The legendary Golden Temple is actually just a small part of this huge gurudwara complex, known to Sikhs as Harmandir Sahib. Spiritually, the focus of attention is the holy tank that surrounds the gleaming central shrine – the Amrit Sarovar, from which Amritsar takes its name, excavated by the fourth Sikh guru, Sri Ram Das, in 1577. Ringed by a marble walkway, the Amrit Sarovar (Holy Tank) is said to have healing powers, and pilgrims come from across the world to bathe in its sacred waters. Sri Guru Granth Sahib (scripture of the Sikhs), after its compilation, was first installed at Sri Harmandir Sahib on August 16, 1604 A.D. A devout Sikh, Baba Budha Ji was appointed its first Head Priest.
In Golden temple everybody, irrespective of cast, creed or race can seek spiritual solace and religious fulfilment without any hindrance. It also represents the distinct identity, glory and heritage of the Sikhs.
The Golden Temple has a unique sikh architecture. Built at a level lower than the surrounding land level, the Gurudwara teaches the lesson of egalitarianism and humility. The four entrances of this holy shrine from all four directions, signify that people belong to every walk of life are equally welcome. A shimmering second level, encased in intricately engraved gold panels, and topped by a dome gilded with 750kg of gold. In the gleaming inner sanctum, priests and musicians keep up a continuous chant from the Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh holy book), adding to the already intense atmosphere.
The Guru Granth Sahib is installed in the temple every morning and returned at night to the Akal Takhat, the temporal seat of the Khalsa brotherhood. The ceremony takes place at 5am and 9.30pm in winter, and 4am and 10.30pm in summer. Inside the Akal Takhat, you can view a collection of sacred Sikh weapons.