The Golden Temple (also known as Harmandir Sahib) is perhaps the most famous place of worship known to all Indians.
It should be known even to atheists since its hard to ignore…it finds a prominent place in Indian movies.
I definitely want to visit it someday…but till then I will have to be content reading about it i guess 🙂 .
Some facts about it :
- Its name literally means House of God.
- It is located in the city of Amritsar(Punjab,India).
- The temple was completed in 1604 with its construction beginning in 1588.
- The fourth Guru of Sikhism, Guru Ram Das, excavated a tank in 1577 which subsequently became known as Amritsar (meaning: Pool of the Nectar of Immortality), giving its name to the city that grew around it. In due course, a splendid Sikh edifice,the Golden Temple was constructed in the middle of this tank which became the supreme centre of Sikhism.
- The eternal Guru of Sikhism, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, is present inside in it.
- Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708), the tenth of the Sikh Gurus, affirmed the sacred text Adi Granth as his successor, terminating the line of human Gurus, and elevating the text to Guru Granth Sahib.Thenceforward the text remained the holy scripture of the Sikhs, regarded as the living embodiment of the Ten Gurus.
- It was built with four doors to show that every religion or faith is allowed to go in to meditate or just listen to the prayers for peace.
- In December 1588 the great Muslim Sufi saint of Lahore, Hazrat Mian Mir, a close friend of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, was asked to lay the corner stone (December 1588). The story has been told that a mason then straightened the stone, to which Guru Arjan said, “As you have just undone the work of such a holy man, who knows what disaster might come to the Darbar Sahib“.
- This story has been used to offer a reason why the temple has been attacked so many times by the Afghans and Mughals and even the Indian Army in 1984, during Operation Bluestar, which laid the foundation stone of Khalistan, the Sikh Homeland.
- Inside the temple complex there are many shrines to past Sikh Gurus, Saints and martyrs (see map).
For Visitors :
- Anyone who wants to enter the Darbar Sahib may do so, irrespective of religion, colour, creed or sex.
- The only restrictions are that the person must not drink alcohol, eat meat or smoke cigarettes or use other non prescription drugs while in the shrine.
- Visitors are, as well, expected to dress appropriately and everyone must cover their heads as a sign of respect, remove their shoes and socks and enter the temple barefooted.
- Visitors must wash their feet in the small pool of water as they enter the Darbar Sahib premises.
- Head scarves are provided.