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Golden Temple

The Darbar Sahib or Harmandir Sahib and sometimes known as the Golden Temple is a significant Gurudwara of Sikhs situated in the Amritsar city of Indian state of Punjab. It was constructed by the 5th Guru of Sikhs, Guru Arjan Dev, during the 16th Century. Guru Arjan Dev in the year 1604 accomplished the Adi Granth which is the sacred scripture of Sikhism and got it installed in the Gurudwara.

There are four entrance doors for getting into the Harmandir Sahib, symbolizing the openness of the Sikhs for the people as well as religions. The Gurdwara which is seen today got its reconstruction done in the year 1764 by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia taking assistance of other Sikh Misl's. It was in the early 19th century that the region of Punjab was protected by Maharaja Ranjit Singh from the outside attack and upper floors of Gurdwara which were covered with gold giving it a unique appearance and a common name as the Golden Temple.

Sri Harmandir Sahib is regarded as holy by Sikhs. Guru Granth Sahib, the holiest text of Sikhism, is always kept inside the Gurdwara. The gurudwara came into being for the basic reason that there should be a place of worship for men as well as women of all walks of life and religions for coming and worshipping God equally. There are more than 100,000 people who visit this holy shrine everyday for worship.


Sri Harmandir Sahib has a literal meaning as The Temple of God. The 4th guru of Sikhism, Guru Ram Das ji, got a tank excavated in 1577 CE which gradually came to be called as Amritsar , which means "Pool of the Nectar of Immortality" and hence the city which was growing around it got its name. In the mean time, Sri Harmandir Sahib, a Sikh edifice, which meant "the abode of God", came up in the middle of this tank and acquired the position of the supreme centre of Sikhism. Adi Granth was also housed in its sanctum and consisted of Sikh Gurus along with other saints having Sikh values inculcated in them such as Baba Farid and Kabir. The Adi Granth had its compilation beginning by Guru Arjan Dev ji, the fifth guru of Sikhism.

Construction of Sri Harmandir Sahib

The Gurudwara which originally came into being in 1574 had the surroundings of a small lake and a forest. The 3rd among the 6 grand Mughals, Akbar visited the 3rd Sikh Guru, Guru Amar Das who was in the neighboring area of Goindval, got so fascinated by life style in that town that he offers his jagir, land and revenues of various villages in the proximity, to the daughter of Guru, Bhani as her marriage gift with Bhai Jetha, who further became the 4th Sikh Guru called as Guru Ram Das Ji. The lake was enlarged by Guru Ram Das Ji and constructed a small township in its surroundings. The town was given the name Guru Ka chak, or Ramdas Pura after Guru Ram Das Ji.

Under the guidance of the 5th Guru, Guru Arjan Dev (1581–1606), there was building of full-fledged Gurdwara that came into being. Guru Arjan Dev Ji in the year 1588, took an initiative in building of the Gurdwara and Sri Guru Arjan Dev Sahib laid the foundation stone himself in the month of December in 1588. It is a common misbelieve that Sufi Saint Mian belonging to Lahore laid the foundation stone.

Few of the features of architecture exhibited in Sri Harmandir Sahib had intentions to symbolize worldview of Sikh. However there is a normal custom of constructing a Gurdwara on high land, but this has been constructed at a lower level and devotees need to go down steps for entering it and besides this there are four entrances at Sri Harmandir Sahib.

The Gurdwara got its completion in 1604 and Guru Arjan Dev Ji kept Guru Granth Sahib installed in it appointing Baba Buddha Ji as the premier Granthi or reader in August 1604. There was a attack of Afghans in the mid-18th century by one of the generals of Ahmed Shah Abdali, Jahan Khan, and therefore it was reconstructed in the 1760s. They took revenge and Sikh army went to hunt down the force of Afghans showing no mercy and according to historical evidence, the Sikh Army turned out to be victorious in this battle. At a distance of 5 miles from Amritsar, the forces met each other and the Jahan Khan’s army was demolished.


Sri Harmandir Sahib or Golden Temple has been constructed on a platform of 67 sq ft having an Amrit Sarovar lake, pool of nectars, in its surroundings and engrossing an area of 150 sq. m. The temple spreads over 40.5 sq ft area. There are four entrances to the temple symbolizing the significance of openness and acceptance. The shrine also symbolizes the doctrines of Sikhs representing the strength of the Sikh community. While making an entry, there is an ornate archway having beautiful inlay work. There are inscriptions from Granth Sahib spotted on the doorway and of course there is gold plated exterior.

There is an arch standing at the shore end, Darshani Deori and the height of this arch’s doorframe is around 10ft while the breadth is of 8ft 6inches. There are graceful styled door panels opening towards the bridge leading to the major building of Sri Harimandir Sahib. Its length is 202 feet whereas breadth is 21 feet. The bridge remains connected to 13 feet broad 'Pardakshna’, also referred to as circumambulatory path running round the major shrine and leading to 'Har ki Paure’ i.e. steps of God. Guru Granth Sahib is always read on the 'Har ki Paure’ first floor.

The major building of Sri Harimandir Sahib is three-storied technically as well as functionally having a front facing the bridge and adorned with repeated arches along with roof of height around 26 feet at the first floor. There is a parapet of height 4 feet on the top of first floor rising on through all the sides along with four 'Mamtees’ on each of the four corners and just on top of the central hall of the major sanctuary rising the third story. There is a small room which is square shaped and comprises of three gates. There is also a continuous recitation of Guru Granth Sahib held here.

There is a low fluted dome or ‘Gumbaz’ at the top of the square room comprising of the lotus petal shaped motif found at the base and an inverted lotus found at top supporting the 'Kalash’ which has an amazing 'Chhatri’ spotted at the end. Mirror Room or Sheesh Mahal is built on the 2nd storey and remains gilded with mirrors having an intricate styled work of several patterns. There is a golden dome seen above the Sheesh Mahal accompanied by a number of miniature domes. The mural work of temple is featured by floral patterns having animal motifs interspersed in it. Within the campus of the Temple, there are several Shrines of the Gurus.

One can get to see 3 Holy Trees within the complex of the temple, each having a historical significance related to some or the other saint of Sikh. There are memorial plaques commemorating the enriched land history and the memories of brave martyrs. The upper floor of the Golden Temple is covered with gold plates and its beautiful domes are made up of elegant marble work being intricately designed under the Maharaja Ranjit Singh patronage. The temple was developed by him including gilding of plates which are embossed and renewal of pietra dura and embellishing of the ceilings having mirror as well as floral designs. The Golden Temple architecture is unique and distinct in itself and is an amazing blend of the architecture styles of Muslims and Hindus.

Celebrations at Sri Harmandir Sahib

One of the most vital festivals observed here is Baisakhi, which has celebrations in the 2nd week of April, usually by the 13th of April. There is a celebration of finding the Khalsa by Sikhs on this very day and there is zest and enthusiasm among the people in Sri Harmandir Sahib. Other significant days of religious importance in Sikhism is the birth day of Guru Nanak Dev and martyrdom day of Guru Teg Bahadur etc. being observed with religious piety. Besides, Diwali is also one of the festivals which witnesses Sri Harmandir Sahib adorned with illuminated Divas/Diyas or lamps lighted along with fireworks getting discharged. During these auspicious occasions several thousands of people come to visit this holy shrine called Sri Harmandir Sahib. Usually the Sikhs visit Amritsar along with Sri Harmandir Sahib at least once in their lives basically during the special occasions like their birthdays, marriages or childbirth, etc.

Best Time to Visit

The best time for visiting Amritsar is from November to March when the weather remains very pleasant. Summers are extremely hot and visitors require to acclimatize themselves if they visit in the dry and scorching heat summers.

Visitor Information

The temple complex remains open for about 20 hours, from 6 a.m.-2 a.m. the place is worth visiting during the day as well as night. As a mark of respect, the heads should be covered and shoes should be removed while entering the temple.

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