Golden Temple In Amritsar
Most Revered and Most Beautiful
Not only is the Golden Temple among the most sacred pilgrimage spots in India, it is also amongst the most beautiful ones. Formally known as the Harmandir Sahib, it is the most substantial and the oldest Gurudwara. Golden Temple is situated in the heart of Amritsar is visited by thousands of devotees everyday. The temple nestles in between a pool which is named Amrit sarovar. It is on the name of the pool that the name of the city is based. The temple is considered sacred because the holiest book of Sikhism, Guru Granth Sahib is always present inside the premises.
There is no restriction as to who can enter the premises of the temple. People of all caste, creed, sex, and nationality are allowed to visit the holiest Sikh pilgrimage destination. However there are certain rules that are to be followed inside the Golden Temple. Every person in the coumpound is required to cover his head showing his respect for the religion. The person must not drink alcohol, eat meat or use any drugs or smoke cigarettes inside the premises. At the entrance, itself you will be provided with head scarves to cover your head.
History of Golden Temple
The construction of the Golden temple was started in the year 1588. The idea of having a separate place for worship for Sikh religion was thought by the fifth Sikh guru, Guru Arjan Sahib. He himself designed the complete architecture of the place, including its vicinity. Guru Arjan Sahib asked a Muslim saint Hazrat Mian Mir Ji of lahore to lay the foundation for this sacred monument. The construction of the building was completed in the year 1604. Guru Arjan Sahib established the Guru Granth Sahib inside the Sanctum Sanctorum.
Golden Temple though is one of the most sacred destinations in India, its past has not been very pious or peaceful. At the start itself, it was attacked by a Mughal ruler as was foretold by Guru Arjan Sahib. In the 18th century, it was again attacked by Jahan Khan, one of Ahmad Shah Abdali's general. But the most infamous of all was the Operation Bluestar. Took place in the year 1984, it was ordered by the then prime minister Late Indira Gandhi. During every attack, Harmandir Sahib suffered a huge loss and had to be reconstructed massively.
Amongst all the festivals of Punjab, Baisakhi is the most important festival of the state. Baisakhi is a festival celebrating the harvesting of Rabi crops. Not only is it an important day for the farmers, but the festivals also holds a great importance in Sikh religion as well. This day starts early for the people of Punajb. Many take bath in the holy river and visit the nearby Gurudwara. There are special prayers organized in all gurudwaras. Afterwards cultural programmes are organized where people gather to enjoy by dancing and singing. The celebrations of Baisakhi is the best place to witness the Bhangra and Giddha dance.
Architecture of Golden Temple
The architecture of the temple is unlike any other Gurudwara. Surrounded by the sacred Amrit Sarovar literally meaning 'Pool of Nectar', Harmandir Sahib is built on a lower level. There are many uniqueness in this temple but the first one that comes into notice is the number of entarances to the temple. There are in all four entrances on all sides of the temple.
The Golden Temple is built on a 67 feet square platform in the center of the lake. At the start of the causeway to the sanctum sanctorum, there is a well carved out Arch called the Darshani Deorhi. It stands 62 m high and 6 m in width. The marble decoration on it dates back to the 17th century. Starting from the top, ¾ of main structure of Harmandir Sahib is plated with gold.