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Golden Temple, Amritsar

Sri Harmandir Sahib (Temple of God) also popularly known as “The Golden Temple” in Amritsar, a city in Punjab state of Northern India is a central place of worship for the Sikhs. Amritsar (literally means, Pool of Nectar) is a principle city that is about 400 years old is situated on the North Western border between India and Pakistan. The city was started by the fourth preceptor of Sikh faith Guru Ram Das in 1574. Golden Temple is one of the highest religious seats in the Sikh faith. It’s a shrine that evokes the purity and peace as soon as you trod the downwards stairs from one of its four entrances. Golden Temple is constructed below the surrounding ground level signifying humbleness and selflessness of the human being. It has four entrances thereby signifying openness and welcoming all irrespective of their faith, caste, religion or color of skin. The foundation stone for Harmandir Sahib was laid by a Muslim saint of Lahore named Mian Mir, again a significant gesture of inclusive and brotherhood ethos of Sikhism. Sri Harmandir Sahib, is built on a 67ft. square platform in the centre of the Sarovar (water tank). The temple itself is 40.5 Sq ft. It also has four entrances each on the East, West, North and South. The Darshani Deori (an arch) stands at the shore end of the causeway. The door panes are decorated with artistic style. It opens on to the causeway or bridge that leads to the main building of Sri Harmandir Sahib. It is 202 feet in length and 21 feet in width. The bridge is connected with the 13 feet wide ‘Pardakshna’ (circumambulatory path). It runs round the main shrine and it leads to the ‘Har ki Paure’ (steps of God). On the first floor of ‘Har ki Paure’, there is continuous reading of Guru Granth Sahib. The main structure of Sri Harmandir Sahib, functionally as well as technically is a three-storied one. The front, which faces the bridge, is decorated with repeated cusped arches and the roof of the first floor is at the height of the 26 feet and 9 inches. On the top of this room stands the low fluted dome having lotus petal motif in relief at the base inverted lotus at the top which supports the ‘Kalash’ having a beautiful ‘Chhatri’ at the end. Its architecture represents a unique harmony between the Muslims and the Hindus way of construction work and this is considered the best architectural specimens of the world. It is often quoted that this architecture has created an independent Sikh school of architecture in the history of art in India. The shrine was destroyed many times by Afgan invaders but was rebuilt and decorated with gold by then King of Punjab and devout Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1801–39). In recent times Golden Temple was also destroyed in an attack by Indian government to flush out political opponents in 1984. Around 100,000 visitors and pilgrims visit the shrine every day, Visitor numbers rise to 200,000 at the weekends and reach up to half a million during festivals. It has a free kitchen (Langar) to seat 40,000 at one time and work round the clock. Langar (Free Kitchen) is a traditional vegetarian food prepared by the volunteers and served to all. “Service to others” is one of the ethos of Sikh religion. The tradition of Langar is followed all over the world in every Sikh temple and serves meals throughout the days or weekends. How to Reach Amritsar is well connected by rail, air and roads. Domestic flights from New Delhi or any other city in India would have the connectivity. Indian Railways, Cars and Taxis all modes of transport connects to Amritsar Where to Stay There are six on premises residential blocks next to the “Golden Temple” complex. This has excellent accommodation available for foreign tourists. For bookings call 91-183-2553957, 58, 59 Many other 5 star and lower hotels are available in the vicinity or short drive. Links SGPC – Shromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (Temple Management Committee) Sri Guru Granth Sahib World University, Fatehgarh Sahib

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