Monday, April 1, 2013

Amritsar's Golden Temple

Amritsar is the home of the Golden Temple (Shri Harmandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib or Swarn Mandir). It is the most famous of all Sikh religious sites. However, it is not only for Sikhs, it is also a great symbol to equality. This is because everyone -- regardless of religion, caste, race or creed -- is welcome. 

The name Amritsar is derived from "amrit sarovar" (meaning the "Pool of Nectar") which refers to the holy pool that surrounds the Golden Temple. Sikh history reveals that Guru Nanak Dev Ji (the first of ten Sikh Gurus) passed by the land that is now known as Amritsar. While he was passing through, he met a young boy grazing cattle named Baba Bura Randhawa. The 9-year old was enlightened by Guru Nanak's spiritualism and began to speak in such a manner that the Guru told him that he was not "Bura"  but "Budha." The boy, from then on, became known as Baba Budha and went on to become the first high priest of the Golden temple. 

Amritsar's Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib)

It was Guru Amar Dass Ji (the third Sikh Guru) who had advised Guru Ram Dass (the fourth Sikh Guru) to dig for the holy pool in 1577 AD. The pool was then lined with bricks by Guru Arjan Dev (the fifth Sikh Guru) on the 15th of December 1588. Guru Arjan Dev also started the Temple's construction. The Guru Granth Sahib (the holy book of the Sikhs) was installed within the temple on the 16th of August 1604 AD. And Baba Budha became the first high priest.

Harmandir Sahib's architecture is unique. It sits lower than the land surrounding it. It is constructed that way in order to remind people of the value of humility. It also has four entrances (East, West, North, and South) signifying that everyone is welcome to pass through its doors. 

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