The Golden Temple, also known as the Harmandir Sahib, is the most important shrine of the Sikh religion, which attracts millions of tourists from around the world, not only from the Sikh religion but all the other religions too. The beautiful gurudwara is located in the holy city of Amritsar and is among one of the top tourist destinations in the country today. The temple boasts of extreme beauty and is of great spiritual significance for the pilgrims who visit it.
Besides its religious and cultural significance, here are the 10 most interesting and unusual facts about Golden Temple:
#1. The name Sri Harmandir Sahib literally means the “Temple of God” and reflects the true meaning and purpose of this majestic shrine, which stands for treating God as one and making no distinction among His worshipers on the basis of cast, color, creed and religion.
#2. Another fact about the temple, which reinforces the oneness of all people and religions, is that the temple has entrances from all the four direction, which signifies that people of diverse backgrounds are allowed to make an entry to the gurudwara, which welcomes them all with open arms.
#3. The foundation of the gurudwara was amazingly laid down by a Muslim sage called Mian Mir, though its construction was started by Guru Ram Das in 1588 and completed by another Sikh Guru, Guru Arjun Dev.
#4. The Golden Temple stands in all its glory in the middle of a holy tank called the Amrit Sarovar, which is a man made tank. Pilgrims who visit the shrine usually take a dip in the sarovar, which is believed to bear special healing powers.
#5. Next among the most unusual facts about this world famous temple is that it is made of white marble, embellished with real gold, which is why it gets the name of Golden Temple.
#6. Structurally, the temple is located on a level below the ground level as it signifies that one must be humble and go down to reach the temple of God. This design is quite opposite to that of the Hindu temples, most of which are built at an elevated level.
#7. The temple was devastated again and again, first by the Mughals and the Afghans and later during a clash between the Indian Army and terrorists in the Operation Blue Star of the eighties. But it has now been renovated and stands as a mark of glory and splendor of the Sikh religion.
#8. The main hall of the Golden Temple houses the Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred scripture of the Sikh religion. It is placed on a raised platform under a canopy studded with precious jewels.
#9. The Golden Temple has been a monument of worldwide fame on account of organizing the largest langar sewa in the world, where more than 35000 people are fed on a daily basis.
#10. The gurudwara also houses the acclaimed Central Sikh Museum, which contains relics and art works related to the Sikh religion, its great saints and warriors.
Today, the Golden Temple has become a much sought after destination on the tourist map of India, not only for the Sikh devotees, but also people from all other parts of the world, without distinction of religion. It is one of the famous historical places of India.