Tuesday, 13 December 2016


“India has always had a strange way with her conquerors. In defeat, she beckons them in, then slowly seduces, assimilates and transforms them.” - William Dalrymple 

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Sri Harmandir Sahib (The abode of God), also Sri Darbar Sahib and informally referred to as the “Golden Temple”, is the holiest Gurdwara (place of worship) of Sikhism, located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India. Amritsar (literally, the tank of nectar of immortality) was founded in 1577 by the fourth Sikh guru, Guru Ram Das. The fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan, designed the Harmandir Sahib to be built in the centre of this holy tank, and upon its construction, installed the Adi Granth, the holy scripture of Sikhism, inside the Harmandir Sahib.

The Harmandir Sahib complex is also home to the Akal Takht (the throne of the timeless one, constituted by the Sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind). While the Harmandir Sahib is regarded as the abode of God's spiritual attribute, the Akal Takht is the seat of God's temporal authority. The construction of Harmandir Sahib was 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. Accordingly, as a gesture of this non-sectarian universalness of Sikhism, Guru Arjan had specially invited Muslim Sufi saint, Hazrat Mian Mir to lay the foundation stone of the Harmandir Sahib. The four entrances (representing the four directions) to get into the Harmandir Sahib also symbolise the openness of the Sikhs towards all people and religions.

Over 100,000 people visit the holy shrine daily for worship, and also partake jointly in the free community kitchen and meal (Langar) regardless of any distinctions, a tradition that is a hallmark of all Sikh Gurdwaras. The present-day gurdwara was renovated in 1764 by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia with the help of other Sikh Misls. 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.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
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  1. What a wonderful colour the shrine is. I love the reflection in the water.

  2. Great tour of the Golden Temple.

  3. I could just imagine the temple shimmering and glittering under the sun, how much more enchanting it is.

    Worth a Thousand Words

  4. Since I haven't been in that part of the world, all these different religions confuse me. I wonder where they got all the gold from for building this temple... Thanks for this interesting piece of history!

  5. The contrast between gold and white is nice. India is one of my dream destinations. #WordlessWednesday

  6. Gorgeous picture, I would love to visit India someday. I was stunned when reading about the building where people of all faiths could worship in one place. I didn't know such a place existed or would even work. Amazing.