Golden Temple – Golden Glory

Harmandir Sahib - Golden Temple

In the small town of Amritsar in Punjab, India, in the midst of all the chaos, lies an oasis of calm and serenity, a golden oasis called Harmandir Sahib (meaning the house of God), better known as the Golden Temple. This Sikh temple (Gurdwara) is a famous and monumental center for Sikhism, the religion I was born into.

Side view

Let’s start with a brief history. Sikhism was founded in the 16th century in the region of Punjab by Guru Nanak (the first of 10 Gurus, i.e., teachers), on the basis of truth, equality, charity, of trying to rid caste, creed and gender-based discriminations, and on the belief that there is only one God (Ek Onkar). Believers of Sikhism are known as Sikhs (meaning students).

At first glance Inside the Gurdwara, a frame of Guru Nanak

In 1604, the 5th Guru, Guru Arjan built the Harmandir Sahib and upon compilation and completion of the Adi Granth (Sikhism’s Holy Scripture) had it placed there. Before that, the large water tank had been built by the 4th Guru, Guru Ram Das and the name, Amritsar, which means sacred pool of nectar (believers drink this water and take a dip in it for blessings) shortly followed. Soon the entire city itself became known as Amritsar. The upper floors of the Gurdwara were later covered with gold by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Long queues leading into the Gurdwara

The Golden Temple has four doors, signifying that it welcomes and is open to people from all walks of life, regardless of religion, color or caste. The Langar (free kitchen) is a common area where food is cooked and served free to all visitors who sit on the floor side by side, no matter their religion or background. This further demonstrates the equality and openness of Sikhism.

Large pious pool surrounding the Gurdwara

I’m not a very religious person but my family is, and I can already picture my mom’s proud smile over this article. I’ve always believed that kindness, compassion and honesty are the true mark of a person; you could say sincerity is my preferred religion.

This one's for you mom!

This one’s for you mom!

However, after taking photos, visiting the temple inside, relishing in my Parshad (a sweet offering given to all visitors at every Gurdwara) and walking through the crowds, I did manage to find a little peace. I seated myself on the marbled floor at a corner outside the main Gurdwara, forgot about all the picture-taking, left my thoughts and worries for a while, listened to the sound of the hymns (Shabads) being sung and that’s when I started to feel a therapeutic calm. I went there the night before and it was even more peaceful and tranquil then.

At night Worshippers

I don’t think a hundred pictures could capture the chaos of Amritsar. And I don’t think a hundred pictures could show the beauty and express the serenity of the Golden Temple.

My adorable niece paying her respects

My adorable niece paying her respects

Also:

Next to the Golden Temple is a garden called Jallianwala Bagh, which is a memorial and the site of the 1919 massacre, where there were over 1,000 casualties. During the British rule over India, upon order of the General Dyer, armed soldiers open fired at a crowd of 20,000 people during a peaceful gathering to celebrate the Punjabi New Year on April 13th. Till this day you can still see the bullet marks inside the grounds. Thinking about this has made me type much vigorously, so moving on.

Nearby memorial at Jallianwala Bagh The infamous wellDemonstration of the attacking soldiers Indian soldier at Wagah border

While in Amritsar, I also visited the Wagah border (India-Pakistan border) and viewed their daily evening ritual where after a short march by soldiers of both sides, the flags of India and Pakistan are lowered in a well-rehearsed, coordinated manner.

Captures from my auto-rickshaw ride:

City streets My auto-rickshaw ride

Have you visited the Golden Temple? Or, would you love to someday?

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, but as always, all opinions are always my own.

Comments: 23

  1. inkmytravel May 4 at 3:25 pm Reply

    Lovely post Nita…
    Amritsar is an amazing place , rightly as you have expressed in your travelogue a great concoction of chaos and peace…..And the kind of divinity that one experiences in the golden temple is difficult to put into words….

    InkMyTravel

    • Nita May 5 at 2:07 am Reply

      Glad you enjoyed reading it. Thank you so much :)

  2. Desi Traveler May 10 at 6:29 pm Reply

    Beautiful post. Harmandir Sahib is such a wonderful place as you rightly said. I have fond memories of visiting Harmandir Sahib. Thanks

    • Nita May 10 at 7:33 pm Reply

      Thanks :) That is lovely to hear. Appreciate your comment!

  3. Andy May 15 at 1:57 pm Reply

    Nita, you did a really great job integrating lessons into your post. I did not know much about the Sikh religion, but I have always been interested in learning about it. I know have reason to explore it a little bit more. I enjoyed reading, thanks for sharing your experience!

    • Nita May 15 at 3:19 pm Reply

      Thanks so much for your comment Andy! I’m happy you liked it and that it made you want to learn more about Sikhism :)

  4. Evan Terry Forbes May 31 at 10:39 pm Reply

    I slept at the Golden Temple 8 years ago. I think my back is still recovering. All in all, very cool experience.

    • Nita May 31 at 11:13 pm Reply

      Wow! That is really cool. Must have been quite an experience, and I guess it left a lasting impression on you 😉 Thanks for dropping by Evan!

  5. Sand In My Suitcase Oct 4 at 7:57 am Reply

    The Golden Temple looks quite amazing… So much to see and experience in India. Hopefully one day we’ll get there for a visit :-).

    • Nita Oct 4 at 3:17 pm Reply

      You are right – India really has a lot to offer. I hope you make it there soon too! Thanks, Janice and George :)

  6. Tash Oct 15 at 6:35 pm Reply

    Oh wow, I learnt so much from this post and the Sikhs! Great insights.

    Those night photos are stunning!!

    • Nita Oct 15 at 7:30 pm Reply

      That’s so nice to hear! Thanks Tash :)

  7. Frank Oct 15 at 10:12 pm Reply

    Hi Nita! Good post, I’ve previously research Sikhism because I was applying for a job in a company owned by a Sikh. I didn’t get the job but I liked the man very much and was also left with a good impression of Sikhism through my readings.
    Great job with the blog,
    Frank (bbqboy)

    • Nita Oct 16 at 2:18 am Reply

      Hey Frank! That’s very kind of you, thanks :) And good to learn of your positive experience with a Sikh man. Thank you for sharing that too!

  8. Manish Nov 19 at 2:27 pm Reply

    Overall Nice Experience to reading your post. Wonder full job Nita

    • Nita Nov 19 at 7:37 pm Reply

      Thank you Manish!

      • Pooja Aug 31 at 7:11 pm Reply

        Thanku for the post ma’am. I just loved it :)

  9. Sarah Elizabeth Feb 4 at 4:17 pm Reply

    What a lovely post! Thanks for the history lessons as well, so much that I didn’t know! It looks like a beautiful place!! xx

    • Nita Feb 4 at 9:57 pm Reply

      Thanks Sarah! I’m happy you enjoyed the post :) It is indeed a very special and beautiful temple. Hope you get to see it in real someday!

  10. Pooja Thakur Jul 13 at 5:01 pm Reply

    This is really a great post. I have enjoyed it till the end and got to know about so many things.We are planning to visit Golden temple this year. I think we will make countless memories there :)
    Thank you

    • Nita Jul 14 at 4:12 am Reply

      Thanks Pooja! Very pleased to hear you enjoyed the post :) I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful visit!

  11. Abhishek Mathur Jun 12 at 1:26 pm Reply

    THanks Nita, to share very informative blog about golden temple

    • Nita Jun 14 at 4:32 pm Reply

      Glad you enjoyed it.. Thank you!

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