Sri Harmandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib aka The Golden Temple is the most important and the most venerated sacred sites in Sikhism, one of the most visited tourist attractions in India.. Pilgrims, devotees and travellers from all around India and foreign visit the Golden Temple to be awed by its splendor and ambience.
It is renowned for its mesmerising architecture, friendly volunteers, peaceful vibes and the daily langars. Sikhs revere the Golden Temple as it constantly reassures their faith in their religion and humanity. It is a symbol of universal brotherhood.
The Golden Temple is located in Amritsar, a city which is a major cultural and religious hub of the state of Punjab.
The outer structure of the main temple is gilded in gold while its arches and supporting structure are made of pure white marble. The wall panels have Arabic-style floral designs.
There is a huge pool around the Temple and other buildings in the complex are Akal Takht – the main seat of Sikhism, and Gurudwara Baba Atal Sahib.
Timings: 4 am to 11 pm. The temple is open all days of the week and there is no entry charge
8 Reasons To Visit The Golden Temple
1. Spiritual Bliss
The Temple emanates pious, serene, positive vibes that are calming and peaceful, even when it is full of pilgrims who are circling its inner sanctum and outer areas. One can truly experience the sacred aura of the temple which is magnified by the constant chanting of Sikh hymns, prayers and scripture readings. Its atmosphere will disconnect you from the outer world and immerse you in a silent, spiritual realm.
2. Superb Architecture
Made in Sikh architectural style, with influences from Islamic & Rajputana styles, the Temple construction is awe-inspiring. The dome is covered in gold and the temple has entrances on all four sides, reflecting openness. There is a causeway leading to the inner sanctum bordered by marble balustrades. The interior is richly decorated with floral and mirror designs. There are parapets and circular pinnacles gilded in copper and gorgeous murals everywhere. The pool surrounding the Temple is called Amrit Sarovar, which to the devotees is holy water. The Temple is a must-visit for those who love ethnic, historical architecture.
3. Guru Ram Das Langar
The largest free community kitchen in the world that serves a wholesome vegetarian meal to around 50,000 thousand visitors daily (sometimes double the number) is by all means a laudable humanitarian feat. People from all walks of life are welcome to partake in the langar and no one is ever turned away. The kitchen is run by volunteers and the food ingredients are donated. In the dining hall, everyone sits on the floor to eat, without any hierarchy, all are equal. The meals are simple, but delicious. The langar has been featured in international TV shows and documentaries. A must-visit for the sheer scale of its operation and the food made with labour of love.
4. Golden Temple At Night
A million-dollar sight – perhaps one of the best reasons to visit the Golden Temple. Illuminated with gold. blue and yellow lights, shining in all its glory, the temple looks outstandingly beautiful at night. The Amrit Sarovar which surrounds the Temple on all sides shimmers with supernatural grace reflecting the lights from the causeway and the Temple.
On certain special occasions of the Sikh religion, the Temple looks doubly divine with fireworks all over its gold dome. The interior is lit with huge chandeliers and lamps, ideal for spiritual and photographic endeavors.
5. Cultural Sights
A walk around the Temple complex will place you in a land of cultural mishmash, a sensory overload of colours and sounds that will blow your mind. Apart from regular Indian tourists and pilgrims from all regions of the country, you will find numerous foreigners from various nationalities. If you’re lucky, you can catch a glimpse of Sikh mystics and Nihangs – order of Sikh warriors who wear huge colourful turbans and traditional Punjabi attires.
6. A lesson in Sikhism & its rituals
If you’re interested in learning about the Sikh faith, you can do so by hiring a local guide outside the gate who will instruct you about the history of the Temple, Sikh religious order and its founding Gurus, etc. Gurudwara committee also conducts guided tours. Other than that enjoy the daily ceremonies at the Gurudwara including morning ‘Prakash’ when the Guru Granth Sahib is carried to the inner sanctum and ‘Sukhasan’ when the holy book is carried on the head and placed in a palanquin amidst the reverberations of holy chants.
7. Structures Within The Complex
Visit the Akal Takht, the primary seat of authority from where edicts on Sikhism are declared. It is politically and historically significant. Also visit the clock-tower building which houses a Sikh Museum and do visit the 9-storeyed octagonal Gurudwara Baba Atal Sahib.
A cluster of Jujube (Ber) trees in the complex are important in Sikhism for it was under these trees that the temple construction was overlooked and miracles by Gurus were performed.
Ath Sath Tirath near the trees is a small gurudwara, a visit to which is equivalent to 68 pilgrimages in India.
8. Nearby sights
Your trip to the Golden Temple will be incomplete without visiting the historic Jallianwala Bagh (1 kilometre away) , where you can pay respects to the martyrs of the massacre.
Visit the Partition Museum (1 kilometre away), a definitive repository on India-Pakistan Partition, and Mata Lal Devi Mandir (3 kilometre away) a psychedelic, fun-house style temple with a bespectacled goddess idol, take a walking tour near Fawara Chowk (750 metres) to experience authentic Amritsar streets and the redstone monument at Gandhi Gate (1.6 kilometre away) which leads to a colourful, frenzied bazaar you can shop from.
Reasons galore to visit the Golden Temple! The perfect destination for a spiritual lift-me-up, historic architecture, sensory delights and a thousand and one photo ops. If you have any questions or comments, use the comment box below.