The Golden Temple at Amritsar
It is in the olden part of the city of Amritsar that the holiest of the Sikh shrines exists. The copper plates on the temple dome placed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1802 have led to its unique appearance as a gurudwara. And this also to its name as the Golden Temple. It is otherwise known as the Har Mandir Sahib by the locals.This design has been copied by other Gurudwaras in the country and even abroad.
The shrine is open to members of all religions and communities and you can visit it every day. The Guru Granth Sahib or the original version of the holy book of the Sikhs which serves as their Guru is kept in this temple. It is one of the destinations that any religious Sikh person would want to visit once in their lives. You could call it the Mecca of Sikhism.
Unfortunately not all was holy about the Golden Temple some time back. The Golden Temple was stormed by the police and army in 1984 to flush out militants who had hidden inside the temple complex. The Khalisthan movement which caused terrorism in Punjab was at its peak at that time. This was what sowed the seed for Operation Bluestar. Now that these days are over, it is possible for us to travel to Amritsar and visit the temple.
You can take a dip in the Amrit Sarovar which is the body of water around the Golden Temple. It is considered holy water by the Sikhs. Then take the traditional circle around the temple. This is called the parikrama and must be done from the left side. After that visit the main temple and see the museum inside as well. Naturally the Guru ka langar is a sight worth seeing. The food is considered prasad and its a mass feeding in which you can offer to help cook. Quite an interesting outing and a deeply religious one for the Sikhs.
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