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Hari Mandir Sahib - The Golden Temple - Darbar Sahib, Amritsar

Jun 1, 2004
Most people have heard about the Golden Temple, famous for it's beautiful architectures and dazzling combination of golden domes and pure white marble, so clean you can eat off it. All visitors to the shrine be they pilgrim, passer by or queries tourist are all equally stunned by the soothing peace and heavenly sounds of the Temple, in comparison to the loud hustle and bustle of streets and walkways outside. However the Golden Temple which was started by the 4th Guru, Guru Ram Das Ji and completed by Guru Arjun Dev Ji the 5th Guru holds other unique and marvelous attributes which first don't meet the eye. A few of which are listed below.

The site where the Temple now stands has been regarded as a mystical and divine place years before its construction. Holy people are said to have performed spiritual devotion on the special site for ages. Guru Nanak visited the site where the Temple now stands when the seeds of the Sikh faith were being laid, and the site was then a jungle scrubland.

The Golden Temple being the center of the Sikh religion had its foundation stone laid at the request of the 5th Sikh Guru by a Muslim Saint called Mian Mir. Hence it's the only special place of one religion where a person from another faith has been given the supreme privilege of laying the founding stone. As the Guru's have revealed all people regardless of creed, gender etc are equals.

The Golden Temple has four entrances in the North, East, South and West. This symbolizes how all people from all four corners of the earth are welcome and free to enter. Hence unlike Mecca and other religious places different people are present in the Golden Temple without any restrictions. I don't no of any other place on Earth where at least 35% of the pilgrims are from other faiths and regarded as equals.

The stairs entering the Temple go down, rather then up like traditional holy places. This is designed to bring a sense of humbleness rather then haughtiness to people lucky enough to visit it. The whole temple complex itself is purposely built on a lower level to the rest of the city.

Attached to the golden Temple as in all Sikh Gurdwara's is the Langer hall, where all people regardless of faith, gender, status etc all sit together in straight rows to eat the same simple foods free of charge. The Langer at the Golden temple serves around 70.000 meals in this unique way 24 hours a day, with numbers reaching 200.000 on special religious days. All the food is brought by donations and prepared and distributed by volunteers doing sewa, (selfless service).

The Temple itself in beautifully decorated with gold and has some of the best Mughal and Indian architecture in the World, as well as hand painted mosaics and patterns. The Temple complex floor is built in beautiful pure marble, with the Golden Temple sitting in the middle of a striking man made lake.

Built directly opposite the Golden Temple in the complex is the Akal Taskt (the parliament of the Sikh's). This was constructed purposely by the 6th Guru, Guru HarGobind Ji directly opposite the celestial Golden Temple. By doing so it symbolizes how in Sikhism spiritualism and political freedom and sovereignty go hand in hand. Hence the Golden Temple complex has been the scene of political agitations by Sikh's against tyrannical and fanatical rulers as in the period of Mughal and British rule, and most recently against the Indian government.

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