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Golden Temple

[ Edit ] Overview

The Golden  Temple Amritsar monument is the spiritual heart of the Sikh religion. The Golden Temple also known as Harmandir Sahib or Durbar Sahib was established by Guru Ram Das, the fourth guru of the Sikhs. Harmandir Sahib meaning the abode of God, is the centre of Sikkhism.

The Golden Temple  Amritsar is considered to be very special by the Sikhs because the 11th, and eternal Guru, the Guru Granth Sahib, is always present here. The Guru Granth Sahib is actually a collection of the holy scriptures that outlines the tenets of the Sikh religion. 

The construction of the temple was designed with the intention of being a place of worship for men and women can of all walks of life and all religions. It has doors in all four directions indicating that it is open to all people from all backgrounds and walks of life - indicating the open arms nature of the religion.  Land for the temple was donated by the Mughal Emperor Akbar.

Golden Temple  Amritsar monument is one of the most important religious sites in India and is the top attraction of the city of Amritsar.  

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Visitor Quick Facts

[ Edit ] Famous For

The Golden Temple Amritsar monument is famous for:

  • Enshrining the Holy Book of the Sikhs - the "Guru Granth Sahib".
  • The solid gold dome of the main temple.
  • For feeding 40,000+ people for free everyday at the Guru ka langar (community kitchen) for all visitors without any distinction based on caste, nationality or religion.

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[ Edit ] Location

The Golden Temple monument is located in Amritsar, Punjab

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[ Edit ] Best Time To Visit

October to March is presents the best weather in Amritsar.  Summer tends to be unbearably hot – a shade warmer than Delhi – for leisure travel.  However, given that the Golden Temple  Amritsar is a spiritual destination, it can be visited any time of the year.

Devout Sikhs refer to specific timings for actitivities / rituals that they would like to partake in at the Temple.  However for most tourists, early mornings and late evenings are the best time to viist Golden Temple  Amritsar when the weather is most conducive to appreciating the beauty and spirituality of this beautiful holy site.

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[ Edit ] Days of Operation

The Golden  Temple Amritsar is open daily 365 days of the year.

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[ Edit ] Hours of Operation

The Golden Temple  Amritsar is open 24 hours a day.  Daily Time Table of Sri Harmandir Sahib is below.

Daily Time Table of The Golden Temple  Amritsar varies depending on month:

  • 14 Mar - 13 Apr:  From 2.30 AM to 10.15 PM        
  • 14 Apr - 13 May:  From 2.15 AM to 10.45 PM
  • 14 May - 14 Jun: From 2.00 AM to 11.00 PM 
  • 15 Jun - 15 Jul: From 2.00 AM to 11.00 PM
  • 16 Jul - 15 Aug:  From 2.15 AM to 10.45 PM
  • 16 Aug - 15 Sept:  From 2.30 AM to 11.00 PM
  • 16 Sept - 16 Oct: From 2.30 AM to  10.30 PM      
  • 17 Oct - 15 Nov: From 3.00 AM to 10.00 PM                         
  • 16 Nov - 15 Dec: From 3.00 AM to 10.00 PM  
  • 16 Dec - 13 Jan:  From 3.00 AM to 10.00 PM 
  • 14 Jan - 12 Feb:  From 3.00 AM to 10.00 PM
  • 13 Feb - 13 Mar: From 2.45 AM to 10.15 PM

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[ Edit ] Entry Charges & Fees

There are no charges to enter the Golden Temple  Amritsar.  All visitors of all religions and castes are most welcome to this holy site.

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Historical Quick Facts

[ Edit ] Type

Religious

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[ Edit ] Architecture

The Golden Temple Amritsar blends Hindu and Islamic architectural styles.

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[ Edit ] Construction Period

The Golden Temple (Amritsar) was built / constructed between1585 AD – 1604 AD.

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[ Edit ] Built By

Who was the Golden  Temple Amritsar built by?

  • The Golden  Temple  Amritsar was built by the 4th Sikh Guru - Guru Ram Das with construction work commencing in 1577.

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[ Edit ] History

History of Golden  Temple  Amritsar

The land for Harmandir Sahib was given as a gift by Emperor Akbar to Guru Ram Das. Guru Ram Das enlarged the small lake surrounding the land and gradually a township grew around the lake. This town of Ram Das Pur is today recognized as the city of Amritsar.

In 1588 the foundation for the temple was laid by Hazrat Mian Mir, a Muslim sufi saint. The construction of the temple was completed in 1604 and Baba Buddha Ji was appointed as the first reader of the Granth Sahib. The temple was however attacked by Afghans and was later rebuilt in 1760 under the leadership of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. This temple has been attacked several times in history but each time it has been rebuilt to look even grander than before.

Sikhism was established by ten prophet-teachers - each called Guru - between 1469 to 1708.  Each Guru added to and reinforced the message taught by the previous, resulting in the creation of Sikhism.  The last Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, instructed the Sikhs to follow Granth Sahib as the Guru after him rather than follow the teachings and instructions of a living Guru.  The 11th Guru, the eternal Guru, is therefore Guru Granth Sahib - the holy scriptures of the Sikh religion.

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[ Edit ] Myths or Facts

Myths and Facts of the Golden Temple  Amritsar:

  • There is a very strict timetable that is followed inside the Harmandir Sahib.  This timetable is believed to recreate the period in time when the Sikh Gurus resided in Amritsar.   The most important part of the daily schedule at the Golden Temple  Amritsar begins in the early morning. 

    Morning Kirtan:  Begins in the sanctum of the Harimandir Sahib with the singing of the lengthy composition Asa di Var,

    Arrival of Sri Guru Granth Sahib:  a procession from the Akal Takhat of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib that is carried on a palanquin by Sevadars (volunteers).

    Sangat (congregation):  Pilgrims inside the temple rise as the holy Granth is placed on the Singhasan (throne) in the centre of the sanctum.  Attendants then read verses from the Granth in praise of the Sikh Gurus. The holy Granth is then ceremoniously opened and a Hukam (command) is taken by opening the text at random and reading the first composition on the open page.

    The Guru Granth Sahib then remains on its throne in the sanctum until the early evening, when it is again taken in procession on a palanquin to the Akal Takhat for its traditional night-time rest. 
  • Hindus believe that Lord Ram and Sita ventured up to the site of the Golden  Temple Amritsar during their years in exile. It is also believed that the Sage Valmiki wrote the epic Ramayana in this area.
  • The gnarled 450 year old Jubi Tree, planted by the Golden Temple Amritsar's first high priest, Baba Buddhaya, inside the temple complex, is believed to possess special powers. 

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[ Edit ] Architecture And Structural Description

Architecture &  Description of Golden  Temple Amritsar Monument

The Golden Temple is a beautiful blend of Hindu and Islamic styles of architecture. The temple is built on a 67 square ft platform in the centre of the Sarovar Lake. Built under the leadership of Guru Arjan Dev Sahib, the temple is built on a lower level with entrances from all four sides symbolizing its accessibility to all people irrespective of caste, religion, creed or *** .

There is a 202ft long bridge that leads to the main building of the temple. The bridge is connected with a 13 ft broad ‘Pardakshna’ or circumambulatory path winding around the main temple and ultimately reaching the ‘Har ki Paure’ or steps to God.

On the first storey of ‘Har ki Paure’, the Guru Granth Sahib is read continuously through the day. The main shrine of Sri Harmandir Sahib is a three-storied one. The front of it faces the bridge and is decorated with cusped arches. The roof of the first floor is 26 feet and 9 inches high. A 4 ft high parapet rises from all sides on the top of the first floor and have four corners known as ‘Mamtees’. The third storey is a little room with four gates located right on top of the central hall. On top of this room there is a low fluted dome called ‘Gumbaz’. The Gumbaz has lotus petal motif on an upturned lotus supporting the Kalash with a Chattri at one end.

The overwhelming structure today was molded from 400 kilos of gold. The actual temple stands on nearly 70 square feet of marble. This temple was designed under the leadership of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

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[ Edit ] Things To See

Things to See and Do at Golden Temple  Amritsar

Parkarma and Arti

Walking along the marble stairs to the parkarma you see the golden dome and façade of the Harmandir  Sahib. It is customary to turn left and complete the entire parkarma before going to the main temple.

The first shrine along the marble walkway is the Dukh Bhanjani Ber.It is said that a handicapped youth got cured after taking a dip in the sacred pool here. Many devotees believe in taking a bath in the water here.

Further down from here is a raised marble platform. This is the Ath Sath Tirath or the Shrine of the Sixty-Eight Holy Places.

Around the next corner, is the shrine of Baba Deep Singh, a legendary old warrior who died at this spot. Pilgrims pay their respects to the warrior here.

As you turn the next corner towards Akal Takht and Darshini Deorhi you may witness the rituals of moving the Sri Guru Granth Sahib from the Kotha Sahib in the Akal Takht where it is kept each night to the Harmandir Sahib where it is moved to in the morning before 5 am.

Before the Sri Guru Granth Sahib is brought to the Harmandir Sahib, the attendants prepare the palki and cushions on which it will rest. The gold and silver palanquin is prepared, the cushion are changed, fresh sets of silk and brocade coverings are spread and rose water is sprinkled on top of everything. The holy book resting on a cushion is brought in by the head priest on his head to the beat of drums with devotees and followers showering rose petals and chanting hymns. The procession goes past the Darshini Deorhi and along the causeway before it reaches the Harminder Sahib.

In the evenings the prayers end with ‘rahras’, aartis, shabad kirtan and conclude with ardas at 0945pm. After the prayer the Sri Guru Granth Sahib is carried back in the palanquin to the Kotha Sahib to rest until the next morning. The doors to the Darshini Deorhi are shut to allow the attendant to clean it for the next morning.

 

Akal Takht
Facing the Golden Temple is Akal Takht built by Guru Hargobind in 1609. Akal meaning eternal and Takht meaning throne is the one of the most important seats of the Sikhs. It was constructed as a place of justice where temporal issues of the Sikhs can be discussed and resolved. The Granth Sahib is kept here every night to rest.

 

Guru ka Langar
Guru ka langar is a community kitchen where food is prepared throughout the day for all visitors to eat free of charge without any distinction based on caste, *** , nationality or religion. The funds for this community kitchen is met out from the temple funds. Nearly 40000 people eat here every day.

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[ Edit ] Nearby Attractions

Other attractions close to the Golden Temple monument include:

  • Wagah Border - Border crossing between India and Pakistan.
  • Jallianwala Bagh - Renowned for the massacre of 2,000 civilians by British Forces in 1919.

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[ Edit ] Other Information

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More... Related Photos

Fakirs at Amritsar, richest city of Punjab-south across Sacred Tank of Golden Temple - India;  by Underwood & Underwood; Year: 1908
India of to-morrow - handsome schoolboys of Amritsar, at the Golden Temple beside the Holy Tank;  by Underwood & Underwood; Year: 1903
One of my favorite photos at the Golden Temple
This man was paddling on a small raft picking up stray litter in the lake.