WHY GOLDEN TEMPLE IS SPECIAL
A travel story about Golden Temple, India is incomplete without mentioning the Sikh community. All over the world, they are considered to be always special. History has proven they were born to fight for all humans both before and after independence. In Delhi, it is seen that how inclusive they are, trying to do their bit all the time, be it peak summer by distributing drinking water on streets to one and all or by arranging food and shelter for the homeless during floods like situations.
Gurudwaras are what many people know as the holy place for Sikhs where others make no plans to visit. But when such a location changes its perception with its magnetic divinity, vibrant environment, aesthetic architecture, and selfless hospitality then it is better to be known as a temple. This temple also attracts lakhs of visitors every day from both India and worldwide alike. And it is the famous Golden temple situated in the heart of Amritsar in the state of Punjab, India.
A BRIEF HISTORY
The famous Jalian Wala Bagh close to this Golden Temple was a place to experience history related to the freedom struggle in India. Visitors could relive what happened on a fateful day of April 13 in 1919 that I visited the other day. But this location at a short distance from The Jalian Wala Bagh is such a place that infuses divine energy as long as one remains there. This temple too has a history of a shoot out known as Operation blue star. Golden Temple in Amritsar, India is the biggest religious space for Sikhs, very famous not only among Indians but globally too.
From many colleagues and friends back in Delhi I already had a picture in heart about how this place may look like. But the reality was miles apart to be precise. Starting from the glorious entrance that welcomes around a hundred thousand people every day and all the way inside it was against my perception. Many visitors do not even notice that the gate that they cross to enter inside is equally imposing with a magnetizing attraction to all.
THE GOLDEN TEMPLE IS REALLY PURE GOLD
Everyone should wash their feet before entering the temple premises. Also, men and women both have to cover their heads. Both these things are custom for everyone. Once inside my eyes were feasted with the stunning beauty of architecture and a religiously maintained water body with the ripples radiating divine energy from the sun rays falls upon it.
Golden Temple was a marvelous enclosure glittering in pure gold with blissful energy of spirituality all around.
Huge numbers of people from across India as well as many parts of the globe were seen everywhere. They were in every corner of the premises – on the marble walkway, in the lake, on the steps, in the water distribution areas. But amid the crowd, there was a peace that I could feel most. An unusual feeling of calmness in the atmosphere. A rare combination of silence and sound prevailing in this amazing piece of a place known to the world as Golden Temple, Amritsar.
THE POOL OF NECTAR – THE FAMOUS LAKE
The Golden Temple complex is surrounded by a lake enclosed with flawless white building all-around in a rectangular shape. Harminder Sahib aka the Golden temple is in the center of the lake. It is almost equivalent to a three-story building covered with Original Gold with a number ogolden domes above it. Golden Temple looked like a floating golden prism in bright sunlight with the reflection in oscillating water in which it stands.
The space between the lake and white buildings all around is a pathway that leads to the main prayer area. Many people were taking a bath in the lake. It is like a custom to purify themselves by immersing the holy lake. The lake in the Golden Temple is also known as Amrit Sarovar, the Pool of Nectar.
A HEAVENLY MESSAGE THROUGH SOULFUL KIRTANS
My long walk through the neat and tidy marble dust-free walkway has ended in a long queue. It was also a chance for experiencing the divine energy of the Golden Temple. Then at the end of it, I joined with hundreds of other visitors patiently standing in the relatively long line leading to the main prayer room.
Everyone here was content with the slow movement of the line. The slow movement of the queue was a blessing to enjoy the most sacred portion of the temple to its fullest. Every space of premise reverberated with soulful kirtans from the holy books. The inside of the Golden temple spreads on two floors. And against the normal way in other religious places here devotees have to walk down to the prayer area. Despite the unique grandeur of this main Golden temple building covered with pure gold of 750 kg – which I read later – it was like immersed in spiritual energy that made the sound of Kirtans like a heavenly message.
BELIEVE IT – APPROXIMATELY 80000 MEALS PER DAY
Golden temple, Amritsar visits will not feel complete unless you visit the dining area with the temple called Langar. Most of the people used to serve here from cooking to washing as offering a Seva (voluntarily service) from all walks of life. The kitchen serves approximately 60000 to 80000 people every day. People from every sphere of life, irrespective of their origin, culture, language, place, gender are being served here. It was served without any distinction considering everyone as a single community.
This was the place where a commando operation had taken place on the orders of the then Prime Minister. Indian Army has been deployed to flush out some terrorists occupied inside.
A PERSONAL CONCLUSION
The difference between a temple from the south and this religious place was never comparable. But the amazing architecture, holy lake around it, the clean pathway surrounding these two structures, the devotion in serving food without a break to thousands of visitors and the affection and kindness showered by all those Sikh people involved with a temple made it a serene experience that I made two more trips within next one year.
Some useful links for further reference.