The Golden Temple – also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib, is a gurdwara (Sikh temple) located in the city of Amritsar in the north Indian state of Punjab, India. It is the most popular spiritual site of Sikhism in India and the world too, and attracts tons of pilgrims from all over the country and the globe.
Guru Ram Das the disciple of the third Guru of the Sikh tradition (Guru Amar Das) acquired the land for the site where the Golden temple was built, around the year 1574, but its construction was initiated in 1581 by Guru Arjan who was the Fifth Guru of Sikh tradition. The temple took 8 years to be built and completed.
But this drew the attention of Mughals who were ruling India at the time, and the temple was seized by them. In 1762, the Afghan ruler Ahmad Shah Durrani had the Golden Temple blown up with gunpowder.
Two year after this, in 1764, Baba Jassa Singh Ahluwalia – a prominent Sikh leader, collected donations to rebuild the sacred Golden Temple, and eventually a new main gateway called Darshan Deorhi, and sanctum were built by 1776 and the floor around the pool which was made for the temple earlier was completed in 1784, after which a canal was done to bring in fresh water for the pool from the nearby Ravi River, finally completing the construction.
Though a Sikh temple, the Golden temple’s architecture is a mixture of Indo-Islamic Mughal and the Hindu Rajput architecture.
It has a sanctum, which is a 12.25 x 12.25 metre square with two storeys and a gold foil dome. The upper floor in the sanctum is a gallery and connected by stairs. The ground floor is lined with white marble.
Another portion - the Darshani Deorhi is a two-storey structure that has the temple’s management office and treasury. At the exit of the sanctum is a Prasad facility, where volunteers serve sweet offerings to devotees.
Amritsar city is very famous for this temple and once people are in the city, it is not at all difficult to get to the temple. Auto rickshaws, cabs or buses can be hired within the city to reach the temple.
People can reach Amritsar by :
The golden temple has no entry fee for visitors and devotees, but it does have some rules that if visitors do not follow are considered disrespectful and will be denied entry.