In the Sikh faith, Harmandir Sahib (or Golden Temple) is the most revered gurudwara.
As part of a complex that also includes the sacred tank - Amrit Sarovar, Langar (community kitchen) hall, and Akal Takht (throne of the timeless one), you'll also see Islamic-style minarets.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh used 400 kg of gold leaf to build the golden dome of Gurudwara Harmandir Sahib.
The Harmandir Sahib is one of the most exquisite attractions in the world. Its foundation stone was laid by the famous Sufi saint Mian Mir. Four entrances symbolize openness to all people and religions.
The Langar Sewa (community kitchen service) is another highlight of Golden Temple. It has the world's largest kitchen, where free meals are served to visitors.
As the city's focal point, the Golden Temple (or Harmandir Sahib) is an iconic monument known for its spiritual significance and architectural beauty. The Amrit Sarovar tank centered the entire city.
Guru Nanak ji, the first Sikh guru, meditated at the holy site where Harmandir Sahib stands.
The fourth Sikh Guru, Ram Das founded the sacred tank Amrit Sarovar. Guru Arjan, the fifth Sikh Guru, initiated the construction of the gurdwara.
During the construction of the temple, Guru Arjan installed the Adi Granth, the holy scripture of Sikhism. It took almost eight years to complete. Guru Arjan designed it to be built at the center of the tank. Guru Hargobind erected the Akal Takht within the complex.
Following the construction of Harmandir Sahib Amritsar, Guru Arjan was arrested by the Mughals. Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru, liberated it in the 18th century.
After Guru Gobind Singh's death, Harmandir Sahib was attacked by Islamic rulers in 1762. Maharaja Ranjit Singh rebuilt it in 1809 with gold foil, and Harmandir Sahib came to be known as the Golden Temple.
When the government attempted to capture militant Sikhs hidden inside, it was destroyed again in 1984. Later, from 1995 to 1999, it was rebuilt.
In addition to the dome of the Golden Temple, the inner walls and door panels also feature goldwork. Copper sheets have been engraved with delicate designs and then covered with gold leaves.
Golden Temple's first floor is below ground level. It's decorated with rare paintings and marble sculptures. The stairs to the shrine go downward, symbolizing humble living.
In Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar, you'll find symbols of life everywhere. Symbols of life are depicted in paintings in the form of birds, animals, and flowers.
Visit hours of the Golden Temple Amritsar vary from season to season. The usual darshan timings are between 4 AM and 10 PM. The doors to Harmandir Sahib open around 3 AM. Devotees carry the palanquin to the sanctum of the Golden Temple. Following Ardas, Gurbani singing, and Hukamnama, the doors close at 11 PM, and the palanquin is carried back to Akal Takht. Everyone can do darshan for free.
Winter is the best time for a Golden Temple tour. Winter sets in from November and lasts until March. It's an ideal time for outdoor sightseeing and other activities. You might also witness festivals like Guru Nanak Jayanti during this time. During this occasion, Harmandir Sahib displays its valuables and jewelry.
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