Saturday, 15 December 2012

The World Famous Golden Temple Amritsar | Sikh Gurdwara

The World Famous Golden Temple Amritsar

Golden Temple

Amritsar, literally a Pool of Nectar, derives its name from Amrit Sarovar, the holy tank that surrounds the splendid Golden Temple. Guru Ramdas, the fourth Guru of the Sikh faith, founded Amritsar in 1579. He constructed a pool on land gifted by the Mughal Emperor Akbar and called it Amritsar.

Home to the world famous Golden Temple, the 400-year-old city of Amritsar is the most important seat of Sikh history and culture.

One of the most poignant memorials of free India -- Jallianwala Bagh – is also located in the city. Amritsar district was once a part of the vast area covered by the Indus valley Civilisation during the early period of history.


History of The Golden Temple, Amritsar

Amritsar Golden Temple

History of Sachkhand Sri Harmandir Sahib

Sri Harmandir Sahib, also known as Sri Darbar Sahib or Golden Temple, (on account of its scenic beauty and golden coating for English speaking world), is named after Hari(God) the temple of God. 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 Fifth Nanak, 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, 1645 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.

Unlike 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 building 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

Sri Harmandir Sahib, is built on a 67ft. square platform in the centre of the Sarovar(tank). The temple itself is 40.5ft. square. It has a door each on the East, West, North and South. The Darshani Deori (an arch) stands at the shore end of the causeway. The door frame of the arch is about 10ft in height and 8ft 6inches in breath. The door panes are decorated with artistic style. It opens on to the causeway or bridge that leads to the main building of Sri Harmandir Sahib. It is 202 feet in length and 21 feet in width.

The bridge is connected with the 13 feet wide ‘Pardakshna’ (circumambulatory path). It runs round the main shrine and it leads to the ‘Har ki Paure’ (steps of God). On the first floor of ‘Har ki Paure’, there is continuous reading of Guru Granth Sahib.

The main structure of Sri Harmandir Sahib, functionally as well as technically is a three-storied one. The front, which faces the bridge, is decorated with repeated cusped arches and the roof of the first floor is at the height of the 26 feet and 9 inches.

At the top of the first floor 4 feet high parapet rises on all the sides which has also four ‘Mamtees’ on the four corners and exactly on the top of the central hall of the main sanctuary rises the third story. It is a small square room and have three gates. A regular recitation of Guru Granth Sahib is also held there.

On the top of this room stands the low fluted ‘Gumbaz’(dome) having lotus petal motif in relief at the base inverted lotus at the top which supports the ‘Kalash’ having a beautiful ‘Chhatri’ at the end.

Its architecture 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.

How to reach there:

Golden Temple Amritsar

The Rajasansi airport, about 11 km from city centre, is connected by domestic flights to Delhi, Srinagar and Chandigarh.

Amritsar is connected by rail with major cities in India.

Amritsar is connected by bus with:

    Agra 643 km
    Chandigarh 235 km
    Delhi 435 km
    Ferozpur 160 km
    Jalandhar 80 km
    Jammu 219 km
    Kolkata 1850 km
    Kullu 389 km
    Ludhiana 137 km
    Pathankot 111 km
    Srinagar 515 km
    Wagah Border 29 km

Accommodations in The Golden Temple Amritsar / Sri Harmandir Sahib Amritsar

There are seven Niwas Asthans (inns) which provide lodging facilities for pilgrims, maintained by Sri Harimandir Sahib authorities. The reception counters work round the clock to attend to the devotees.

Guru Ramdas Niwas

Also called Sri Guru Ram Das Sarai, was built in 1931. This project was initiated by the Local Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee Amritsar and its foundation stone was laid by Sant Sadhu Singh ji of Patiala on 17th January 1931. This building has 228 rooms and 18 halls spread over 2 stories, with modern sanitation and other amenities.

Guru Nanak Niwas
This building houses offices of the different departments of SGPC and also lodging facilities for pilgrims.

Guru Arjan Dev Niwas

This building is situated at the entrance to the main sarai area. It houses a branch of Punjab & Sind Bank, a post office. The main booking counter for all accommodations is situated here.

New Akal Rest House

This building is situated behind Guru Arjan Dev Niwas. It houses 49 rooms, out of which 5 rooms with 25 beds for Foreign tourists.

Guru Hargobind Nawas
This building is situated near Gurdawara Baba Atal Rai Sahib. Sri Guru Ramdas Library is situated in its basement.

Mata Ganga Ji Niwas
This stands exactly opposite to Guru Hargobind Niwas. It also houses INTERNET DEPARTMENT of SGPC.

Guru Gobind Singh NRI Yatra Niwas
It houses 66 rooms for NRI/Foreign tourists.

Note : The booking office for all accommodations is situated in Sri Guru Arjan Dev Niwas. Information regarding booking may be obtained from Tel: 91-183-2553957, 58, 59 PBX : 219, 310, 417, 424, 425



Ranjeet Avenue,
Tel: 0183 2504610-11, Fax: 2507910.
Mohan International Hotel****,
Albert Road,
Tel: 0183 3010100, 2227801-5, Fax: 2226520,

Hotel Ritz Plaza***,
45, The Mall,
Tel: 0183 2562836-9, 2566818-9,
2560024/5, Fax: 2226657,

Royal Castle ***,
309, Albert Road,
Tel: 0183 2225562-64, Fax: 5005204,

Sights to See

Golden Temple
Also known as Harmandir or Darbar Sahib, the temple is a white and gold majestic building, the foundation of which was laid by the Muslim saint, Mian Mir, an admirer and friend of Guru Arjun. The Mandir is built on a 67-ft square of marble and is a two storied structure. The top structure of the temple is covered with pure gold leaf, hence, the popular name, Golden Temple. Inside the temple lies the holy book of the Sikhs - the Granth Sahib.

Durgiana Temple
A Durga Temple near the Golden temple founded by one of the greatest reformers and political leaders of resurgent India, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya.

Akal Takht
Adjacent to the Golden Temple, Akal Takht, the supreme seat of Sikh religious authority was established by the sixth Sikh guru, Guru Hargobind (1606-1645). The Akal Takht also houses the ancient weapons used by the Sikh warriors.

Baba Atal Rai Tower
This octagonal, nine-storeyed tower located south of the Golden temple, represents the nine years of life of Atal Rai, son of the sixth Guru Hargobindji. The inner walls are decorated with frescoes on the life of Guru Nanak. The Adi Granth is enshrined within.

Central Sikh Musuem
The museum located atop the Tower of Baba Atal houses some fine old paintings of battles fought by the Sikhs, old manuscripts, coins and weapons.

Jallianwala Bagh
Among the most poignant memorials of free India is Amritsar's Jallianwala Bagh. On April 13, 1919, British General O'Dyer opened fire on a group of people attending a peaceful freedom movement meeting being held here, which took the lives of about 2,000 innocent men, women and children.

Rambagh Gardens
Outside the old walled city are the Rambagh Gardens, which surround Maharaja Ranjit Singh's summer palace, now a museum. On display are weapons dating back to Mughal times, portraits of ruling houses of Punjab and a replica of the diamond Kohinoor.

Short Details :

Altitude :
760 feet

Temperature :
Summer: 42 – 23 C
Winter: 24 - 1 C

Rainfall :
59.2 cm

STD Code:

Tourism Centre:
Punjab Tourist Information Centre, Outgate Railway Station, Amritsar.
Tel: 0183 2402452.

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