The Golden Temple, located in the city of Amritsar in the state of Punjab is a place of great beauty and sublime peacefulness.
Construction of the Golden Temple began in 1574 on land donated by the Mughal emperor Akbar. The building project was overseen by the fourth and fifth Sikh Gurus. The temple was completed in 1601, but restoration and embellishment continued over the years. The temple had to be substantially rebuilt after it was sacked in the 1760s.
In the early 19th century, 100 kg of gold were applied to the inverted lotus-shaped dome and decorative marble was added. All this gold and marble work took place under the patronage of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The legendary warrior king was a major donor of money and materials for the shrine and is remembered with much affection by the Sikh community and Punjabi people.
Golden Temple is built on a 67ft. square platform in the centre of the Sarovar (tank). The temple itself is 40.5ft. square. It has a door each on the East, West, North and South. The DarshaniDeori (an arch) stands at the shore end of the causeway. The door frame of the arch is about 10ft in height and 8ft 6inches in breath. The door panels are decorated with artistic style. It opens on to the causeway or bridge that leads to the main building of Golden Temple. It is 202 feet in length and 21 feet in width.
The bridge is connected with the 13 feet wide ‘Pardakshna’ (circumambulatory path). It runs round the main shrine and it leads to the ‘HarkiPaure’ (steps of God). On the first floor of "Har Ki Pauri", there is continuous reading of Guru Granth Sahib.
The most famous and sacred part of the Golden Temple complex is the HariMandir (Divine Temple) or Darbar Sahib (Court of the Lord), which is the beautiful golden structure at the center of a large body of water. The gold-plated building features copper cupolas and white marble walls encrusted with precious stones arranged in decorative Islamic-style floral patterns. The structure is decorated inside and out with verses from the Granth Sahib (the Sikh holy book).
The water that surrounds the HariMandir is a sacred pool known as the AmritSarovar (Pool of Nectar). The temple is reached by following the Parikrama, which circumscribes the sacred pool in a clockwise direction. Connecting the pathway with the HariMandir is a marble causeway called the Guru's Bridge, which symbolizes the journey of the soul after death. The gateway to the bridge, the DarshaniDeorhi, has magnificent silver doors.
Another major highlight of the Golden Temple complex is the Guru-ka-Langar, a dining hall where around 35,000 people a day are fed for free by temple volunteers. Everyone is invited to join this communal breaking of bread. All participants sit on the floor, regardless of caste, status, wealth or creed, powerfully symbolizing the central Sikh doctrine of the equality of all people.
Every night and early morning, the Granth Sahib is carried in procession along this bridge to its "bed" in the Akal Takht (the seat of the Sikh parliament built in 1609), at night and same procession they did at early morning to carried a The Granth Sahib to Harimandir Sahib Called the Palki Sahib, this ceremony provides a chance for all male pilgrims and visitors to actively participate in the veneration of the Holy Book. Lines form in front of and behind the heavy palanquin and each man shoulders the burden for a few seconds before passing it along, forming a human conveyer belt that allows everyone to participate and everyone to rest.