Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Golden Temple, Amritsar, Punjab

The Golden Temple, also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib or Sri Darbar Sahib in Amritsar (about 450 kms from Delhi) is amongst the most significant shrine of Sikhs.

While the origin of the site dates back to the third Guru - Sri Guru Amar Das Ji, the excavation work for the water tank was carried out by the fourth Guru - Sri Guru Ram Das Ji in 1577 AD. The township around the water tank became known as Amritsar (from Amrit Sarovar or Pool of the nectar of immortality).

The temple itself was conceived and built during the fifth Guru, Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji. Guru Arjan Sahib got its foundation laid by Hazrat Mian Mir Ji of Lahore in December 1588. The building work completed in 1604, and Guru Arjan Dev installed the Guru Granth Sahib Ji in Sri Harmandir Sahib and appointed Baba Budhaji as its first Granthi.

Golden Temple has gates/ entrance on all four sides which signifies accessibility to any person without any distinction of caste, creed, sex or religion. Sri Harmandir Sahib is built on a square platform (67ft by 67ft) in the centre of the Sarovar.

Facing Sri Harmandir Sahib, in the Golden Temple Complex is Akal Takht (Akal means the Timeless One, and Takht means 'seat')– built by the sixth Guru, Sri Guru Hargobind in 1609. Sikh congregations in those days were held at the Akal Takht and the commandments for the community were and are still issued from here.