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Sri Harmandir Sahib (The abode of God), also Sri Darbar Sahib and informally referred to as the "Golden Temple", is the holiest Gurdwara of Sikhism, located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India. Amritsar (literally, the tank of nectar of immortality) was founded in 1577 by the fourth Sikh guru, Guru Ram Das. The fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan, designed the Harmandir Sahib to be built in the centre of this holy tank, and upon its construction, installed the Adi Granth, the holy scripture of Sikhism, inside the Harmandir Sahib. The Harmandir Sahib complex is also home to the Akal Takht (the throne of the timeless one, constituted by the Sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind). While the Harmandir Sahib is regarded as the abode of God's spiritual attribute, the Akal Takht is the seat of God's temporal authority.
The construction of Harmandir Sahib was 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. Accordingly, as a gesture of this non-sectarian universalness of Sikhism, Guru Arjan had specially invited Muslim Sufi saint, Hazrat Mian Mir to lay the foundation stone of the Harmandir Sahib. The four entrances (representing the four directions) to get into the Harmandir Sahib also symbolise the openness of the Sikhs towards all people and religions. Over 100,000 people visit the holy shrine daily for worship, and also partake jointly in the free community kitchen and meal (Langar) regardless of any distinctions, a tradition that is a hallmark of all Sikh Gurdwaras.

Ik Onkar - One Supreme Reality

As per vital beliefs of Sikhism, the follower should have faith in one Creator God, unity and equality of all humankind. Believers should sacrifice self-centeredness and engage in selfless service, determined for social justice, and honest conduct and livelihood while living a normal life.

The Guru Granth Sahib

Guru Granth Sahib is the principal religious text of Sikhism. A vast text of 1430 pages, compiled and composed during the period of Sikh gurus from 1469 to 1708 and is a collection of hymns singing about the qualities of God. It signifies the necessity for meditation in God's holy name. It states that a Sikh's devotional life is based on two vital moralities - that the text is the living God and that all answers regarding religion and morality can be learnt from it.

Art and Architecture of the Golden Temple

As with architecture of the 15th to 18th century, the Golden temple also has depictions of birds, flowers, human beings and animals. The craftsmanship is neither Hindu nor Muslim, but unique Sikh Architecture. A lot of the temple is covered in copper architecture, decorated with Gold leaves. The gurudwara has a lot of marble engraving, which is partly studded with semi-precious stones. The interiors of the gurudwara have been very tastefully done and are maintained on a daily basis by devotees who serve in the temple premises (sewa in the golden temple).
Cigarette, Biri, Tobacco or other intoxicants are strictly prohibited inside the holy premises or near the Gurudwara.
Swimming is strictly prohibited in the sarovar.
Photography is allowed only in the outer Parikrama.


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