Harmandir Sahib Exemplary Pilgrim


Sri Harmandir Sahib, also known as Darbar Sahib is famous with its name <b>Swarn Mandir "Golden Temple"</b>. As per Nanak Dev, the real pilgrimage is in contemplation of the Lord's name and seeking union with The <B>GOD</B>. Anyone is welcome to worship here regardless of caste, color and creed.

Sri Harmandir Sahib is the most popular Sikh Shrine, Sikh Shrines are called Gurdwara. It is considered as the main centre of worship in Sikhs.

History

The Golden temple was originally initiated in 1574 by Guru Ram Das ji. In 1588, Guru Arjan Dev, fifth Guru of Sikhs, laid the foundation of the Darbar Sahib. Gurdwara got completed in year 1601. Adi Granth, the first volume of Sikh holy scriptures was completed and installed at the Darbar Sahib by Guru Arjan Dev in year 1604. Adi Granth was compiled by Bhai Gurdas under the guidance of Guru Arjan Dev ji. It was written in Gurmukhi. The tenth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, acknowledged the holy scripture Adi Granth as his successor and uplifted it to Guru Granth Sahib. It was designated as the Eleventh Guru and final teacher by the Guru Gobind Singh in year 1678.

Structure

Sri Hamandir Sahib is encircled by a large sarovar called "Amrit Sarovar". One has to pass by a causeway from the "Swarg Dwarn"(Darshini Deori) to reach Gurdwara. The Gurdwara has four entrances, which shows the acceptance and openness to all religions and castes. The Gurdwara consists of three floors. Lowest floor is immersed in the "Amrit Sarovar" and normally not visible, one can only see it when sarovar is getting cleaned by Kar Sewaks. First floor is of white marble, decorated with various flower and animal pictures. it is also a excellent example of Pietra-Dura Art. The upper storey is embossed with Gold. The interior consist of carved wooden panels, gold and silver work. There is an airy domed building called Sheesh Mahal (the Mirrored Hall), its interior composed of pieces of mirror of different shapes, sizes and colors. Golden Temple's architecture represents the fusion of Hindu and Muslim styles. Under the guidance of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (Maharaja of the Sikh Empire of the Punjab) and Hukam Singh Chimni (commander-cum-civil administrator), gold and marble work were conducted.

The Harmandir Sahib Complex

Many shrines of saints, past Sikh Gurus and martyrs are situated in the Gurdwara complex. There are three holy trees(beri trees), each signify a historical event or Sikh saint. While visiting Golden Temple, one must visit the following:

Main Entrance And Clock Tower

North Entrance is Main entrance and is very ornate. At the main entrance there is shallow pool of water, one has to remove their shoes and pass thru this holy pool water bare foot before entering the Gurdwara. Many devotees collect this water also, considering this as Amrit. On the doorway verses from the Guru Granth Sahib are imprinted. Main entrance is under the Victorian clock tower. The clock tower got constructed under British Rule and completed in year 1874.

Information Office

It is also on the right side of the main entrance. It provides all kind of information and suggestion to the devotees and tourist. They give booklets which contains information on Sikhism and Golden Temple. Nearby is a counter to deposit the shoes, one has to remove footwear and deposit them on the counter. It is necessary to cover your head with a Patka(scarf), it is also available at the premises. There is arrangement to wash feet at the entrance.

Central Sikh Museum

Central Sikh Museum is situated at the right side of the entrance of Golden Temple. It was established in 1958. It has an attractive and rich collection of old coins, paintings, weapons(used by great Sikh warriors) and antique hand written manuscripts which demonstrate the Sikh history. Paintings of Sikh Gurus, Saints, Sikh Warriors and other exceptional Sikh leaders who have contributed remarkably to the Sikh religion are showcased in Central Sikh Museum. It is also having a library.

Amrit Sarovar(Pool of Nectar)

Harmandir Sahib is encircled by the Amrit Sarovar, it is gargantuan. Reflection of Golden Temple in the Amrit Sarover is marvellous. Devotees can take holy dip in it. It is considered that sarovar water has healing properties.

Parikarma

The marble walkway which surrounds the Amrit sarover is called Parikarma(Encircling walkway). Around parikarma there are various places which considered auspicious to bathe. It is considered most auspicious and effective on eastern walkway for the devotees.

Darshani Deori

It opens on to the causeway thru which one can lead towards the main building of Sri Harmandir Sahib. It is curved structure standing on the end of the bridge. The door frame of the arch is about 10 feets in height and 8 feets 6 inches in breath. The door panes are very artistic.

Causeway

Causeway called the Guru's Bridge. Its a 202 feet long and 21 feet wide embankment thru which Darshani Deorhi gets connected with the Harmandir sahib. The journey of the soul after death is symbolised by the causeway.

Har ki Pauri

It is on the southern side of the inner parikarma. This is the place which needs to be attended after the Ardas prayer. A staircase is there which leads into the sarover. Devotees halt here to get little bit of water in Palm, one can drink as well as sprinkle this holy water over the head.

Nishaan Sahib-Flagstaffs

The Nishan Sahib is a Sikh holy flag made of cotton or silk cloth. It is triangular in shape with a topknot at the end. The word, Nishan means symbol,it is a traditional symbol of Khalsa Panth. Flag is uphold on a tall flagpole and flagpole is covered with fabric. Khanda is embossed on the flag. It is taken down every Baisakhi and altered with a fresh new flag.Flagpole also got overhauled. In Harmandir Sahib, two flag staffs joined in the middle with the emblem. It is the symbol of dual aspect of Panth- one is religion and other is politics.

Sri Akal Takht Sahib

The Akal Takht in punjabi means "The Throne of the Timeless One". It is top most institution of Sikhs and situated in front of Shri Harmandir Sahib, at the other end of the causeway and faces towards Darshani Deori. It was built by Guru Hargobind Ji as a symbol of political supremacy of the panth in year 1609. It was installed as the place from which concerns of Sikh people got noticed and one can act upon them. Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji kept here during night.

Beri Baba Buddha Ji

This is an ancient tree, under which Baba Buddha Ji used to sit while supervising the creation of the Harmandir Sahib. Baba Buddha ji hold an special position in Sikh history. He was the first Granthi of Harmandir Sahib. He lived over 100 years and was closely associated with first six Sikh Gurus. Tree trunk is encircled by a marble platform now.

Gurudwara Dukh Bhanjani Beri

Gurudwara is located on the eastern side of the sarovar in the Harmandir Sahib. The legend associated with this tree is, Husband of Bibi Rajani is leper. She was given the duty to cook food in the common kitchen here. She used to make proper arrangement for her husband sitting before entering the kitchen. One day she left him under
the Ber tree. While sitting he decided to take bath in holy water of sarovar and he took the dip. His disease got cured by the holy water. On hearing this miracle, Guru Ram Das ji decided to extend this reservoir into a appropriate bathing tank and given the name Dukh Bhanjani Beri (the tree of healing) to the tree. Gurdwara been built near the place where leper was sitting. Devotees have strong belief that holy water in this portion of the sarovar is having healing properties. Many of the believer got cured from their ailments with this holy water.

Gurdwara Laachi Beri

Gurdwara is situated on the right side of Darshani Deori. there is a small jujube(Ber) tree under which Guru Arjan Dev and Bhai Saloji(a close devotee of Guru Arjan Dev and one of the significant Sikh of that time) were used to sit to keep watch on the
sarovar's construction work. This Beri tree has the fruit, which are like lachi(Cardamom) in size, hence the Gurdwara named after it.

Ath Sath Tirath

Near Gurdwara Dukh-Bhanjani Beri, there is a raised marble platform which is known as Ath Sath Tirath. It is considered equivalent to 68 Tirath. Devotees believe that having a bath near it will fulfil their dream of visiting 68 holy places or shrines.

Baba Deep Singh Shrine

Shrine is a stepped marble podium with semi circular design and is close to the southern entrance. The shrine is a way to remember and salute his unique sacrifice for the religion. He always tried to protect holy Temple from the intruders. He took pledge to die inside the Parikarma of the Golden Temple. While fighting against Afghan
forces Baba get Shaheedi here.

Thara Sahib

After induction as Guru, Ninth Sikh Guru, Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji visited Golden Temple to pay honour to the highest seat of Sikhs, Sri Harimandar Sahib, but the priests prohibited him to enter the Golden Temple. As Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji a peace lover, he just returned from there, but before leaving the premises he took rest at this place on the earth platform. Afterwards a Gurdwara constructed over it by the devotees, named as Thara Sahib.

Gurdwara Baba Atal Sahib

To the south of the Golden Temple, Gurdwara of Baba Atal Sahib is situated. It is the tallest building in Amritsar having 9 storeys, which displays the nine years of Baba Atal's life. Baba Atal Rai, son of Guru Hargobind Ji, died at the age of 9. Earlier it was a smadhi which later on constructed as Gurdwara.

Minars(Watch Towers) of Ramgarhia Bunga

It was constructed by Sikh Warrior Jassa Singh Ramgarhia in year 1794. The Ramgaria bunga is the one of the largest bunga and is popular for its minars, originally used as watch towers. It was built for the purpose of making Darbar Sahib strong and secure. It is the only example of "Bunga Architecture" in India.

Guru Ka Langar

The concept of Langar (free kitchen) was initiated by the Guru Nanak Dev Ji. It is for the purpose to maintain the equality between all people. In langar all people sit in same pangat to have food. One can volunteer oneself to preapare langar, serve langar and washing up the utensils. Volunteers called sewadars.

Manji Sahib Diwan Hall

It is situated near the Langar Hall. When Golden Temple was being constructed, Shri Guru Arjun Dev Ji used to operate Darbar here. To hold Kirtan darbars, now a big hall constructed and is known as Guru Nanak Hall.

Gurdwara Mata Kaulan

It is situated on the western side of Gurdwara Baba Atal. Mata Kaulan was a very spiritual lady , she was adopted daughter of Qazi of Lahore. Due to her devotion toward Sikh Gurus, her father announced a death sentence. She brought to Amritsar by Guruji and spent her life here. She was blessed by Guru Hargobind ji that her name will remain here forever through the holy sarovar.

Kaulsar Sarovar

There is a sarover next to Gurdwara Mata Kaulan, called "Mata Kaulan Sarover". This name was given to the Sarover by Guru Hargobind ji for the remembrance of the great lady. He advised all devotees to take a dip in Kaulsar Sahib srovar before going to Sri Harmandir Sahib.

Accommodation in Golden Temple Complex

The lodging facilities for devotees and visitors are managed by authorities of Sri Harmandir Sahib. The reception counter works 24X7 , all days. There are seven niwas in the complex:

  • Guru Ram Das Sarai : having 228 rooms in which 160 are for pilgrims

  • Guru Nanak Niwas : having 80 rooms in which 21 are for pilgrims

  • Guru Arjan Dev Niwas: having 65 rooms, all avilable for pilgrims

  • New Akal Rest House : having 49 rooms in which 45 are for pilgrims

  • Guru Hargobind Niwas : having 88 rooms and 3 halls,all avilable for pilgrims

  • Mata Ganaga Niwas : having 103 rooms in which 94 are for pilgrims

  • Guru Gobind Singh NRI Yatra Niwas : having 75 rooms, all available for pilgrims


  • There is a continuous recitation of Gurbani at Golden Temple. One can feel extremity of spiritualism here. It is a must visit for every one regardless of religion and status.


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