: Amritsar in the north Indian state of Punjab.
Time : Any time of the year.
Significance : The Pilgrimage Centre.
The Golden Temple, also known as the Hari Mandir Sahib is a living symbol
of the spiritual and historical traditions of the Sikhs. Golden Temple, on
account of its scenic beauty and golden coating for English speaking world,
has been a source of inspiration to the Sikh community ever since its
foundation. It is evident from the Sikh chronicles that the Gurus exhorted
their followers to accept all Sikh centers as places of pilgrimage. As Sri
Hari Mandir Sahib was the first prime holy shrine, it became, as the center
of inspiration and action and the most significant achievement of the Gurus,
the chief place of pilgrimage for the Sikhs. The Sikhs all over the world,
daily wish to pay visit to Sri Amritsar and to pay obeisance at Sri
Harmandir Sahib in their Ardas.
Guru Arjan Sahib, the Vth Guru, conceived the idea of creating a central
place of worship for the Sikhs and he himself designed the architecture of
Sri Harmandir Sahib. Earlier the planning to excavate the holy tank
(Amritsar or Amrit Sarovar ) was chalked out by Guru Amardas Sahib, the
Third Nanak, but it was executed by Guru Ramdas Sahib under the supervision
of Baba Budha ji. The land for the site was acquired by the earlier Guru
Sahibs on payment or free of cost from the Zamindars (landlords) of native
villages. The plan to establish a town settlement was also made. Therefore,
the construction work on the Sarovar(the tank) and the town started
simultaneously in 1570. The work on both projects completed in 1577 A.D.
Guru Arjan Sahib got its foundation laid by a muslim saint Hazrat Mian Mir
ji of Lahore on 1st of Magh, 1644 Bikrmi Samvat(December,1588). The
construction work was directly supervised by Guru Arjan Sahib himself and he
was assisted by the prominent Sikh personalities like Baba Budha ji, Bhai
Gurdas ji, Bhai Sahlo ji and many other devoted Sikhs.
compared to erecting the structure on the higher level (a tradition in Hindu
Temple architecture), Guru Arjan Sahib got it built on the lower level and
unlike Hindu Temples having only one gate for the entrance and exit, Guru
Sahib got it open from four sides. Thus he created a symbol of new faith,
Sikhism. Guru Sahib made it accessible to every person without any
distinction of caste, creed, sex and religion.
The construction work completed in 1601 A.D. on Bhadoon Sudi 1st, 1661
Bikrmi Samvat (August/September,1604). Guru Arjan Sahib installed newly
created Guru Granth Sahib, in Sri Harmandir Sahib and appointed Baba Budha
ji as its first Granthi i.e. the reader of Guru Granth Sahib. After this
event it attained the status of Ath Sath Tirath. Now the Sikh
Nation had their own Tirath, a pilgrimage center
The architecture of the Golden Temple represents a unique harmony between
the Muslims and the Hindus way of construction work and this is considered
the best architectural specimens of the world. It is often quoted that this
architecture has created an independent Sikh school of architecture in the
history of art in India.
Reaching Amritsar, the city of Golden Temple -
Air : The Rajasansi airport at Amritsar is well linked by flights
from all over India. Recently, it was elevated to an international airport.
Rail : There are direct links from Delhi to Amritsar by train. It is
an 8-10-hour journey.
Road : Buses also ply regularly between the two cities.