A visit to the temple of gold will leave you in Awe
If you want to be left in awe a visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar is a place that you must see. It is the holiest site in the Sikh religion and is considered one of the most fascinating spots to visit during a trip to India.
IT IS ALL ABOUT GOLD AND A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE
If you like gold you will like the temple.
It is a magnificent structure coated with gold and stands serenely in a huge pool. Its beauty is equally matched by the electric and vibrant atmosphere of the Sikh people that are all too willing to help, show you around, offer you food and are just generally happy that you have come to visit.
We guarantee you that you will have an outstanding experience.
So you are probably wondering what is so special about the Temple?
THE GOLDEN TEMPLE IN A NUTSHELL
The construction of the Temple was completed in the 16th century by Guru Arjun Singh. Its architectural style combines those of both Hindus and Muslims and its interior is decorated with precious stones, frescoes, and glass. A visit to the temple by Sikhs just once in their lives is believed to purify. The Temple has four entrances which mark the openness to all four castes in Indian society.
REACHING THE GOLDEN TEMPLE
Each corner of the Temple has a gate with a tower and every gate reads prayers from the Sikh holy book Granth Sahib. The book is carried in procession to the shrine every day at four in the morning and leaves the shrines at ten in the evening. To reach the temple follow the walkway parikrama, which goes around the Pool of Nectar in a clockwise direction. To reach the Golden Temple you need to cross the Guru’s Bridge which symbolizes the journey of the soul after death. As you make your way inside the temple you will be amongst devotees paying their respects to the Granth Sahib. Inside is a canopy decorated with jewels and there the scriptures from the Granth Sahib are sung.
When to visit the Temple?
The ideal time to visit is during weekdays in the morning when you can listen to the faithful singing from the temple. Also if you have the opportunity you should not miss seeing the temple at night when it is lit.
WHAT TO DO WHEN VISITING THE TEMPLE?
Before entering the Golden Temple complex remember to take off your shoes and to cover your head. Smoking and photography inside the actual temple are prohibited but you can take pictures in the complex.
AN EATING EXPERIENCE NOT TO BE MISSED
Don’t miss the Guru-ka-Langar, a community kitchen where around 35,000 people every day are fed by temple volunteers. From 11:00 to 15:00 and 19:00 to 21:00 food is served without any payment. This act of generosity symbolizes the Sikh belief in the equality of all people regardless of caste and everyone is welcome to join.
You will witness diners waiting in line and when the doors open flocks of people come to sit in long rows on floor mats. Temple workers serve food of dal (lentils) with chapatis (wheat bread) and rice.
Anyone who wants can join the volunteers preparing food, knead the dough, prepare chutney, peel onions or wash dishes, a fine way to feel grateful for the good meal. Another option is to leave a donation in the donation box of the temple.
STAYING AT THE GOLDEN TEMPLE
Amritsar has a selection of places to stay, but the most interesting option is to stay in the temple. Accommodation is in a large room with beds placed side by side. No fee is taken but the hosts expect donations. Besides shared rooms, there are also individual rooms with two beds and a private shower.
OTHER ATTRACTIONS IN AMRITSAR AND AROUND
Built-in the 16th century it is a peaceful temple that resembles the Golden Temple and it is dedicated to the Goddess Durga.
Built after the 20th century female Saint Lal Devi. It is around 2km from the Amritsar railway station.
Ram Bagh Gardens
Beautiful gardens with a museum displaying weapons from Mughal times.
In 2011 the Amritsar Tourism Bureau began 2 hour guided tours throughout the city. The tours leave every day at 8:30 from the town plaza and end at the Golden Temple.
Details can be found at the tourist office located at the exit of the train station in Amritsar.
Changing of the Guard at Wagah Border
The changing of the guard takes place between India and Pakistan every day at sundown. It is around one hours drive from Amritsar. You can arrive there by taxi (approx. 500 rupees), rickshaw (approx. 250 rupees) or shared jeep which leaves Amritsar at 15:30. The ceremony is very entertaining and theatrical and the crowd goes wild to try and demonstrate their superiority over the Pakistani side. You should know that you cant bring in bags, only cameras and there are no storage lockers. The ceremony lasts around an hour.