Today is Guru Nanak Poornima and I fondly remember my visit to the divine Golden Temple while returning from Vaishno Devi Yatra. Tired, down & out we reached Amritsar, which was way back in 1990. The day happened to be auspicious day of Guru Purab and we reached Golden Temple early morning for the holy dip. This was for the first time I had been to any Gurdwara and blessed I am that my first visit was at Golden Temple on this highly auspicious day. After the holy dip we stood in the long queue to enter sacrosanct, highly divine Golden Temple known as Harmandir Saheb, where Sikh Priests were rendering Gur Baani. It was an ultimate musical and soulful rendition. I had never experienced anything of this sort before…
…Our trip wouldn’t have been complete without eating delicious langar (food) prepared by the devotees, served by the devotees and for the devotees. Today I fondly remember my trip to Golden Temple.
The Harmandir Sahib (Punjabi: ਹਰਿਮੰਦਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ), also Darbar Sahib (Punjabi: ਦਰਬਾਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ, Punjabi pronunciation: [dəɾbɑɾ sɑhɪb]) and informally referred to as the “Golden Temple”, is a prominent Sikh gurdwara located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India. It was built by the fourth Sikh guru, Guru Ramdaas Sahib Ji, in the 16th century. In 1604, Guru Arjun completed the Adi Granth, the holy scripture of Sikhism, and installed it in the Gurdwara.
There are four doors to get into the Harmandir Sahib, which symbolize the openness of the Sikhs towards all people and religions. The present-day gurdwara was rebuilt in 1764 by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia. In the early nineteenth century, Maharaja Ranjit Singh secured the Punjab region from outside attack and covered the upper floors of the gurdwara with gold, which gives it its distinctive appearance and its English name.
The Harimandir Sahib is considered holy by Sikhs. The holiest text of Sikhism, the Guru Granth Sahib, is always present inside the gurdwara. Its construction was mainly intended to build a place of worship for men and women from all walks of life and all religions to come and worship God equally. Over 100,000 people visit the holy shrine daily for worship. The Harmandir Sahib literally means The Temple of God. The fourth guru of Sikhs, Guru Ram Das, excavated a tank in 1577 CE which subsequently became known as Amritsar (meaning “Pool of the Nectar of Immortality”, giving its name to the city that grew around it. In due course, a Sikh edifice, Sri Harmandir Sahib (meaning “the abode of God”), rose in the middle of this tank and became the supreme centre of Sikhism. Its sanctum came to house the Adi Granth comprising compositions of Sikh Gurus and other saints considered to have Sikh values and philosophies, e.g., Baba Farid and Kabir. The compilation of The Adi Granth was started by the fifth guru of Sikhism, Guru Arjan Dev Ji.
You too can plan your trip to Amritsar this winter which is mostly experienced in the months of December and January when the temperature falls to 5 degrees in the night and around 12 degrees in the morning. Golden Temple is a stunning complex with brilliant architecture and the history of state is still alive in its library and on the lips of some old priests in the temple. Most tourists visit the Golden Temple in the last week of December as they believe it is good omen to begin the New Year in Spiritual place. Another winter fair is the Ram Tirth Fair, which is celebrated at Ram Tirth temple, situated 11 Kms from Amritsar.
Not to miss the trip to Wagah Border for ‘lowering the flags’ ceremony of The Beating Retreat ceremony. Also an evening tour of the Jalianwala Bagh will refresh a lesson in history.