Harmandir Sahib Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab

Asia | | February 3, 2011 at 3:36 am




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Harmandir Sahib, the official name for the Golden Temple, changed in 2005, is the chief holy centre for Sikhs. Rightly, the previous name of the holy tomb was given after the upper part of the temple structure wrapped in pure gold foil. The magnificent structure of the shrine is as mystic as the religious values and faith stories attached to the Golden Gurudwara, as it also known.

Not just a holy place but Harmandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib is a tourist attraction for people all over the world. The structure of the religious tomb has been constructed a number of times over the ages. The temple was built by Guru Arjan Singh, the fifth Sikh Guru. History depicts that the temple had been targeted many times for religious wars and had been crushed to the ground but was built even more beautifully and with more effort and faith every time.

Even in modern times the shrine suffered a really tragic fate in 1984 during Operation Blue Star. The temple housed many militants and the central government and army had to intrude the temple to get hold of the militants and an unwanted and tragic fire weapon war broke out inside the shrine complex. Faiths of millions of Sikhs were hurt. Later the government apologized for the sad incident.

History Of Harmandir Sahib Golden Temple

Harmandir Sahib Golden Temple stands on the holy land in Amritsar amidst the Amrit Kund, the lake. The plot of  land was given to the Sikh Guru by the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Ironically, Emperor Akbar’s descendants gave the Sikhs hard times and heavy blows to their holiest shrine.

The popular Sufi Sant from Lahore and a good friend of Guru Arjan Dev, Hazrat Mian Mir laid down the inaugural foundation stone for Harmandir Sahib in 1588AD. After the completion of the building construction Arjan Dev appointed Baba Buddha Ji as the first Granthi (reader) for Sri Guru Granth at Harmandir Sahib in 1604 AD.

The temple had always been a target to attack the Sikh community since ages dating back to its very existence. Harmandir Sahib Golden Temple has suffered many bruises both physically to the magnificent structure and the faith as well.

Massa Ranghar, the Kotwal of Amritsar, converted the temple into a “Notch Mahal” in 1740. The Sikh warriors created a legend and set the first example before the world on how the Sikhs cannot tolerate an insult. Two Sikh warriors killed Massa Ranghar by beheading him inside Harmandir Sahib.

The repeated attacks of Ahmed Shah Abdali in 1757, 1762, 1764, and 1767 left Harmandir Sahib devastated. However, every time the brave Sikh community and its warriors fought back for the honor of their holiest shrine.

Finally with the interference of the British in India in the Golden temple affairs again raised the Sikh community to fight for their sacred and beloved Golden Gurudwara.

Golden Gurudwara has passed a lot of tragic phases. But has always survived and retrieved from those phases resplendently.

Guru Granth Sahib

The teachings and preaching of all the ten Gurus of Sikhism are scripted in the Guru Granth Sahib. Dating back from the Guru Nanak, the Father of Sikhism, then Guru Angad, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan, Guru Hargobind, Guru Har Rai, Guru Har Krishan, Guru Tegh Bahadur, and Guru Gobind Singh, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, as the Guru Granth is also known as, has it all treasured in it. In fact the Guru Granth is being considered and honored as the 11th Guru of the Sikhs and will remain so till eternity.

Architecture

Harmandir Sahib Golden Temple is a perfect blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture at their best. The lake, between which the Golden temple stands, Amrit Kund, is endowed with its water supply from underground springs. Pilgrims and tourists from all caste, faith, and nation can take a dip in the Amrit Kund as a sign of purification of soul and mind.

The exclusive marble and gold works of the temple date back to early 19th century. Hukam Singh Chimni and Maharaja Ranjit Singh did the most for the present structure of the Golden Temple.

Darshani Deorhi arch stands 202ft tall and 21ft wide. The marvelous gold plating work was initiated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh and was completed in 1803AD. Sher-E-Punjab donated most amount of the wealth in building the temple and is remembered with honor and affection by the people.

Inside the shrine, on a jewel engraved podium rests Shri Guru Granth. Beside the temple there are Langar khana, where people of all origins can stay and eat for free.

See Around

Hari Mandir or Darbar Sahib is the main building of the shrine, wonderfully enveloped in gold plating. The incredible marble works of early 19thcentury are worth admiration. The precious jewels decorated in classic Islamic floral style, and the holy verses from the Guru Granth Sahib crafted all over the Hari Mandir takes it to a different level.

Amrit Kund or Amrit Sarovar (Pool of Nectar) features crystal water for the visitors to take a dip as a sign of liberation from their sins and purification of the souls. Circumambulation of Hari Mandir is the Parikrama, which goes in a clock-wise direction leading to the Guru’s Bridge, which is the marble ramp to the enchanting silver doors of Darshani Deorih. .

At the Langar khana (dining hall), thousands of people are served food for free and even people can join in the preparation of the food, irrespective of faith and caste origins. At the guest quarters of the Langar khana there are about 400 rooms to avail for free of cost and many other rooms for international Sikh visitors available for a nominal fee.

Galleries at Central Sikh Museum near the main entrance is all endowed with pictures of Sikh Gurus, saints, and other warriors of the community who laid down their lives fighting for the honor of the faith and the shrine. It also has the stories and graphic sketches of the torture and hard times that the Gurus faced. It is a must visit for all, more for getting the historical facts right.

Hukamnama

The word Hukamnama literally means the letter of order issued. In this case the words of the Sikh Gurus to follow the code of conduct are called Hukamnama. In modern times the Shabd or the hymns of the day read at Harmandir Sahib Golden Temple is known as the daily Hukamnama. To get the daily Hukamnama please log into www.sgpc.net/hukumnama

Festivities

Harmandir Sahib’s rituals in themselves are a big festival every night while shutting down the temple premises. Shri Guru Granth Sahib is taken to Akal Takht for resting every night. The procession in which Shri Guru Granth Sahib is taken to Akal Takht is called Palki Sahib. All the men form a proper queue and shoulder the Palki and pass it on to the next one and Shri Guru Granth Sahib is reached to its Akal Takht.

For other details of other ceremonies and festivities please log into the official website of Harmandir Sahib Golden Temple.

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