The Golden Temple is a Sikh place of worship in Amritsar, India.
The Golden Temple, also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib, which means ‘abode of god’ is the holiest Gurdwara and the most important pilgrimage site of Sikhism.
Gurdwara, which is a place of worship, means ‘door to the guru’. Sikhs welcome people from all faiths, including those who do not have a faith to their gurdwaras.
There are four entrances to the shrine from four directions signifying this point that all are are equally welcome.
Construction on the temple begun in 1581. The temple has had to be rebuilt several times after being destroyed by Muslim armies from Afghanistan and the Mughal Empire.
The name Golden Temple came after the temple’s marble exterior was overlaid with gold foil in 1830.
The temple is surrounded by a manmade pool named Amrit Sarova, which translates as ‘pool of holy nectar’. There are many exotic fish in the pool. Devotees who visit the temple may bathe in the holy waters.
My small group visited the Langar, which is a community kitchen that serves free vegetarian food to everyone regardless of faith, gender or economic background. Everyone sits on the floor in rows and food is served by volunteers.
After lunch we visited the food preparation and cooking areas and participated in making the dough for roti.
Later in the afternoon we sat and watched a trio of Sikh musicians perform hymns with traditional instruments.