The Golden Temple, also referred to as Harmandir Sahib, meaning “abode of God” or Darbār Sahib (in Punjabi language), meaning “exalted court” , may be a gurdwara located within the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India. It is the preeminent spiritual site of Sikhism and is always open for all.
The gurdwara (Temple) is made around a man-made pool (sarovar) that was completed by the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das in 1577. Sai Mir Mian Mohammed, a Muslim Pir of Lahore, on the request of Guru Arjun Dev (fifth Guru) laid its foundation stone in 1589. In 1604, Guru Arjan placed a copy of the Adi Granth (Shri Guru Granth Sahib) in Harmandir Sahib. The Gurdwara was repeatedly rebuilt by the Sikhs after it became a target of persecution and was destroyed several times by the Mughal and invading Afghan armies. Maharaja Ranjit Singh (The King of Sikh Empire) , rebuilt it in marble and copper in 1809, overlaid the sanctum with foil in 1830. From then the name Golden Temple became famous.
The Golden Temple is spiritually the foremost significant shrine in Sikhism. It became a middle of the Singh Sabha Movement between 1883 and 1920s, and therefore the Punjabi Suba movement between 1947 and 1966. In the early 1980s, the Gurdwara became a middle of conflict between the Indian government led by Gandhi , some Sikh groups and a faithful movement led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. In 1984, Gandhi sent within the Indian Army as a part of Operation Amsonia tabernaemontana , resulting in deaths of over 1,000 Sikh soldiers and civilians, also as caused damage to the Gurdwara and the destroyed Akal Takht (built by Sikh Guru). The Gurdwara complex was rebuilt again after the 1984 damage.
The Golden Temple is an party of worship for all men and ladies, from all walks of life and faith. It has four entrances (a sign that anyone from any faith is welcome in it), has a circumambulation path around the pool. The complex may be a collection of buildings round the sanctum and therefore the pool. One of these is Akal Takht, the chief center of spiritual authority of Sikhism. Additional buildings include a tower, the offices of Gurdwara Committee, a Museum and a langar – a free Sikh community run kitchen that serves an easy vegetarian meal to all visitors without discrimination. Over 100,000 people (most of them are non-Sikhs) visit the holy shrine daily for worship. The Gurdwara complex has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its application is pending on the tentative list of UNESCO.
The Golden Temple’s architecture reflects different architectural practices prevalent within the Indian subcontinent, as various iterations of temple were rebuilt and restored. The Temple is described by Ian Kerr, and other scholars, as a mixture of the Indo-Islamic Mughal and the Hindu Rajput architecture.
The sanctum may be a 12.25 x 12.25 meter square with two-storeys and a foil dome. This sanctum features a marble platform that’s a 19.7 x 19.7 meter square. It sits inside an almost square (154.5 x 148.5 m2) pool called amrit-sarovar (amrit means nectar, sar is brief sort of sarovar and means pool). The pool is 5.1 metre deep and is surrounded by a 3.7 meter wide circumambulatory marble passage that’s circled clockwise. The sanctum is connected to the platform by a causeway and therefore the gateway into the causeway is named the Darshani Ḍeorhi (from Darshana Dvara). For those who wish to take a dip in the pool (separate portion for women), the Temple provides a half hexagonal shelter and holy steps to Har ki Pauri. Bathing within the pool is believed by many Sikhs to possess restorative powers, purifying one’s karma. Some carry bottles of the pool water home particularly for sick friends and relatives. The pool is maintained by volunteers who perform kar seva (community service) by draining and desilting it periodically.