When you are on a trip to North India, a visit to Harmandir Sahib aka Golden Temple (Amritsar Swarn Mandir) is a must. The Golden Temple is the holiest pilgrimage site for the followers of Sikhism. But irrespective of caste, creed, race or religion, the Harmandir Sahib touches the lives of all its visitors with its miraculous powers, holiness and abundant grace.
- Trivia: The recent tourism statistics suggest that the Golden Temple attracts more pilgrims than the number of tourists who visit the Taj Mahal!
- Timings: 7:30 AM – 7:30 PM (summer timings), 8 AM – 7 PM (winter timings)
Tips: Remove your shoes and socks before entering the temple. There is a Shoe Stand at the entrance where you can deposit the shoes. As you enter into the temple premise, wash your hands and feet in the shallow foot baths. Also cover your head with a scarf or handkerchief before entering the Gurudwara.
Book a Package for Amritsar
At RailYatri we are offering an elaborate package for Himachal – Punjab tour. You can explore the Golden Temple and other places to visit in Amritsar as a part of this package.
Architecture and Key Areas of the Golden Temple
While at the Golden Temple you will be greeted with “Sat Sri Akal” chants which means that “God is a timeless being”. There are four main doorways within this temple, and they signify secularism. These doorways emphasize the thought that God exists everywhere and anywhere. Now, let us take a look at some of the must visit areas within the Amritsar Swarn Mandir.
Amrit Sarovar: As you walk down the stairs of Harmindar Sahib, you will find this sacred pond known as Amrit Sarovar. The pond is supposed to have miraculous powers. Taking bath at the Amrit Sarovar before sunrise is a celebrated ritual. There are separate places for men and women to take this holy dip. The water has therapeutic qualities and is undoubtedly healing in nature. You will also find beautiful fishes within the Amrit Sarovar.
Guru Granth Sahib and Har ki Paure: You pass through a circumambulatory path leading to the causeway and bridge which takes you straight into the main sanctum. As you enter you will reach ‘Har ki Paure’ (steps of God) that will take you into the Darbar Sahib. One the first floor, of this two-storey Gurudwara you can listen to the continuous reading of Guru Granth Sahib. Reading of the religious scriptures is the alternative for idols, as per the Sikh faith. Sikhs believe that learning is the ultimatum! The Guru Granth Sahib is on display at the Darbar Sahib, and devotional songs are sung by the devotees here.
Ardaas: If you visit the Golden Temple before 5 AM, you could be a part of Ardaas (the petition prayer) and the procession of the Palkhiji which carries the Guru Granth Sahib from Akal Takht to the main sanctum. Many famed surgeons and academic leaders have endorsed the power of prayer (Ardas) in the healing process.
Kara Prasad: After you have admired the beauty of the gold gilded temple top and the floral prints on the marble and the marvellous view of the Sarovar from the portico, you must be heading towards Guru ka Langar to accept delicious Kara Prasad. Kara Prashad is a wheat pudding made of wheat flour, clarified butter and sugar. This is a must have when you are at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
Akal Takht: Akal Takht (Throne of the Immortal) originally known as Akal Bunga, was founded by Guru Hargobind, the sixth Sikh Guru. He also developed a special martial arts for Sikhs. Since then Akal Takht has been a symbol of political sovereignty and where spiritual and temporal concerns of the Sikh people were addressed.
Guru ka Langar: The first Guru of Sikhs, Shri Guru Nanak, started the Langer system (free community meals) while preaching his doctrines against discrimination. The Langar kitchen at Golden Temple prepares meals for more than 40,000 devotees on normal days. The huge dining hall comes with a seating capacity of 50,000 people. Guru ka Langar serves hot vegetarian meals which can be tasted without any prior reservations. The food served here is simple and consists of Roti (Indian bread), Rice, Dal (Cooked Lentils), Sabji (side dish of Vegetables or Lentils) and Kheer (dessert).
Shopping: There are many shops near the Golden temple gates. You can purchase Sikh scripture (Gurbani), Scarf with the Khanda Sikh symbol, Kada (sacred bracelets) and colourful Pagri (topknots) from some of the shops. There are others that sell Pulkari (embroidered dupattas), original leather products (such as footwear, purses and belts) and edibles (such as Papar wariyan and Aam papad).
Thinking of visiting this glorious temple in Amritsar? Why not buy a package from RailYatri and make your trip hassle free.