The Abode of God - Golden Temple, Amritsar

I have been to many religious sites not just Hindu temple but famous and holy Muslim Dargah and Christian Churches. I have seen many Gurudwara but Harmandir Sahib was always on my bucket list and finally, I was able to visit this holiest Gurudwara of Sikhism last week.

Harmandir Sahib popularly known as Golden Temple was founded in 1577 and its not only a religious place but a symbol of equality and brotherhood.


I was in Amritsar for three days and every day I visited Harmandir Sahib, not just during morning hours but seeing the template at night was a great experience.

Late-night flight from Bangalore to Delhi and then early morning flight from Delhi, I reached the holy city of Amritsar in Punjab. After checking in to the hotel, my first place to explore was Harmandir Sahib.

Four entrances (representing the four directions) to get into the Harmandir Sahib also symbolize the openness of the Sikhs towards all people and religions. 10 mins Rickshaw ride from my hotel and I reached temple from entrance close to Jallianwala Bagh.



I bought a headscarf because everyone has to cover the head properly to visit the temple. There is shoe keeping counter that's free of cost. And then you can wash your feet before entering to holy complex.

Instead of the normal custom of building a gurdwara on high land, this temple complex is built at a lower level than the surrounding land so that devotees would have to go down steps to enter it


And then you will see the temple surrounded by a huge lake considered to be holy and filled with nectar water, topped by a dome gilded with 750kg of gold  

 


 
 
The marble walkway surrounds the temple with milky white buildings protecting it on all four sides.

Temple complex is a big area, it's not just the golden temple overlaid in the center of the holy pool but the temple complex has many other historical and significant places like Akal Takht (throne of timeless God), Ber baba buddha ji, Sikh museum.




 

The first day in the morning I did a cursory survey around the temple complex and looking at the crowd decided to come back in the evening and visit the sanctum sanctorum where the holy book "Guru Granth Saheb" is kept.

And that's the best time to see the glittering beauty of the golden temple, spectacular.



There was a queue but I had to line up hardly for 15 mins. Taking photos inside the temple is not allowed. Inside two floors of sheer brilliance, amazed to see the architecture and Sikh gurus sat on cushions chanting from sacred books. You can go up to the roof. 


Though I have seen and visited many temples, mosques, churches, and let me be honest here, I am not very religious. I must admit the Harmandir Sahib is the only place where I felt completely natural, soothing, calm, and worry-free.


I think its because of the atmosphere out there and the real idea behind building this temple is to have such feeling where everyone irrespective of religion, caste, color can come and be part of it. Inviting space for everyone, not just to sit, sleep but Golden Temple has the world's largest free kitchen, Langar.

Serving free food for 50000 people daily (In special occasion number goes up to 100,000) is no easy task. But you know why it's different and special because 90% of working staff is made up of volunteer (mostly the visitors) along with 300 permanent. Delicious food but most importantly completely hygienic.

I spent most of my time sitting by the lake on the floor and admiring the beautiful temple in front.

Overall it was a great experience, the temple lived up to the hype. Don't forget to visit the temple during sunrise & sunset



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