India is a divine rich country and has many significant religious places. One example is the Harmandir Sahib, formally known as ‘The Golden Temple.’ The temple is located in Amritsar. It is one of the most divine and sacred Gurudwara in the country, where people visit from all over the world.
Let’s explore the magnificent history and some fascinating facts about this glaring shrine.
The third Guru Sahib launched the foundation of holy tank (Amritsar or Amrit Sarovar) in 1570. The fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Sahib conceptualized a place of devotion; he designed the structure and started the construction in 1588. The layout architecture of the temple is a symbolic representation of openness & accessibility to every Devotees irrespective of their religion, caste and gender.
Over the few decades the temple was attacked three times and suffered damage, but later on it was fixed. The complex was further crafted by the sixth Guru Sahib. Maharaja Ranjit Singh took the initiative of furnishing the Gurudwara. With his great contribution and support, the Golden Temple was completed in the year 1830.
Rituals and Practices
The Gurdwara itself acts like a self-governing organisation combining a management committee, priests, volunteers, and supervisors etc. The temple is open for devotees 24/7 except for four hours at night, which is the time used for cleaning the shrine. Every day around 10:30 pm, the scripture is carried out in a golden palanquin from the gurudwara to the Akal Takht (which is the resting place).
Thousands of people gather to listen the first thought of the day, also called as the ‘hukamnama.’ By the day, all the rituals and recitals continue in an orderly manner. and ‘Karah Prashad,’ is distributed among the devotees.
The Langar (kitchen) is operating 24/7, hundreds of volunteers prepare and serve food which is all free of cost. In exchange, devotees make donations or help (Sewa) around the kitchen or the Gurdwara. If not the kitchen, devotees come forward to help with the cleaning work or at the shoe counters at the entrance.
Visiting the Temple
The Golden Temple is open for everyone irrespective of religion, caste and gender.
However, there are some rules that you have to be follow while visiting the temple. Roads nearby the complex are closed for vehicles, you have to walk through the market to reach at the entrance. At the main gate, footware and luggage have to be deposited at the counters. You should be dressed senstavily, cover your head and wash your feet (Sign of respect to God) before entring into the complex.
On the entrance, you will listen the melodious hymns and devotional songs. Devotees take a dip in the divine water of Holy tank that is believed to have healing powers. There are facilities to shower or change after the dip. Resting areas and lodges are available if your visit extends for a longer period. Drinking water and meals are served round the clock for free.
The most famous festivals celebrated here are Guru Nanak Dev Jayanti, Baisakhi and Diwali. Gurpurbs of the ten Gurus of Sikhism are also marked as days of celebration.
It is truly an amazing experience for devotees to witness the majesty of the temple, understand the faith, belief and principles of Sikhism. Try and take time out to learn about the history and significance of Harmandir Sahib, its places, practices and glory of the temple.