The splendor and magnificence of this unique world of icons has to be witnessed in person. And a trip to Amritsar to see the Golden Temple is an experience that should not be missed.
The Golden Temple is located in the state of Punjab, India. This shrine is at the center of the Sikh religion and for them it represents the start and end of the cycle of life. Pilgrims and visitors from around the globe come to visit on a yearly basis and even for those of other religions, the spiritual symbolism of the temple will surely be a sight of amazement and wonder.
Construction of the Golden Temple began in 1574. In 1601, when it was supposedly completed, further efforts went into embellishing its interior and exterior. The Golden Temple became known as the Harmandir Sahib in March of 2005, but the story began four centuries ago. It was then that the third Sikh Guru named Amar Das asked Guru Ram Das to build a place of prayer for the ongregation.
In an effort to make the Golden Temple symbolic of their beliefs, several philosophies were put into action. The main structure was erected with four entrances which was done in order to show that that there’s no difference between classes. People are now allowed to enter the Golden Temple and bow in the direction they wish.
The temple’s kitchen was made large enough to accommodate a number of cooks who prepare thousands of meals a day. It’s very symbolic of Sikhism’s ideas about service. And in the dining room, everyone sits on the floor because everyone is believed to be equal.
The area’s gastronomy consists mainly of vegetarian and dairy products. Amritsan River fish is a favorite and found in most restaurants. The meals that are served in the Golden Temple, however, are vegetarian in nature including lentils and rice.
The Golden Temple is regarded as the best decorated shrine in the world. To enter, one must step down. The building itself sits beneath the level of the surrounding area. This main section rises out of the center of the lagoon. The waters are regarded as sacred. In the interior visitors can see the ornamental canopy where the Holy Book is stored in the daytime. It’s moved every evening to the Akal Takht, also known as the eternal throne.
The first floor will leave you gasping for air. It’s so beautiful you’ll understand why it took so long to complete. A small salon is decorated with opulent mirrors that cover the walls and ceiling.
The shrine is communicated to other structures by a marble walkway. At the end of the walkway sits the Akal Takht. It’s here where the soldiers came to pray before war.
Getting to the Golden Temple is easy. The Amritsar International Airport has connecting flights to major cities in India.
A trip to this fabulous destination is also about superb shopping where markets boast fantastic buys in carpets, embroideries and more. Once you visit, you’ll realize why it’s one of the world’s most impressive sites.