Harmandir Sahib – The Golden Temple

The Golden temple in Amritsar, India is the most sacred sanctuary for the Sikhs. It is located in city of Amritsar, which was established in 1577 by guru Ram Das, the fourth guru of the Sikhs. The city is a center of the Sikh history and culture. The golden temple is built on a rectangular platform, surrounded by a pool with water.

Golden Temple Night View

Source: By ビッグアップジャパン from EARTH, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia

Golden Temple – a place for worship

The construction of the Golden Temple, also known as Harmandir Sahib, is provoked by the idea to be built a place for worship, where men and women from all classes and religions can be in front of God equally. In order to be established the purity of his purpose and to prove his sincerity, Guru Aryan especially invited the Muslim Sufic saint Hazrat Mian Mir to put the main stone of the Golden temple. The four entrances (which represent the four directions of the world), through which is entered in Harmandir Sahib, also symbolize the openness of the Sikhs towards all people and religions. Over100 000 people visit daily the sanctuary for worship and also participate jointly in the preparing of free food for everyone, notwithstanding from class and religious differences.

The story narrates that guru Amar Das ordered guru Ram Das to dig a rectangular well, which to serve as worship for the Sikh religion. Guru Ram Das instructs all Sikhs to join the work, as he assigns everything to Bhaha Buddha. This well must be a home of God and everyone, who bathes in it should receive all spiritual and time advantages. This well bears the name “Amrita Sarovar” or the “Well of the nectar”.

In 1578 guru Ram Das dug the well, which subsequently became known as Amritsar and which gave its name to the city, which expanded around it. In the final reckoning the Golden temple is built namely in the middle of this rectangular well and has transformed into a supreme center of Sikhism. Its sanctuary has sheltered Adi Grant and other saints, about which is reckoned that they follow the values and the philosophies of Sikh, as for example Baba Farid and Kabir. Nowadays around the well are situated offices, warehouses, a dining-room, a kitchen, a guest house and observation towers.

Hamandir Sahib - Golden Temple

Source: By Oleg Yunakov, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia

Initially the idea to be established a sacred place for worship of the Sikhs was to Guru Aryan. The land for the Golden temple is acquired earlier by guru Sahibi against remuneration. Simultaneously with this was elaborated and a plan for building of a city settlement, as the construction of the reservoir and the city began simultaneously in 1570. The work on the two projects was finished in 1577.

Let us examine the architecture of the Golden temple, which is a mixture of a Hindu and Muslim styles. The complex has at its disposal four entrances, as this is a symbol of the openness of the Sikhism. The idea of these four entrances is to be shown, that the followers of all religions are permitted inside. At the North entrance is situated the famous Clock tower, and to the West entrance – the tower-like building Ahal Takht, which serves for a headquarters of the Supreme council of the Sikhs.

The Golden temple is a marble building, to which is reached on a path, known as Bridge Guru. In its today’s appearance the three-floor marble temple dates from XVIII century. The reason for its new appearance is a heavy destruction on behalf of the Afghans. Therefore the nowadays architecture of the Golden temple is subordinated on the late Mongolian architecture. Colonnades, peaked towers, niches, balconies and railings are exclusively characteristic for the mosques and palaces of that time.

The top floor of the Golden temple is gilded and finishes with a 100 kilogram golden cupola with the shape of a turned lotus, by which is symbolized the concern of the Sikhs towards the problems of this world. The first beams of dawn pour the temple and create heavenly atmosphere of the complex. The sunset of the sun bathes the Golden temple and offers magnificent and fascinating views.

The exterior of the Golden temple is with gilt of the upper two levels, and the interior is decorated with incrusted marble, wood carving, mosaics out of ivory, embossed gold, frescos and embossed gold and silver.