Also known as Harmandir Sahib (Temple of God), the Golden temple is one of the prime tourist attractions in Punjab and the most important pilgrim spot for the Sikh community. The temple is said to be the focal point behind the founding and naming of the city of Amritsar. The 4th Guru of the Sikh community excavated a tank and named it ‘Amritsar’ which literally means the ‘pool of the nectar of immortality’ and built the temple on the pool which we know today as the Golden temple.
The temple houses the ‘Adi Granth’ which is comprised of compositions of Sikh gurus and saints like Kabir and Baba Farid and was started by the 5th Guru, Guru Arjan. Although the temple was originally built in the year 1574 and was relatively small, its full-fledged construction started under the leadership of Guru Arjan into the majestic temple that we see today.
The temple possesses marvelous architecture and fits the moniker ‘the temple/house of God’. The temple is built in white marble and is plated with real gold giving it the nickname ’the golden temple’; there are numerous decorative murals inside the temple which also contain a lot of gold-work. One of the places you must see in the temple complex are the 3 holy trees or ‘bers’ each of which are significant of a particular historical event involving a Sikh saint.
Another thing that deserves a special mention is the famous ‘langar’ or free kitchen (a concept initiated by Guru Nanak-the founder of Sikhism) in the temple complex that feeds around 1, 00,000 people on a daily basis, with the motto ‘no one goes hungry – and everybody gets a hot meal regardless of caste, creed and religion’ thus, exemplifying the main ideologies of the Sikh Religion. Image credits Manpreet Singh Kohli