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One word to describe my visit at Golden Temple : OVERWHELMING
Towards Golden Temple
It was now noon , scorching sun over head with 45 degree C and we were heading towards Golden Temple. I was perspiring a lot with Sun rays directly hitting my skin. Still around 200 meters were on and I felt that as 10 miles while walking. Each each step was like as if I am dragging my leg with 10 kilograms of weight attached to it and moving forward. Meantime Aarya was also uneasy due to heat and started pestering. At that time we had first glimpse of the gate and dome of Golden Temple. Some sort of relief came as we were near our destination.It was a childhood dream to visit this temple. When I was child I used to watch how my mother used to take care of her gold. After coming from any function how she would keep all her gold ornaments in the locker (Impression of Gold when I was child). Now I am going to see that metal in the form of a huge temple building which houses ” ADI GRANTH ” or ” SRI GURU GRANTH SAHIB” , the holy sculpture of Sikhism. We reached the temple’s massive shoe stand removed our shoes and stocked them. And then we moved towards the temple in its gate washing our feet. We entered through gate no. 1 called as Entrance Chowk Ghanta Ghar side.
Inside Golden Temple
As we entered the dome with our heads covered with a cloth, I saw the main gold shrine in the middle of giant pool of water , Amrit Sarovar , for the first time. For many seconds my eyes didn’t moved from that great temple monument just staring at it continuously. I had never seen such a beautiful monument in my life. Its not only the beauty of the monument but also spiritual rays coming from that center point of attraction didn’t let my eyes balls move anywhere else apart from it. I forgot all heat that was affecting me , my heavy stomach and my tired legs and was just engrossed in glaring the wonder.The main temple is situated in the center of rectangular water body with huge passage to circumambulate around it .I moved out of dome came down on the circumambulating path. After visualizing that wonderful creation we started clicking some pics and started to circumambulate around it. From each and every corner I started taking pictures of this great temple. After circumambulating we decided to have sight of the ADI GRANTH in the main shrine.
It was Saturday and there was a huge queue. When we get inside the queue , our cell phones and camera needs to be switched off. After around half an hour in the queue , our chance for view came .We had the view of the Great Granth , prayed , bowed down and came out of the main shrine. That sight was ultimate , no words can describe the beauty of sight of ADI GRANTH covered with shawls of its beloved devotees. This was only second time I had been in any Gurudwara. After coming out , we had then water which was served at every corner of the rectangular temple in circumambulating path.
Some information on Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple)compiled from internet by me.
Harmandir Sahib or The Golden Temple is the most prominent Sikh Gurudwara situated in Amritsar, Punjab, India. Construction was started by Guru Ram Das, 4th sikh guru and completed by his successor Guru Arjan Dev. The present Gurudawara was made by Maharaja Jassa Singh Ahuwalia in 1764. In nineteenth century Maharaja Ranjit Singh secured the Punjab region from outside attack and covered the upper floors of the Gurdwara with gold, which gives it its distinctive appearance and english name of “Golden Temple”.
The most sacred text of Sikhism called Sri Guru Granth Sahib is always present in this shrine. The Gurudwara’s construction was mainly intended to build a place of worship for men and women from all walks of life and all religions to come and worship God equally. More than 2,00,000 people from all religions come for worship to this shrine daily.
Some Basic Rules while entering Golden Temple ( Harmandir Sahib)
The Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) is open to all persons regardless of their religion, colour, creed, or sex. The only restrictions on the Golden Temple’s visitors concern their behavior when entering and while visiting.
Maintaining the purity of the sacred space and of one’s body while in it. Upon entering the temple premises, remove the shoes in the shoe block and washing one’s feet in the small pool of water provided. Not drinking alcohol, eating meat, or smoking cigarettes or other drugs while in the shrine. Also you can’t sit besides the holy pond or water body with legs dipped in it. Either be outside or bath inside completely.
Dressing Appropriately. Wear a head covering (cloth) which is sign of respect.
Sit on the ground in Darbar Sahib as a sign of deference to both Adi Granth and God.
Don’t waste food in Langar. Eat it completely.
Amazing Sikh People
The thing which touched me the most was the warmth , behavior and love I got from Sikh people.There are no limitations who can enter, eat ,rest or sleep.The Sikh people welcome us with open hearts and minds , no entrance fee is required , no one bothers you to give them money.In fact if you give money they refused to accept it. Those who wish to donate have to put money in donation boxes. Even if we are doing something wrong in the premises unknowingly, they tell in a very decent way with a low and respectable tone. Really I was amazed by the hospitality , kindheartedness and manners of Sikh people.
Photo Credit :- The above picture is taken from free download section of official website of the Golden Temple .
Visit – www.goldentempleamritsar.org
Largest free kitchen of the world ( The Kitchen of Golden temple) ( Information in a paragraph below is compiled from Temple official website).
The Langar or Free kitchen was started by their first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak jee. It is designed to uphold the principle of equality between all the people of the world regardless of religion, caste, colour, creed, age, gender or social status. In addition to the ideals of equality, the tradition of langar expresses the wonderful ethics of sharing, community, inclusiveness and oneness of all humankind. “The Light of God is in all hearts.” For the first time in history, Guruji had designed an institution in which all people would sit on the floor together, as equals, to eat the same simple food. It is here that all people high or low, rich or poor, male or female, all sit in the same pangat (literally “row” or “line”) to share the food together. Even Emperor of India at that time, Akbar sat down with all people to have this simple food.
Everyone is welcome to share the Langar and no one is turned away. The food is served twice a day, every day of the year. Each week a family or several families volunteer to provide and prepare the langar. This is very generous, as there may be several hundred people to feed and caterers are not allowed. All the preparation, the cooking and the washing-up is done by volunteers.In the Golden Temple Community Kitchen at an average 50,000 devotees or tourists take langar in the Community Kitchen daily; but the number becomes almost double on special occasions.
And when I went already the second kitchen of same size is already on the floors for the construction. After the cosntruction of second kitchen the capacity to feed around 2,50,000 people / day can be accomplished. Wonderful.
Please look at the video sharing the ultimate facts about the Golden Temple Kitchen (Langar).Its a must watch.
After visiting Golden Temple We came to the parking lot sat in the car and came to Hotel . We were completely drained by sweat feeling hot . Each one of us went to have a shower. After getting fresh we layed down the bed and slept. Our next journey was to start at 4.00 om afternoon to visit Pujya Lal Devi Mandir popularly known as Vaishno Devi temple of Amritsar and Wagah Border which will be shown in the next post.
Having prasad ( food) from World’s Greatest Kitchen (Langar)
After coming back from Wagah Border we again wanted to see the Golden Temple again in night and have food in its great kitchen. So we came back and had great prasad food from the world’s largest kitchen. And since I have dedicated this post to Golden Temple I will write it here itself . We had to wait for 15 minutes for our turn to come . The dinning hall here has two floors. In both the halls capacity of around 5000 people can be accomodated . So in one go 10000 can be fed in 15 minutes. Food served here is superfast . You don’t have to wait for any item. As soon as you take your place sitting on the ground dishes are served at lightening pace. Immediately within no time volunteers carrying eateries and water come and serve you. We had a dish of Roti , sabji of sprouts and mixture of sweet milk and rice. Within no time 3 big chapatis are served and within 15 minutes you are out of the hall with your stomach and heart content. Its really a magic. It was so fast that I thought I would have the picture of 4000 – 5000 people eating , but when I finished eating half of the people were already up. My wife Sonali here said once she was watching program in discovery channel about this Great Kitchen and they were giving the information that the chapati making rate here is 1200 chapatis per minute . Its just unbelievable . Imagine what would happen when kitchen becomes twice . Its already in plan. Oh! God only you can do this.
The Golden Temple in night is also a must watch sight. Lights of the temple and temple reflection in waters is mesmerizing.
Accommodation in Golden Temple
Although I haven’t stayed in the accommodation of Golden temple but for my viewers I will provide the information regarding the same. There are seven Niwas sthans ( Hotels) which provide lodging facilities for pilgrims, maintained by Sri Harimandir Sahib authorities. The reception counters work round the clock to attend to the devotees. All of them are besides the Golden Temple. Information can be obtained by calling on these numbers , Tel: 91-183-2553957, 58, 59
Facilities at Golden Temple ( Compiled from the official website of Golden Temple)
1. Free bus facility is available for the Airport and/or Railway Station from the area close to
the SGPC office.
2. Wheel chairs are available to the physically challenged and/ or the very old. They can be
procured from an ofϐice in the Parikarma near Ber Baba Budha Sahib.
3. Langar (Free-kitchen) is served at Sri Guru Ram Das Langar at all hours.
4. There are four water-service booths at all the corners of the Parikarma.
5. Bath-rooms and toilets for the pilgrims are at the back of Sri Guru Ram Das Niwas, near
Information Office, Shoe Store, & near Gurdwara Baba Atal etc.
6. Railway-booking, bank ATM and postal facilities are also available.
7. There are two free dispensaries in Guru Ram Das Niwas for the pilgrims,
8. In case of any accident in Sri Harimandir Sahib Complex, please contact the office of
Manager or Information office (Phone +91 – 183 – 2553951-60)
And yes here we finish one of the three major destinations in this mighty tour. Next post I am going to show you the Vaishno Devi temple in Amritsar and Wagah Border.Till then
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