History of Sri Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple) Amritsar
Sri Harmandir Sahib, also known as Sri Darbar Sahib or Golden Temple, (on account of its scenic beauty and golden coating for English speaking world), is named after Hari (God) the temple of God. The Sikhs all over the world, daily wish to pay visit to Sri Amritsar and to pay obeisance at Sri Harmandir Sahib in their Ardas.
Guru Arjan Sahib, the Fifth Nanak, conceived the idea of creating a central place of worship for the Sikhs and he himself designed the architecture of Sri Harmandir Sahib. Earlier the planning to excavate the holy tank (Amritsar or Amrit Sarovar) was chalked out by Guru Amardas Sahib, the Third Nanak, but it was executed by Guru Ramdas Sahib under the supervision of Baba Budha ji. The land for the site was acquired by the earlier Guru Sahibs on payment or free of cost from the Zamindars (landlords) of native villages. The plan to establish a town settlement was also made. Therefore, the construction work on the Sarovar (the tank) and the town started simultaneously in 1570. The work on both projects completed in 1577 A.D.
Who donated land for Golden TempleGuru Arjan Sahib got its foundation laid by a muslim saint Hazrat Mian Mir ji of Lahore on 1st of Magh, 1645 Bikrmi Samvat (December, 1588). The construction work was directly supervised by Guru Arjan Sahib himself and he was assisted by the prominent Sikh personalities like Baba Budha ji, Bhai Gurdas ji, Bhai Sahlo ji and many other devoted Sikhs.
Unlike erecting the structure on the higher level (a tradition in Hindu Temple architecture), Guru Arjan Sahib got it built on the lower level and unlike Hindu Temples having only one gate for the entrance and exit, Guru Sahib got it open from four sides. Thus he created a symbol of new faith, Sikhism. Guru Sahib made it accessible to every person without any distinction of Caste, creed, sex and religion.
The building work completed in 1601 A.D. on Bhadoon Sudi 1st, 1661 Bikrmi Samvat (August/September,1604). Guru Arjan Sahib installed newly created Guru Granth Sahib, in Sri Harmandir Sahib and appointed Baba Budha ji as its first Granthi i.e. the reader of Guru Granth Sahib. After this event it attained the status of ‘Ath Sath Tirath’. Now the Sikh Nation had their own Tirath, a pilgrimage center
Old Photograph of Sri Harmandir Sahib The Golden Temple AmritsarSri Harmandir Sahib, 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 Darshani Deori (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 panes are decorated with artistic style. It opens on to the causeway or bridge that leads to the main building of Sri Harmandir Sahib. 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 ‘Har ki Paure’ (steps of God). On the first floor of "Har Ki Pauri", there is continuous reading of Guru Granth Sahib.
The main structure of Sri Harmandir Sahib, functionally as well as technically is a three-storied one. The front, which faces the bridge, is decorated with repeated cusped arches and the roof of the first floor is at the height of the 26 feet and 9 inches.
At the top of the first floor 4 feet high parapet rises on all the sides which has also four ‘Mamtees’ on the four corners and exactly on the top of the central hall of the main sanctuary rises the third story. It is a small square room and have three gates. A regular recitation of Guru Granth Sahib is also held there.
On the top of this room stands the low fluted ‘Gumbaz’(dome) having lotus petal motif in relief at the base inverted lotus at the top which supports the "Kalash" having a beautiful "Chhatri" at the end.
Its architecture represents a unique harmony between the Muslims and the Hindus way of construction work and this is considered the best architectural specimens of the world. It is often quoted that this architecture has created an independent Sikh school of architecture in the history of art in India.
Immerse yourself in Punjabi culture and Sikh religious history on a 2-day trip to Amritsar – by rail from Delhi. Your professional guide will accompany you to fascinating sites in the centuries-old city, stopping at temples, picturesque gardens and palaces en route. See the Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib), founded by Guru Ram Das, and watch the lowering of the flags at the Wagah border. On the second day, your 'old city' sightseeing tour includes the memorial of Jallianwala Bagh and a visit to Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s summer palace at Ram Bagh Gardens.
2-day tour of Amritsar from Delhi
Experience Punjabi culture in the old city of Amritsar
Drive to the Wagah border for the lowering of the flags ceremony
Visit the Golden Temple and the Jallianwala Bagh memorial garden
Explore the Ram Bagh Gardens and summer palace
Learn about India’s Sikh history from your guide
Round-trip train and transfers by air-conditioned vehicle included
What You Can Expect
2-Day Amritsar and Golden Temple Tour From Delhi
Your 2-day trip to Amritsar includes a full itinerary with 4-star accommodation plus several meals. Explore this magical city from the comfort of your air-conditioned vehicle, accompanied by your guide at all times!
Day 1: Delhi – Amritsar After early morning pickup from your New Delhi hotel, transfer to the railway station to catch a train for Amritsar. During the approximate 6-hour ride, enjoy complimentary breakfast aboard the train. (It is recommended that you also bring snacks along to fortify your trip.) Upon arrival in Amritsar around 1:30pm, you’ll be met by a driver and transported to your accommodation, where you can rest and relax before your afternoon tour begins.
When your professional guide picks you up, settle into your comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle and enjoy complimentary bottled water during the drive to the Wagah border. Here, watch the lowering of the flags ceremony, which takes place each evening before sunset. Also referred to as the ‘Beating Retreat border ceremony on the international level,’ this daily military ritual has been practiced by both India and Pakistan – the Border Security Force and the Pakistan Rangers – since 1959.
Witness the brash parade of soldiers from both sides of the Wagah border, which once served as the only road linking the two countries. Watch as the infantrymen stand at attention and the border’s iron gates are opened as the two nations’ flags are lowered in perfect unison with the setting sun. The spectacle ends with the folding of flags, followed by a curt handshake between opposing soldiers and the closing of the gates.
Your guide will offer insight about the carefully choreographed ceremony before heading to the Golden Temple, considered the Sikhs’ spiritual and cultural center. Amritsar, meaning ‘pool of nectar,’ was founded in 1579 by Guru Ram Das – the fourth Guru of the Sikh religion. Learn about his son and the next Sikh guru, Arjun Dev, who built the famous and important shrine.
At the Golden Temple, set amid a pool of holy water, visitors and devotees from all faiths are welcome. You'll get a glimpse of the Sikh temple tradition of offering daily Guru-Ka-Langar – a free, community meal that began in the 16th century. As you watch the community kitchen feed up to 10,000 people, learn about this Sikh principle of equality and the practice of eating together. After your visit, your guide will return you to your hotel.
Overnight: Amritsar Country Inn and Suites in Amritsar
Day 2: Amritsar – Delhi (B)
After breakfast at your hotel, embark on a sightseeing tour of the old city of Amritsar with your guide. Begin with a morning visit to Jallianwala Bagh, a public garden within the city and the site of a notorious massacre of Indians under British rule in 1919.
See the memorial that commemorates hundreds of pilgrims who gathered for a Punjabi New Year festival and were killed under the orders of General Dyer, the British lieutenant governor of the Punjab, who had banned all meetings and demonstrations in the province. Amid today’s pleasant park atmosphere, learn more about the tragedy of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre and the Indian freedom struggle that ensued.
Next, visit the beautiful Ram Bagh Gardens and the remains of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s summer palace – now a national museum. Hear from your guide how the former Raja of Punjab named the garden in honor of his devotion to Guru Ram Das. Admire the statue of the legendary Raja upon his horse and marvel at the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Panorama, a three-dimensional mural that depicts the important life events of the legendary Sikh king.
In the evening, your guide will transport you back to the railway station to board your train for Delhi. During the approximate 6-hour return, enjoy complimentary dinner aboard the train. Upon arrival, a driver will transfer you to your hotel or the airport.