“Harmandir Sahib”, more commonly known as the Golden Temple is considered to be the holiest Sikh gurudwara whose first stone was laid down by a Muslim. With a history that encapsulates the Ramayana, the Mughals and the Sikhs, this compound speaks of unity among religions and showcases openness towards people from all over the world no matter what caste, race, sex they belong to.
Famous for its gold plated exteriors, the Golden Temple is built amidst holy waters, which give the city of Amritsar its name. As legend goes, these waters are considered to be nectar of immortality, “Amrit”, and a dip in this pool of mysteries can offer cure for all medical ailments. Moving further into the heart of this gurudwara, one finds the holy book of the Sikhs, also known as “Guru Granth Sahib”, from which verses are sung throughout the day. What adds to the beauty and magnanimity is intricate art work on the marble walls depicting life forms in colourful gems. Absorbed in faith, belief and mysticism, the soul craves for the divine power to accept the heart felt offerings and bestow his grace.
But what’s a visit to a gurudwara, without the free community food service: “Langar”. Feeding almost 35000 people a day, this service highlights the unbiased nature of this religion. The common kitchen has hundreds of volunteers who make food round the clock and even offer to keep the place and utensils clean. People from all walks of life sit in a common room on the floor where the same food is served for one and all. This unique ideology of bringing equality into practice gives the Golden Temple another name of “Darbar Sahib”, “Court of God” where each individual is same in the eyes of the Almighty.
A religious structure built out of mythological beliefs dug deep in history, the Golden Temple should be on the bucket list of any traveller in quest of a kaleidoscopic view of India.
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