There are plenty of tourist spots in this world that have something unique to offer. Golden Temple or the Harmandir Sahib Amritsar is one such place. It is indeed the most popular tourist spot in Punjab, India and a proud symbol of Indian culture. This gilded temple which is also known as the "Temple of God" or the "Pride of Punjab" has its own special significance. There are many hidden secrets about this beautiful and majestic place that you may not know. In case you are planning your next trip to Amritsar, here’s everything you need to know about the Golden Temple before you go!
Who built the Golden Temple and when?
The Golden Temple is one of the most sacred and holy places in Sikhism. It is also known as Harmandir Sahib. It was built by the fourth guru of Sikhism, Guru Ramdas Ji in 1577.
The Golden Temple is a beautiful building with gold plating on it that shines at night. It has four entrances and a central hall with an open square inside it. The temple has a pool inside called Amrit Sarovar or Pool of Nectar which is used for ceremonial purposes of Sikhs like baptism or to cleanse oneself before entering the temple.
Why is the Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar called ‘Golden Temple’?
The Golden Temple is a beautiful landmark representing the Sikh culture. It houses the ‘Sarovar’ or the ‘Pool of Nectar’ where people take a dip before entering the Temple. Apart from that, the Temple is gilded with gold and precious stones. It also has beautiful paintings and wall-decorations. When the Temple was rebuilt by Maharaja Ranjit Singh During the construction, the entire Temple was covered with gold. As a result, it came to be known as the Golden Temple.
Important things to know about the Golden Temple before you go!
You should cover your head with cloth and remove your shoes before entering the temple. They provide free show housing rooms and cloth for your head near the entrance.
This is perhaps the most famous Temple in India and is a must-visit for every tourist. If you are visiting the Temple with your family and children, make sure you visit the ‘Guru-Ka-Langar’. This is a place where everyone can enjoy the experience of a delicious, langar meal and get a glimpse of the Indian hospitality.
Tips for Sightseeing at the Golden Temple
- You must visit the Golden Temple at least once in your lifetime. If you are planning a trip to Amritsar, this should be the first thing on your list. - Make sure you go there early in the morning. This is the best time for photography and you will also avoid the crowds. - Carry water, to sustain you through the day. - Wear comfortable clothes. - Keep your camera and mobile phone handy. - Visit the ‘Sarovar’ or the Pool of Nectar first. Next, visit the Temple and lastly, go to the ‘Guru-Ka-Langar’. - Do visit the Temple during the Amrit-Holi Festival to witness the Festival of Colours.
What does a typical visit to the Harmandir Sahib look like?
A typical visit to the Temple starts with taking a dip in the ‘Sarovar’ or the Pool of Nectar to cleanse your soul. Once your soul is cleansed, you can enter the Temple. While the Temple is open 24/7, you can visit the Temple only during the day. When you enter the Temple, the first stop should be the ‘Golden Temple’. Thereafter, you can go to the ‘Gurdwara’ or the Temple where you can witness the daily prayer ceremony. Lastly, you can visit the ‘Guru-Ka-Langar’ or the community kitchen where you can enjoy a delicious, free meal.
How to get to the Golden Temple?
If you are in Amritsar, you can get there by foot or auto-rickshaw. If you are in another city, you can hire a taxi or take an Air-conditioned bus from the bus stand. If you are in a group and have ample time on your hands, you can go by bus. Buses are usually available from the railway station/bus stand. If you are in a hurry, you can take a taxi. The taxi stand is right outside the railway station/bus stand.
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