Golden Temple is also known as Sri Darbar Sahib or Sri Harmandir Sahib. The popularity of the temple attracts Pilgrims form all over the world. It is one of the most important sacred destinations for Sikh pilgrims located in the city of Amritsar. Thousands of devotees make a visit to this holy shrine, paying homage to the Sikh Gurus by offering prayers.
Sri Harmandir Sahib was erected on December, 1588, by Guru Arjan Sahib, the fifth Guru of Sikhs. The foundation of the temple was laid by a Muslim saint Hazrat Mian Mir ji of Lahore. Many devoted Sikh played an important role in the construction work including Baba Budha ji, Bhai Gurdas ji, Bhai Sahlo ji and many other devotees. The temple was completed in 1604. Adi Granth (eternal Guru of Sikhs) was installed inside the temple and Baba Buddha ji was appointed as first Granthi of the temple.
A worship service begins early morning and ends up in the evening. Early morning Guru Granth Sahib is brought in Sri Harmandir Sahib from Akal Takhat Sahib and after whole day prayers it is then moved back to Akal Takhat in the evening. Today the Golden temple has become one of the supreme centres of worship for Sikhism.
Sri Harmandir Sahib is built on a 67 ft square platform, four side surrounded by the Sarovar (water tank). Entrance to all four sides of Sri Harmandir Sahib signifies that people from all sects are allowed to offer their prayers and all are equally treated without any kind of discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, religion and sex. Devotees pay homage to Guru Granth Sahib (Holy Book of Sikhs) placed inside the temple.
The domes and the upper floors of Harmandir Sahib are adorned with gold plates. Inside the temple complex there are many memorial plaques that commemorate past Sikh historical events, saints, martyrs and also include commemorative inscriptions of all the Sikh soldiers. It has four sided opened door decorated with artistic style. There are three significant trees inside the premises, each one of them is related with some of the historic event or Sikh saint. The marvelous architecture draws on both Hindu and Muslim artistic styles, reflects a unity between two religions, the best architectural specimens of the world.
The festive season includes the celebration of birthdays of Gurus on different dates and many other important Sikh religious days. On the special occasion the temple is illuminated with light bulbs and diyas, followed by burning of crackers.
Large crowd of pilgrims visit the temple and offer prayers. Before entering Gurudwaras, head has to be covered with scarf which is must and wash your feet in a small water pool made at the entrance. People take a holy dip in the sacred sarovar, cleansing their soul and purifying their minds. Langar hall is built inside the temple premises where food is served at free of cost for the whole day.