THE GOLDEN TEMPLE
The city of Amritsar was founded, when in 1577 Guru Ramdass started digging of the holy Sarovar – ‘pool of nectar’. This Sarovar was completed by guru arjan Dev, who constructed the Harmandir sahib – Golden temple – in it’s middle. The holy Granth or the Guru Granth sahib was finally installed here in the year 1604. Guru Hargobind established the temporal authority in the Akal Takht, to protect & serve the Harmandir sahib.
The foundation of the mandir was itself got laid from two Moslem holy men – the Mian Mir of Lahore on the 28th December 1588. It took about 10 years to complete the golden temple & thereafter became a venue of daily religious discourse. On installation of the holy Granth, Baba Buddha was appointed the first officinal. The routine & liturgy set by Guru Arjan Dev is still carried on without much change. Kirtan or the recitation of the holy Granth begins between 2 & 3:00am & continues till 10:00pm. The holy book is then taken, in a golden Palkhi (palanquin), in a procession to a room in the Akal Bunga for rest & is brought back again, each morning at 5am, in like fashion. This is so as in Sikhism, the holy Granth is considered the Guru, as ordained by the 10th Guru Gobind Singh – ” Sab Sikhan ko hukam hai, Guru manyo Granth”.
Religious significance aprt, the architectural design & beauty of the Golden Temple, has it’s own attraction. A bridge reaches the Golden Temple standing in the middle of the sarovar & on a high plinth. Four doors opening on each side signifies free access to all, irrespective of his caste or creed. The beauty of it’s interior is breathtaking, intricate floral patterns embossed on metal and filigree work on the walls & ceiling. However, the present build & beauty is not entirely original. The present appearance dates back to the rein of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
The Golden Temple has had its share of persecution & the Sikhs had a price on their heads. Nadir Shah & Ahmed Shah Abdali desecrated the Temple in the 17th century, blowing it up with gunpowder & defiling it by slaughtering cows, on the parikrama & filling the sarovar with the dead carcasses. It was, however, reconstructed by Dal Khalsa in 1776 & as already mentioned was given it’s pristine shape in the Sikh rule of Ranjeet Singh.
As against the sacerdotal significance of Harmandir sahib, Sri Akal Takht sahib embodies the highest temporal authority of Sikhism. Guru Hargobind founded Sri Akal Takht on 15th June 1606. As time went by, the Sikhs, to counter the repression unleashed by the Moslem zealots, imbibed the spirit of aggression & gradually the Gurus acquired the status of ‘Sache Padishah” – The true sovereign. Therefore, Akal Takht took the symbolic shape of a Timeless Throne. On the occasion of Baisakhi & Diwali, Sikh congregations were held at Sri akal Takht & resolutions were deliberated & passed, concerning the general well being of the community. These congregations are called the sarbat khalsa. Even today the supremacy of Akal Takht as the final arbiter in matters of religious & moral discipline continues to be acknowledged.
Hotels in Amritsar
- Ranjit Svaasa
- Ista Amritasar
- Country Suites & Inn
- Hotel Astoria
- Mohan International