Golden Temple Amritsar
Golden Temple located in Amritsar is also known as Darbar Sahib or Sri Harmandir Sahib. Sri Harimandir Sahib is not only a central religious place of the Sikhs but also a symbol of human brotherhood and equality. Everybody, irrespective of caste, creed or race can seek spiritual solace and religious fulfillment without any hindrance.
More than one lakh devotees visit every day. So, The World Book of Records has declared that Golden Temple is the most visited place in the World. No trip to Amritsar is complete without a visit to the Golden temple.
About the Golden Temple /Gurdwara
It is built on an artificial pool that was built in the 16th century. At the beginning of 19th century, It was rebuilt by Ranjit Singh and was covered with gold foil. This led to the famous name, Golden temple. It was again destroyed and rebuilt at the end of 20th century.
It is open to all religion, creed, and gender. This complex is nominated for recognition as a heritage site.
About its architecture
The Architecture includes many structures
are few places you must visit and experience the Holy Place. Some Brief Knowledge about this architecture is given below.
- Golden Temple
The architecture is a mixed style of many practices that exist in India. The major styles include Indo-Islamic, Mughal and Hindu Rajput.
It has two levels and a dome covered with gold foil. The stands on a marble platform and sits inside a pool called Amrit Sarovar (the pool of nectar).
There is a half-hexagonal shelter that has holy steps that lead to the pool. Pilgrims who wish to take a holy bath or collect the pond’s water in bottles for sick people use these stairs.
- Lower Floor
The ground floor has a scripture of Guru Granth Sahib. This scripture is taken back to the bedroom in another building inside the complex for four hours in one day. The doors are covered with gold foils and copper sheets.
- Upper Floor
The upper floor is modified into a gallery. The ceiling of this floor is decorated with embossed design and jewels.
- Darshani Deorhi
The iconic delicacy is Karah Prasad that is made with flour. Pilgrims should enter the temple, make a clockwise circumambulation around and then reach the DarshaniDeorhi to receive the offering.
- Clock Tower
The original one was destroyed and now Main Entrance is known as the clock tower.
- Ber Trees
Three trees stand in the courtyard now.
One of the trees is located to the right of the main entrance. It is said that Baba Buddha sat under the tree to supervise the construction of the pool and the temple.
The second tree is believed to be the place where Guru Arjan rested while the temple was being built.
The third tree located outside the sanctum is the place where a Sikh was cured of leprosy after taking a dip in the bath.
- Central Sikh Museum
On the top floor of the clock tower entrance, the Sikh history museum is located. This museum holds ancient paintings of Gurus, swords, combs, chakkars, and others.
- Main Entrance
There is four entrance to the complex but only one entrance is open for all. There is also a plaque as a memorial for all Sikh warriors who died in World War II.
- Community Kitchen
Guru Ram Das Langer or the community kitchen is located inside the complex. This kitchen holds a dining hall too. Food is served every day to all visitors. Vegetarian food is only served. People have to sit on the floor in rows to eat.
Visitor Timings of Golden Temple, Amritsar
Timings: 2:30 a.m. to 10:00 PM (all days of the week.)
The Kiwad (door/portals) opens at 2:30 a.m. and the First Hukamnama is given at 5:00 a.m. The temple closes with the departure of Palki Sahib from Sri Harimandir Sahib.
Langar Timings in Golden Temple, Amritsar
Guru ka Langar (Langar Hall) is open for all people, irrespective of caste, creed, and race. Langar meal is served at ALL HOURS.
- Meals in the langar are vegetarian and are simple, nourishing and nutritious.
- The kitchen has a capacity of 5000 people.
- There are two kitchens in which the food is prepared.
- On normal days, all the dishes are handmade by the sewadars.
- Hygiene is of utmost importance, both before and after meals. Dirty plates are handed over to another set of volunteers. Each plate is washed 5 times before being used again.
- The kitchen receives a lot of donations too, either in cash or kind.
Facilities in Golden Temple, Amritsar
- Free shoe-keeping zone outside the premises.
- Tourist information office.
- Free bus facility for the airport, railway station, and bus stand.
- Toilets and bathrooms.
- Free dispensaries.
- ATM, railway booking, and postal facilities
- Offerings in cash and kind are accepted in the Golden Temple.
- Please get a receipt on offering donations for langar (community kitchen), building.
- It is strictly prohibited to serve or eat any eatables in the Parikrama or to loiter about with uncovered head.
Rituals at Golden Temple
This is the opening ritual, which takes place at the dawn. The scripture is taken back from the bedroom, placed on the head and carried back to the Gurdwara. After many rituals, a random page from the book is opened and read aloud. This page is written down and handed over to visitors to read it.
This is the closing ritual of the Gurdwara. Many mantras are recited as the doors to the Gurdwara are closed. The scripture is placed on a palanquin, which is decorated with flowers. The scripture is taken to the bedroom in Akal Takht where it is tucked into bed.
When to Visit Golden Temple?
The best time to visit is during Sikhism festivals like Vaisakhi (second week of April).
Other top festival days are the birthday of Guru Ram Das, Martyrdom day of Guru Teg Bahadur and others.
On Diwali, it will be decorated with colorful lights and fireworks would be burst in the evening.
How to Reach Golden Temple, Amritsar
- By Air:
Raja Sansi International Airport, or Sri Guru Ram Das International Airport, is located at a distance of 13 km. and is the nearest airport. It takes around 18-20 minutes to reach from the airport.
- By Rail:
The nearest railway station is Amritsar Junction, 2 km.
- By Road:
Amritsar is also well-accessible via roadways. Grand Trunk Karnal Road connects Amritsar to Delhi. Pathankot is at a distance of only 2 and ½ hours drive from the city. Regular bus service is also available from Delhi I.S.B.T, Katra, Jammu, Chandigarh and Dharamshala.
Activities to Enjoy In Golden Temple
- Visit the temple for sightseeing and witnessing rituals during the day.
- Come back and visit at night to enjoy the decoration with lights.
- Take part in the community kitchen. You can serve food, cook or wash in the kitchen.
- Sit down for a good meal with thousands of other people.
- Some prefer seating down on the edge of the lake by night to enjoy the silence.
- Climb up to the terrace to get a good look at the city around.
- Take a holy dip in the water and enjoy other rituals here.
Tips for Enjoying Golden Temple
- Wear a modest and decent dress. Your shoulders and knees should be covered. Shorts are not allowed inside.
- Everyone visiting should cover his or her hair with a scarf. Scarves are found in shops around.
- Meal times are from 12 pm to 2 pm and from 7 pm to 9 pm. A meal has to be completed in 15 minutes.
- When the holy book is chanted, please maintain silence.
- You can take pictures of the temple and the pond.
- Book Gurudwara accommodation facilities well in advance.
Accommodations available near Temple
There are many Dharamshala available near Temple/Gurdwara with good accommodations facilities.
You can check and book at the link below:
Places to Visit Near Golden Temple, Amritsar
Some of the most popular places to visit nearby are
- Jallianwala Bagh – 800 Meters
- Wagah Border – 31 km
- Durgiana Temple – 1 km
- Maharaja Ranjit Singh Panoramio – 4.1 km
- Khalsa College – 4.7 km
- Harike Wetland and Bird Sanctuary – 90 km
- Guru Nanak Dev University – 8 km
- Summer Place of Maharaja Ranjit Singh – 5 km
Shopping Near Golden Temple, Amritsar
One of the famous and age-old shopping places is Guru Bazaar, which has more than 2500 shops presenting a fine collection of gold and silver ornaments, and precious and semi-precious stones.
Just outside the main gate of the Gurdwara, there are several shops along the complex wall, selling souvenirs like photos of Golden Temple, Sikh kadaas (bangles), paintings, swords, knives and shields of Sikh religion. Punjabi Juttis are also a must-buy in Amritsar. During winter, woolen garments are available in abundance across all local shops and markets.