. Amritsar Railway Station is the nearest railway station to the Golden temple. Direct trains connects this holy city with many of the major Indian cities.
Operation Blue Star at The Golden temple
Operation Blue Star was a military operation undertaken in June 1984 by the Indian Army, on Indira Gandhi’s orders, the then Indian prime minister, to contain militancy. To take revenge, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own Sikh bodyguard, on 31 October 1984.
Golden Temple Website
If you are looking for more details on golden temple, please check out Golden temple website.
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