Sri Harmandir Sahib is also popularly known as The Golden Temple in Amritsar. It is the holiest Gurdwara of Sikhism. Amritsar Golden Temple was built-in the 16th Century by Guru Arjan Dev and the foundation laid by a Muslim saint Hazrat Mian Mir ji from Lahore(now in Pakistan). The magnificent Golden Temple is situated in the beautiful city of Amritsar (Pool of nectar of immortality). It has four gates, which symbolises equality and is open to its worshipers, irrespective of their caste, creed and sex.
My visit to Golden Temple
We were fortunate to visit The Golden Temple on the auspicious day of Baisakhi, i.e. 14th April 2017. We took an auto-rickshaw from our hotel to the Golden Temple (20 Rs/Person). We entered the campus, left our shoes in the shoe stand and washed our feet and hands. It is highly important to keep up the code of conduct in the Temple, some of these which I feel worth mentioning are listed here.
- Everyone should cover their head. Ladies with their veil (dupatta) and men and kids can use handkerchief. This is done as a mark of respect. Gurdwara also provides head scarves for the visitors who have not brought it.
- One cannot consume Alcohol and Non-veg in the premises of Golden Temple.
- Smoking is prohibited in the premises of the Golden Temple.
- Dressing appropriately, No shorts and mini skirts allowed.
The spellbinding sight of the Golden Temple was breath-taking! I had never seen something like that before.
The Golden Temple in Amritsar is surrounded by the holy Sarovar(pool) which has beautiful fishes too. The holy chants and the lights reflecting on the sacred pool invaded me with an
immense feeling of peace and solace! The sight was mesmerizing! As it was an auspicious day, we had to stand in the long queue for the darshan. Finally our turn came, we bow our head and offered our prayers to seek his blessing.
We then went to have “langar” (the divinely Prasad ).(The kitchen of Golden Temple at Amritsar was telecast on “India’s Mega Kitchens” in Nat Geo). After having the divinely Prasad we offered Seva to the other pilgrims. Some of us offered by helping in chopping vegetables while rest of us served water in the campus.
Baisakhi is one of the important festivals, as Sikhs believed the Khalsa was founded on this day. It was like entire Amritsar city and the people are celebrating Baisakhi with all their heart. We also celebrated Baisakhi with all our zeal, we lit diyas(candles) around the pool of Golden Temple and then experienced amazing firework . We had a divine experience at the Golden temple, a life long memory to cherish.
Other Places to visit Near Golden Temple
After visiting the Golden Temple we went to see the Jallianwala Bagh, which is 400 mts (approx) near to the Golden Temple. As we entered the Jallianwala Bagh, I could recall my history classes on Jallianwala Bagh Massacre as flashback! It is also known as the Amritsar Massacre. The bloodbath at Amritsar took place at the Jallianwala bagh on 13th April (Baisakhi Day) 1919. Two Nationalist Leaders got arrested in Punjab by British Government. There was a peaceful gathering in the Jallianwala Bagh to protest against the arrest. As it was Baisakhi many men, women and children had come in the gathering. Suddenly Brigadier General Dyer came with his troops and opened fire on the innocent people who had no warning or idea of this!
The Jallianwala bagh is surrounded by the walls and have a narrow entrance, which was blocked by the British troops. As there was hardly any gate people could escape from, many jumped in the well and thousands were killed and injured badly!
We were sadden for the men, women and children who lost their lives. It was a Barbaric act and one can only imagine the scenario. We could see the marks of bullets on the wall of Jallianwala bagh.
The other important place to visit near Amritsar is Wagha Border. People visit here to watch the live Beating Retreat ceremony at wagha border. Next day we hired a car to visit Wagha Border (500 Rs with Ac, usually they charge 100 Rs per person). We left hotel after our lunch, It takes an hour approx to reach Wagha Border. Though the entry starts at 4 Pm, One must try to reach early to avoid long queue. Don’t forget to carry your shades, umbrella , caps or hats and water bottle .You can carry mobile phone but they don’t work there because of mobile jammers installed (Security purpose). There are separate queue for men and women. Be ready to stand for 2 hour to experience the Beating Retreat Ceremony. One can also use lockers at the road side counters to keep their belongings ( Don’t remember the charges).
Wagha is Border that’s on the Grand Trunk Road, between the cities of Amritsar in India and Lahore in Pakistan. The Beating Retreat ceremony at wagha border is a 30 Min ceremony, but electrifying. The ceremony is full of patriotism and one can feel the same in every one’s heart (Indian Side). You can experience Power pack performance from our Side and you could see the crowd cheering for India. I did not see much of a crowd on the opposite side though!
We had an adrenal rush while experiencing the ceremony, singing our National Anthem in front of Pakistan indeed gives a rush!
How to Reach Golden Temple, Amritsar:
Flight : 13 km from Sri Guru Ram Das International Airport (ATQ). All the major flights have connectivity.
Train: 2km from Amritsar Railway station. All major trains have their connectivity.
Places to visit in Amritsar:
- Jallianwala Bagh (400Mts aprx away from The Golden Temple)
- Golden Temple Market (For all the shopping Lovers) Don’t forget to bargain:)
- Wagah Border (An hour and half approx)
PS: Winter seasons would be best time to visit Golden Temple, Amritsar (Avoid summer season)