Golden Temple- A Complete Guide. India is known worldwide for its diverse culture, various communities, and the unity that it shares with each other. Being home to thousands of temples, mosques, churches and gurudwaras, Indians have always equally treated each other.
One such piece of architecture is the Golden Temple. Originally dedicated to the Sikh community, the Golden Temple is open for all visitors and is considered to be sacred by all.
Located in Amritsar, Punjab, the Temple is one of the major attractions of the city and stands as an ancient historical and iconic structure in the country.
History of Golden Temple
Golden Temple lies around a man-made lake that was built by Guru Ram Das in 1577. The fifth Guru of Sikhism, Guru Anjan requested Sai Mir Mian Mohammad to place the first building stone as a foundation of the temple in 1589. The building of the temple was completed in 1609, and a copy of Adi Granth was placed inside it.
The temple was destroyed numerous times by Mughal rulers and Afganisthani armies. Many times the pool water was polluted by putting the blood of cow in it.
Sikhs rebuilt the temple numerous times and in 1830 Maharaja Ranjit Singh rebuilt the temple in copper and marble. He also covered the dome in gold after which it came popularly to be known as the Golden Temple.
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Kirtan Darbar at Golden Temple
Kirtan literally translates to word chant. In Sikhism, Kirtan holds an integral part. The key property of Kirtan is to sing and chant poems that depict God is one.
The Kirtan Darbar at Golden Temple is a large dome-shaped hall where numerous singers and saints arrive every day to chant Kirtan and sing together the words of God.
Every day many Sikhs arrive in herds to witness the magnificent Kirtan in the Darbar of the Temple. The aura created in the darbar is truly heavenly and something that everyone must experience once in their lifetime.
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Langar Sewa at Golden Temple
The Golden Temple has a facility of langar or a community kitchen. The meal is prepared by volunteers and then served by them. Everyone entering the temple is allowed to eat the food with no discrimination between any religion, gender or creed.
The rich and poor people sit together, side by side on the floor and eat food. The meals are absolutely free of cost.
The meal served is completely vegetarian and simple. Tea is also served for the visitors, and sugar-free tea is served separately for diabetic patients.
The Langar tradition is a part of the Kar Seva ethos of Sikhs which makes them help others regardless of their religion or any other diversity.
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Golden Temple at Night
At night the Golden Temple gets all lit up and shimmers in bright light. With the golden lights creating a reflection on the lake, the view becomes absolutely mesmerizing. If you are planning to visit Amritsar for a day or just a weekend, then you must try to visit the Golden Temple at night.
At the main temple, after the Kirtan chanting is over, Sukhasan is performed. The holy Guru Granth Sahib is closed and carried on head to a palki and then taken to Akal Takht where it is kept on the bed. This marks as the end of the day.
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Golden Temple Timings
The unique feature of the Golden Temple is that it stays open throughout the day and night. You can visit it anytime during the day or at night. The langar also serves food throughout the day and night for 24 hours.
Golden Temple Entry Fees
The entry to the Golden Temple is absolutely free. There is no ticket or charges required to enter the temple.
Best Time to Visit Golden Temple
The Golden Temple can be visited anytime and during any season. However, as the Golden Temple holds an important position in the lives of the people of Punjab and the Sikhs and as it attracts thousands of visitors every day, it often gets crowded.
Long queues are often seen inside the premises. To avoid this, you can visit the temple at dawn or late at night and enjoy the serenity.
In the month of October, on the day of Guru Nanak Jayanti, the temple lits up extravagantly, and it is a wonderful time to visit.
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How to Reach Golden Temple
The nearest airport to the Golden Temple is the Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee airport which is located very near to the temple. After reaching the airport, you can take any local transport and reach the temple easily as it is the most popular destination here.
Amritsar has its own railway station named Amritsar Railway Station. There are many auto-rickshaws, private cabs and taxis available that can take you to the temple.
You can board on the bus to reach the Golden Temple. There are numerous deluxe buses that travel from Delhi and Punjab. There are numerous state buses that connect Amritsar with neighbouring cities.
Tourist Attractions Near Golden Temple
Located in the Majha region of Punjab, Tarn Taran is a holy town for the Sikhs founded by Shri Guru Arjan Dev Ji. The town’s beauty mesmerized him, and he established the Tarn Taran Temple here. The name means the boat to cross the ocean of living and meet with the almighty God.
With a highly important role in Indian history, the Tarn Taran is flooded by Sikhs and other tourists, especially during Baisakhi and similar festivals.
Apart from the beauty of the town itself, there are other points of attractions too, like Har Ki Pauri, Gurudwara Darbar Sahib, Gurudwara Lakir Sahib, etc.
The ISCKON Temple in Amritsar is located in Moni Chawk. The temple is also called Shri Gaur Radha Temple. This temple, like all other ISCKON temples, is dedicated to Lord Krishna.
The chief deity here is Lord Krishna and Devi Radha. Some other deities are also worshipped here. Numerous tourists visit the temple to seek blessings from the deities, and it is one of the top places to visit in Amritsar.
Located at a distance of 32 kilometres from Pakistan, the Wagah Border is a border crossing with Pakistan. The name is derived from the Wagah village which is located nearby.
Every day two hours before closing the border, the troops from Indian BSF and Pakistani Rangers hold a ceremony. Flags are hoisted, and marching processions take place. It is a part of the peace treaty signed with Pakistan.
One of the five Takhts in Sikhism, Akal Takht, was primarily built as a place to serve justice to the temporal issues of Sikhs. It is also known as Akal Bunga and is located directly opposite the Golden Temple.
The temple serves as an important place for the Sikh community, and the Guru Granth Sahib is brought every day from the Golden Temple and placed here, on its first floor.
The building is five-storied and is built with copper and marble. The upper dome is gold plated, and the whole building was completed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Akal Takht has faced numerous attacks from troops of Afghani and Mughal soldiers. Operation Blue Star, conducted by Indira Gandhi, took place here.
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