Golden temple, Amritsar

The primary attraction of Amritsar is the Sri Harmandir Sahib, better known as the Golden Temple. This magnificent temple, located in India’s Punjab region, is one of the most respected and sacred locations in Sikhism. Surprisingly, Amritsar’s Golden Temple attracts a comparable number of visitors as the Taj Mahal. Pilgrims from all over the globe come to pay their respects, and tourists are captivated to the temple’s beauty, which is mirrored in the pool of water that surrounds it.
History of Golden temple
The city of Amritsar was created in 1577 by the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das. The name Amritsar, which means “pool of the nectar of immortality”, was given to the man-made pool of water that surrounds the Golden Temple today. The city built up around this pool, and the temple was constructed by Guru Arjan, the sixth Guru. The construction of the temple began in 1581 and took eight years to finish.
As part of a continuous conflict between Sikhs and Muslims, Afghan invader Ahmed Shah Abdali badly destroyed the temple in 1762. Fortunately, it was swiftly reconstructed. The temple, however, did not receive its iconic gold glow until 1830, when Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the ruler of the Sikh Empire at the time, sponsored the gold plating.
Guru Arjan put the Adi Granth within the temple once it was finished. This is Sikhism’s holy book, and Sikhs see it as the everlasting living guru, which is why the temple is so essential to their religion. In Punjabi, the Golden Temple of Amritsar is known as a gurdwara, which means “gateway to the guru”. People of various religions and countries are welcome, as it is the major site of worship for Sikhs.
Everyone gets free meals
A langar hall, where people may enjoy free vegetarian cuisine, is one of the most important aspects of a gurdwara. And the Golden Temple is well-known for housing one of the world’s largest free communal kitchens.
When you arrive, a volunteer hands you a metal tray, cutlery, and cup, and you seat on mats in one of the temple’s two eating halls. Hundreds of volunteers work around the clock to cook lentil dahl, rotis (Indian flatbread), yoghurt, and tea.
On a normal day, approximately 100,000 people are given 200,000 rotis and 1.5 tonnes of dahl. Food is never in short supply, and no one goes hungry, regardless of caste, ethnicity, or religion.
Exploring the Golden Temple
Summers in Amritsar are hot, while winters are frigid. As a result, the shoulder seasons of October to November and February to March are regarded as the ideal periods to visit. The temple is open 24 hours a day, and you must cover your head and remove your shoes to enter.
We recommend going again to really appreciate this stunning location. Along with stopping over for a dinner throughout the day, make a point of stopping by after nightfall. The flawless gold dome of the temple is illuminated at night, and its reflection glitters on the waters below.
Special rituals are done when the Adi Granth is taken out in the morning and when it is ‘put to bed’ in the evening. Starting at the land end of the promenade, four men sing and pray as they carry the book on an embroidered cushion back to the temple. Visit during this night-time rite to obtain a better understanding of the temple’s involvement in the lives of the locals.
Tips for Eco-Friendly Travel
The Golden Temple in Amritsar becomes plastic-free on April 1st, 2018. Instead of using plastic bags to transport devotional offerings and meals, the temple used biodegradable bags. Here are some sustainable travel guidelines to keep in mind for your stay to help support this ecologically friendly movement:
Use train to get there
While there are direct flights from many places in India to Amritsar, travelling the train is a definite method to lessen your carbon impact. Services are available from most major Indian cities, with a six-hour travel from Delhi.
Volunteering at the Golden Temple’s kitchen is an option. You may assist wash dishes or make meals for the thousands of pilgrims that visit the shrine every day. You might devote a few hours, a day, or even more time if you so choose. The staff will show you how to do it, and it’s a terrific chance to not only give back but also meet the locals.
Have local food
According to Conde Nast Traveller, the cuisine is Amritsar’s second most popular attraction after the Golden Temple. Amritsari kulcha, a flatbread packed with potato or cottage cheese, bears the city’s name. Taste Punjabi specialties at street food stalls and local eateries. You’ll not only enjoy a variety of delectable new flavours, but you’ll also be helping the local economy and lowering the demand for imported food.

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