Amritsar - Golden temple
This is the holiest temple of the Sikh religion. The Sikhs refer to this temple as Hari Mandir (“the Temple of the Lord”), or Darbar Sahib (“the Court of the Lord”). It is located in the middle of a large tank known as Amrita Sarovara, “Pool of Nectar.” The temple dome was covered with 100 kg (220 lb) of gold leaf, giving the temple its name.
The temple’s interior is elaborately decorated. Guru Ram Das, the fourth of the ten gurus of the Sikh religion, established the tank in 1577. His son, the fifth guru, Arjun Dev, built a temple in the middle of the tank, purified its waters, and installed the Granth Sahib, the Sikhs’ Holy Scripture, here in the late 16th century. The Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) rebuilt the present temple in 1803.
Most visitors to the Golden Temple, whether Sikh or not, are humbled by what is quite simply the most tangibly spiritual place in the country. Arrive with a few good hours set aside and get lost in its magical beauty.
Visitors must leave their shoes at the facility near the entrance, cover their head (bandanas are provided, or you can buy a souvenir bandana from a vendor), and wash their feet by wading through the shallow pool before entering.
The most famous and sacred part of the Golden Temple complex is the Hari Mandir (Divine Temple) or Darbar Sahib (Court of the Lord), which is the beautiful golden structure at the center of a large body of water.
The gold-plated building features copper cupolas and white marble walls encrusted with precious stones arranged in decorative Islamic-style floral patterns. The structure is decorated inside and out with verses from the Granth Sahib (the Sikh holy book). The water that surrounds the Hari Mandir is a sacred pool known as the Amrit Sarovar (Pool of Nectar).
The temple is reached by following the Parikrama, which circumscribes the sacred pool in a clockwise direction. Connecting the pathway with the Hari Mandir is a marble causeway called the Guru's Bridge, which symbolizes the journey of the soul after death. The gateway to the bridge, the Darshani Deorhi, has magnificent silver doors.