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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Golden Temple

The Harmandir Sahib   informally referred to as the "Golden Temple",[1] is a prominent Sikh Gurdwara located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India. It was built by the fifth Sikh guru, Guru Arjan, in the 16th Century. In 1604, Guru Arjun completed the Adi Granth, the holy scripture of Sikhism, and installed it in the Gurdwara.[4]There are four doors to get into the Harmandir Sahib, which symbolize the openness of the Sikhs towards all people and religions.[5] The present day Gurdwara was rebuilt in 1764 by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia with the help of other Sikh Misls. In the early 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 its English name.[4] The Harimandir Sahib is considered holy by Sikhs. The holiest text of Sikhism, the Guru Granth Sahib,[6] is always present inside the Gurdwara. Its 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.[1][6][6] Over 100,000 people visit the holy shrine daily for worship

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. During the leadership of the fifth Guru, Guru Arjan (1581–1606), the full-fledged Gurdwara was built. In December 1588, Guru Arjan initiated the construction of the Gurdwara. The foundation stone was laid by none other than Guru Arjan Sahib himself in December 1588. It is a common misconception that the foundation stone was laid by the Sufi saint Mian Mir of Lahore.[10][11][12]

Some of the architectural features of the Harmandir Sahib were intended to be symbolic of the Sikh worldview.[13] Instead of the normal custom of building a Gurdwara on high land, it was built at a lower level than the surrounding land so that devotees would have to go down steps to enter it.[13] In addition, instead of one entrance, Sri Harmandir Sahib has four entrances.[13]The Gurdwara was completed in 1604. Guru Arjan, installed the Guru Granth Sahib in it and appointed Baba Buddha as the first Granthi (reader) of it on August 1604. In the mid-18th century it was attacked by the Afghans, by one of Ahmed Shah Abdali's generals, Jahan Khan, and had to be substantially rebuilt in the 1760s. However, in response a Sikh Army was sent to hunt down the Afghan force. Both forces met each other five miles outside Amritsar; Jahan Khan's army was destroyed.[14][14]