The golden temple of Harmandir Sahib is the main temple of the Sikhs and their religion, one of the largest in the world. It was erected in the city of Amritsar in northern India; today it is on the border with present-day Pakistan.
Harmandir Sahib (Darbarasahib) translates as the Temple of God. During the centuries of its existence, it was repeatedly built and rebuilt, until in the 17th century it acquired the form as we know it today. At the beginning of the 19th century the temple was decorated with gilding and acquired a new name, the Golden Temple of Amritsar. It combines the best of Islamic and Hindu iconic architecture. Some compare it to the Taj Mahal.
History of the Harmandir Sahib Temple
The city of the Golden Temple, Amritsar, is an extremely important center of Sikh religious and political history. The construction of this temple in the city began in the 16th century under Guru Ram Das and was completed in the very beginning of the 17th century under his successor.
Today the Golden Temple is rightly considered the main religious monument of Amritsar. It attracts many hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from India and surrounding countries, and tourists are also very interested in it.
The city of Amritsar has been known since the last century for massacres in armed conflicts. In the early 20th century, during the British Empire, there was a bloody massacre near the Golden Temple, killing over a thousand Indians.
That was when Muslim Pakistan was spun off from India. The lands of the Punjab were divided between India and Pakistan. All this had negative consequences and changed the views of the Sikhs of Amritsar, as the city found itself on the brink of armed conflict.
In the mid-1980s, the Golden Temple was occupied by Sikhs fighting for independent statehood. The Indian authorities decided to fight the separatists, and the army attacked them in the temple, which was damaged.
A few months later Indira Gandhi was killed by the Sikhs. They refused the money offered by the Indian government to rebuild the Golden Sikh Temple and made the repairs entirely on their own.
Description of the Harmandir Sahib Temple
The Golden Temple of India is a huge structure made of marble, gold and bronze. It is located in the heart of Amritsar and attracts a huge number of worshippers, pilgrims and gawkers.
It took about 800 kilograms of pure gold to decorate this temple, because for a Sikh it is a holy place. The Golden Temple of the Sikhs is a beautiful architecture and a unique atmosphere. It is interesting that the temple proclaims the unity and equality of all religions in the world.
Sikhs worship their temple. People of many different religions can come here, but before doing so, be sure to cover your head and wash your feet, showing respect for the Sikhs and their faith.
The Golden Temple in India is extraordinarily beautiful. Its walls are covered with gold, and its inner chambers are richly decorated with gold and precious stones. Like Muslims, the temple is surrounded by a large lake.
It is believed that the water of this lake – the divine nectar, according to many legends, it can cure the worst diseases. The Golden Temple is accessible only by a long bridge spanning the lake. The bridge is under guard.
A meal at the Golden Sikh Temple
Temple hosts are sure to invite their guests to the table and feed them. From the Sikh point of view, people are united over food, creating the harmony of human relationships that we all need.
Every day the Sikh temple is visited by at least 30,000 people, many coming here for the free food. There are twice as many guests on weekends and holidays. The food is prepared and served exclusively by volunteers, with at least a thousand of them working daily.
It serves vegetarian dishes, vegetables, rice, and local bread. After each meal, the floor where guests sit is washed by volunteers. You can come here at any time of the day, and no one is left without food.
What is Sikhism?
This creed originated in the Punjab in the 15th century. His preachers reject the caste-based society of India. Temple gatherings over food are a kind of prayer service in Sikhism.
At the Golden Temple in Amritsar, all people are equal, like in a kitchen or dining room at a meal. Selfless service is the second principle of Sikhism. Sikhs try to follow these principles in their daily lives.
Sikhism is one of the ethnic and even nationalist religions of India; its name comes from the Sanskrit word for “disciple. Most Sikhs are a single ethnic community from the Punjab. Many Sikhs live in the state of Haryana.
No priest of this religion ever called for asceticism, for detachment from the world. Sikhs, on the contrary, go to the people and preach their ideas, work, sing hymns to the glory of their god, and call for universal equality before God.
In its early stages, the doctrine of Sikhism was very similar to Sufism. In the 16th century the ideas of this doctrine were formulated, religious festivals, pilgrimage centers were established, a number of hymns were composed, and the Sikh Temple was built.
It was then that the principles of one God, the communion of Hindus and Muslims, appeared in this religion, and Sikh communities settled throughout the Punjab. They engaged in contemplation of being together, without any priests or canons.
The way of salvation in this doctrine is the five stages of spiritual purification and perfection. A Sikh must continually meditate on God, say his name, meditate, and be sure to serve people as God.
As the community developed, houses of worship were built, and free canteens began to appear in the 16th century during the reign of Guru Angad. People of all castes could get a free lunch there.
A few decades later, Guru Ram Das established that power in the Sikh community was hereditary, a territorial division of the community emerged, and the Sikh capital of Amritsar was established.
Guru Arjun famously composed the canon of Sikhism, i.e. The scriptures of their religion. In the 17th century Punjab became part of the Mughal Empire, and the Sikhs acquired their famous mighty military spirit.
How do I get to the Harmandir Sahib Temple?
Getting to Amritsar is not difficult, India has a developed network of highways and railroads. You can fly into Delhi airport and from there take an intercity bus or train halfway across the country to Amritsar.
The Golden Temple on the map of India
The temple is open to visitors daily, without holidays and weekends, from 08-00 to 19-00. Everyone, from a devout Sikh to a bored tourist, can enter it. It is desirable to observe the dress code.