In the list of the most visited places in the Indian subcontinent, the Golden Temple at Amritsar occupies a pretty high spot. A city in Punjab, it is a religious place of the Sikhs and stands as a symbol of human brotherhood and equality. Everybody, irrespective of their caste, creed, or race, can seek spiritual solace and religious fulfillment in the Golden Temple.
We visited this golden beauty while backpacking in Northern India and have listed out a few things that we thought might help you on your visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar!
Things To Know Before Visiting The Golden Temple, Amritsar
1. The Golden Temple is also known as Sri Harimandir Sahib (the house of God) and Sri Darbar Sahib.
2. The Golden Temple is a Gurudwara, meaning a place of assembly and worship for Sikhs. It was founded in 1574 by the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das, and was completed in 1604. Two centuries later, in 1830, Maharaja Ranjit Singh covered it in 162 grams of gold. In the ’90s, it was renovated with 500 kg of Gold.
3. The rarest artwork displayed here is neither a copy of Islamic art or Hindu traditional art but a rare work of craftsmanship of fine art by Sikh Artists.
4. The Golden Temple and the community kitchen (langar) are open every day from 2:30 AM to 10 PM, with slight variations in timing throughout the year. In the evening, the temple glows in golden light, creating a mesmerizing reflection on the nearby man-made pool named Amritsarovar. The city derives its name from Amritsarovar, where “Amrit” means nectar and “Sarovar” means pool.
5. Taking a bath or a dip into the Amritsarovar is considered holy and is believed to eradicate one’s sins and sufferings. You can follow this practice at Dukh Bhanjani Beri Tree. However, this is not allowed in other areas. You are allowed to enter the water and wet your feet in the water.
6. Guards are placed at different points surrounding the pool. They regulate the public’s actions and ensure everyone follows the rules of the place.
7. Reaching the inner sanctum takes at least 2 to 3 hours on a weekday and more during weekends. If you have time, you should consider visiting the sanctum.
8. Since it is a pilgrimage place, it is expected to dress conservatively. Cover your knees and shoulders.
9. Everyone should cover their hair with a shawl or kerchief. Long hair should be braided or tied in a pony. Several shops and people sell orange-colored scarves for INR 10 on Heritage Street. Used ones are kept in a bucket for free at the entrance. You can grab one from it. People standing at the entrance might forbid you from entering if the dress code is not followed or the hair is undone.
10. Locker facilities are available. Large bags are not allowed. You can keep your luggage in the safe and collect a token that must be returned when you want to collect your bag.
11. Mobile phones and cameras are allowed, but not tripods. Keep the mobile in silent mode. Photography is strictly prohibited when entering the sanctum. Some guards near the pool did not allow us to take pictures, while a few were cool.
12. Footwear is not allowed inside the temple. Drop yours in the dedicated place outside. If you’re unsure, ask so people around can help you.
13. When entering the temple premises, you’ll have to dip your feet in water.
14. The Golden Temple hosts the world’s largest community kitchen, known as “langar,” serving 100,000 people daily, with even more during religious events. Volunteers, called Sewadars, handle all the tasks, including preparation, cooking, cleaning, and dishwashing. Langar promotes the spirit of communal dining, emphasizing equality among all individuals. Vegetarian meals are available to everyone without discrimination, 24/7. During our visit, we enjoyed a good lunch with rotis, rice, Rajma, and a sweet dish. The dining area is well-maintained, and each person receives a separate water vessel. You can follow the people around you for guidance.
15. Tourists are allowed to stay at the Golden Temple premises for free for a maximum of 3 days with a shared bathroom. Although we didn’t stay here, it should be a unique experience for sure.
16. The Golden Temple complex is a huge one. There are a few significant spots that you shouldn’t miss, such as the Central Sikh Museum, Akal Takhat (The throne of Almighty), and Shri Dukh Bhanjani Beri Sahib, an old jujube tree considered sacred.
17. Donations are accepted, and their receipts can be collected once the payment is made. We noticed them at two places, one near the dining hall and another near the museum.
18. The women’s toilets were not clean, whereas, surprisingly, the men’s toilets were very clean. This was the situation during our visit, but it may not always be true.
We hope this blog is helpful for the visitors. Share it with your friends and family planning a trip to the Golden Temple at Amritsar, Punjab.
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