The mighty dome glitters as the sun rays touch its already shining body. A pleasant aura and a miraculous calm surround the atmosphere. It almost feels like God himself has descended to bless its creation. This is exactly how one feels as they enter the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
The temple derives its name from the gold plated dome that covers the temple. This iconic golden dome can be seen from a distance and also makes for a wondrous skyline. One of the most popular places of worship for both Hindus and Muslims, the temple is also open to people of all faiths. Its radiant aura and spiritual presence have also lured many tourists to just experience its magic.
While ‘Golden Temple’ is what people popularly know it as the original name is ‘Harmandir Sahib’. While concept and design of this temple are attributed to Guru Arjan Sahib, the foundation was actually laid down by Muslim saint Hazrat Mian Mir Ji of Lahore.
Inside The Beauty
The temple’s beauty is enhanced by a beautiful man-made a lake that surrounds it. The lake also has some lovely fishes that swim around gleefully. There are four entrances to this temple. This symbolises the fact that people from all faiths and religions are welcome to come and see. The gates itself are articulately made and the designs on the white marbles are intricate.
As one walks on the marble walkways inside through one of the gates, one can see the beautiful structure of the temple. It is a sight to behold as the temple is slowly revealed with each step. The glorious temple is situated at the middle of a holy tank called Amrit Sarovar. Many pilgrims take a soothing dip in these waters to purify themselves. The holy water is also said to have medicinal properties and can heal everyone to chooses to take a dip or even simple wash their hands and feet.
The temple is made of white marbles but also had a plating go gold, which makes it look like royal.
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Once inside the temple, one is bound to be enthralled by a sense of peace. The serenity of the whole area makes for a truly spiritual experience. The soft chanting of various hymns and the devotion is radiated from all corners of the temple hall. One is easily engulfed completely by the sheer magic and bliss that is emanated beautifully. The experience can be best depicted as magical.
The main hall is decorated beautifully from floor to ceiling, and the constant chants and songs of the holy priests remind one of the long gone Sufi Saints.
One can also stand atop the golden domes. This is a wonderful activity and is extremely popular. The experience is also mesmerising that one can never forget that moment. It gets etched in the brain.
Credit: God Is Everywhere
The temple complex has 25 different areas, which all hold some kind of significance. However, the main areas are the- Inner sanctum of the temple and the clocktower.
One can also quietly sit at the banks of the tank and stare in the beauty of the complex. The floors are extremely clean, and no litter can be seen.
Seeing the temple at the backdrop of the sunrise or sunset is also a popular tourist thing to do. The temple looks even more holy and charming during these times. The temple looks delightful in that early morning and early dusk lights. The hues of the sun and the changing colour of the skies are perfectly completed by this beautiful temple.
At night too, the temple looks breathtaking as it lights up.
- The temple hosts over 75,000 people every single day, and feed them at their Guru Ka Langar or Community Kitchen. This is a truly amazing feat. The food is mouth watering and this is a must thing to do in The Golden Temple. They never run out of food, and providing free food to so many people is just another trait of magic that the Golden Temple whips out.
- Unlike every other Hindu Temple that is situated at a higher ground/platform, The Golden Temple is actually below ground level. This deviation from tradition is because the Sikhs believe that one must be down to earth.
- All Hindu temples usually have one main gate. Yet, the Golden Temple is different. It has four main gates which signify that every single person from every single faith is welcome. This was extremely progressive in a time when Hindi religion was marked by caste and religious discriminations.
- The grand langar- feeding so many people every day is an accomplishment on its own. But what is even more unthinkable is that this activity has been going on for 450 years and not a single day has been missed. This is what the presence of God actually looks like.
- It is extremely easy to spend hours and hours at the temple. One can sit anywhere, or listen to the melodious chants and songs or just walk around this massive complex.
Things To Remember
- The Golden Temple attracts too many visitors every single day. There are long queues. One must be prepared to stand for long hours and to navigate through a lot of people.
- Due to the rush, pickpockets can happen. One must also be careful of their belongings
- The main entrance is the one that has the most number of people queueing up. One can easily take the back entrance to get inside the complex faster.
- As a part of the religion, one must cover their heads with a scarf or handkerchief at all times. This is mandatory for both men and women. The heads must be covered at all times inside the temple complex.
- Shoes must be removed before entering. One must also wash their hands and feet before entering the main temple.
- Cameras are allowed. One can use it freely, however, it is not allowed to take pictures inside the temple.
How To Reach
Amritsar is a big city. It is well connected to the major cities in India. Air travel, especially from Delhi starts from early in the morning. One can also take the train. From Delhi, Amritsar is an overnight journey.
Golden Temple in Amritsar is not just a testament to beautiful architectures, but also to what humanity should look like. The ornately gilded marbles and the crystal clear holy waters of the lake are only a facade for the countless self less and dedicated volunteers who are devoted to god and humans alike. These volunteers are what makes this temple special and different from every other holy place.