Amritsar stands tall above any other city, its status elevated and sanctified by the presence of the esteemed
, founded by the fourth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Ramdas and completed by his successor Guru Arjan Dev. Located in the center of Amritsar, the temple complex is surrounded by a maze of narrow lanes, or
, that houses one of the busiest markets in India. But the Golden Temple is a serene presence, radiating a sense of peacefulness that makes people bow their heads in admiration. The Gurudwara, as Sikh temples are called, is the holiest of Sikh shrines. It is not just Sikhs who travel to the Golden Temple to pay homage, the sacred shrine is equally revered by Hindus and people of other faiths too, who make the pilgrimage to offers prayers at Harmandir Sahib. Apart from this, another revered shrine is the
historically also known as Rāmdāspur
and colloquially as Ambarsar,
is a city in north-western part in India. It is the spiritual centre for the Sikh religion and the administrative headquarters of the Amritsar district in the state of Punjab. Amritsar is an institution by itself. And the Golden Temple is the cradle of Amritsar with the city growing around it nurtured by its divine sanctity. Amritsar is one of the most sacred sikh religious sites in India.
History of Amritsar
The Harmandir Sahib
, also known as Darbar Sahib
and informally referred to as the "Golden Temple"
, is a prominent Sikh Gurudwara located in the city of Amritsar. It was built by the fifth Sikhh Guru, Guru Arjun, in the 16th Century. In 1604, Guru Arjun completed the Adi Granth, the holy scripture of Sikhism, and installed it in the Gurudwara. Golden Temple, the religious building important to Sikhs has a legacy associated with it. The Amrit Sarovar or pool of nectar has long been associated with Indian legends and Lord Rama's twin sons had supposedly been taught the Ramayana here. How the land was acquired for the construction of the temple has many stories. Some say the Guru bought it, others say it was granted by emperor Akbar. Whatever the story, it is certain the religious building important to Sikhs was built on a revenue free land.
Oral tradition dictates that the Muslim divine Pir Mian Mir of Lahore, at the request of the fifth Sikh Guru Arjan Dev, laid the temple's foundation stone. However, there is no record supporting this, not even in the biographies of Pir. The recorded account says that Guru Arjun Dev laid the foundation in 1588. The Guru's followers settled down in the neighborhood and a small town called Ramdaspur quickly came up, deriving its later name, Amritsar, from the holy tank that encircles the Hari Mandir, or the Darbar Sahib, now known as the Golden Temple.
The flourishing town that grew around the temple during Guru Arjan Dev's lifetime grew further in stature as the followers of Sikhism grew in number. Things moved fast. The first Sikh Maharaja, Ranjit Singh, made Amritsar his spiritual capital while Lahore was the temporal seat of his newly founded expanding kingdom. Ranjit Singh oversaw the temple's further development, gilding the embossed plates, renewing the pietra dura and embellishing the interior with floral designed, mirrored ceilings.
The Golden Temple is not only a religious building important to Sikhs, it is an eclectic monument that has grown as much of people's devotion as from the guild craftsmen's skills to become Sikmost sacred of the sikh religious sites. Generation after generation has lavished praise on the art and architecture of the golden temple and it is widely regarded as being amongst the most tastefully decorated shrines anywhere.