It is a must for not only for Sikhs but others to visit The Golden Temple and pay your homage. Not only the experience will be blissful but it also has a healing effect both on their mind and physical body. It is difficult to quantify the blessings and what one takes with them after their visit to the temple.
This is what the wandering Earl had to say:
“Once in Amritsar, just walk through the main entrance of the Golden Temple – the holiest temple for the Sikh religion – and try not to be blown away by the structure before you. And try not to be blown away by the beautiful mix of colours all around you as well, by the traditional music (kirtan) being played over the entire complex and by the happy and friendly Indians strolling along the marble walkway that surrounds the main temple (parikrama of pathway-four rectangular cubicles), locals who are typically from the countryside and who have rarely, if ever, seen a foreigner.”
Luckily, you can spend hours inside the Golden Temple without ever getting bored of the unique atmosphere. You can even eat a free meal at the langar hall (pilgrimage dining hall) and you can also spend a night or two at one of the temple’s Gurdwaras (pilgrim guesthouses).
The temple is open twenty-four hours per day.
Yogi Madschri, a Danish living in London met me and described his personal experience of joy.
“As part of a half-year long journey through ashrams, yoga schools and holy places in India I was able to stay five days in Harmandir Sahib in February 2015. Years earlier in London I had qualified as a teacher of Kundalini Yoga through which I had encountered the sounds and science of Sikhism. I value these teachings and the growth I have experienced through my own daily practice of Sikh Dharma.
I was brought to visit and stay in The Golden Temple pilgrim accommodation through Divine grace. I spent hours by the pool in meditation and prayer every day, I offered my sewa and took langar. I queued and entered the Shrine late at night, in the early morning, in the daytime. I spent time in the Gurdwaras of the compound, I visited the Museum of Sikh History, and I engaged in conversation with visitors, students, pilgrims and holy men during my time there. In the early morning hours, under the New Moon, I performed my sacred dip in the pool.
It does not take long to become immersed in the vibrating spirit of Consciousness at the temple compound. The sewadars emanate selfless service, thus making every interaction a meeting with God. Hundreds of men, women, and children go about the many chores of cleaning, cooking and caring with a delightful merry energy. Every meal served, every drop of water poured, every marble slab cleaned, it is all a manifestation of God’s love. The Kirtan threads itself through it all, through every moment of every dimension, through day and through night.
I acknowledged to myself while staying at The Golden Temple that I was having this divine experience yet I had not foreseen what happened at my departure. I was mentally and spiritually at ease with leaving in order to continue my travels, but my physical body did not like it! As I got up and walked away from the pool a wave of sadness washed over me, and I had to allow my body to shake, weep and sob a bit. Truly, it was the sweetest experience of sadness ever.”
Craig and his partner described their experiences as they“rose early and headed over to the temple to spend the morning exploring before eating lunch prepared by the Sikhs living and working there. The temple itself is part of the larger Harmandir Sahib (or Darbar Sahib) complex in Amritsar. The temple shines in gold, sitting out in a tank that pilgrims from around the world come to bathe in called the Amrit Sarowar (Pool of Nectar). Most of the men bathe in the open, public areas, while there is a private, enclosed space for women to use for bathing. The water in the tank is considered to be sacred.
Seemingly floating in the sacred water is the temple itself. Lonely Planet India notes that the temple is ‘a blend of Hindu and Islamic architectural styles, with an elegant marble lower level adorned with flower and animal motifs in pietra dura (marble inlay work, as seen in the Taj Mahal).’ The second level of the temple is ‘topped by a dome gilded with 750 kg of gold.’ All throughout the day and until about 22:30 hours at night, leaders and musicians chant from the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book. There was never a moment during our visit that the chanting was not happening in the complex.
After taking in most of the complex, it was time to join pilgrims, locals, tourists, and anyone else who was hungry for lunch. At the southeast end of the complex sits the Guru-Ka-Langar, which is a huge dining area where 60,000 to 80,000 people are fed for free every day. As we sat down on the floor to eat, everyone from rich Western tourists to Indian pilgrims to poor, begging children sat down together to share a meal. Upon entering the hall, you are given a plate and utensils and then directed to the next line of people to sit in. Sikhs come around with food (including seconds!) to fill your plate. For the number of people they have to feed each day, the food was surprisingly delicious. It was such an experience to sit with people from all walks of life and enjoy a meal together. Despite their social standing, wealth (or lack of), caste, etc. outside of the temple, for a moment, everyone was equal (sangat and pangat)
While I have volunteered in soup kitchens before (and not that there is anything wrong with doing so), the experience at the Golden Temple was a very different feeding and eating experience. The service came with no expectation and no judgment. It wasn’t middle class suburban Christians coming into the inner city to feed some homeless people a meal and then retreating back to the safety of their neighbourhoods. The feeling of the dining hall was so distinct from these experiences. My lunch at the Golden Temple felt like community – actual community. Despite cultural and language barriers. Despite concerns over whether the food was “safe” for western tourists to eat. Despite knowing at some point that the little girl sitting beside me might approach me on the street asking for money, for a moment, we were the same. Just two girls sitting down for lunch served by those dedicated to their faith in the shadow of their holiest shrine. The sense of community I felt at lunch in the Golden Temple is one that I think many churches strive for in their outreach ministries but never quite find. My lunch amongst the Sikhs was both a humbling moment and a moment of revelation.
After eating lunch, Craig and I returned to the tank to walk around the complex again. As the sun rose in the sky, we found a place to sit among locals and pilgrims in the shade. As we sat down amongst them, we joined their dosing and resting in the shadow of such a pillar of their faith. One of my favourite moments of the day was resting against the side of the complex, slipping in and out of a light sleep, feeling the faith of those sitting around me.
We had another great experience at the temple that evening. Just sitting alongside the tank and watching the people who went by, we met Vishali, a young girl who was at the temple with her parents. She practiced her English with us and translated a few questions that her parents had for us, as well. (Where we were from, how we liked India, what our plans were for our 6 weeks in the country, etc.) We also posed for pictures with a few locals and pilgrims who were visiting the site. Later, a man around our age and a few friends sat down with us. He was a Sikh and became very interested in talking to Craig after learning that Craig had been a pastor. With the Golden Temple in the background, Craig and his new friend discussed religions in India vs. the U.S., Sikhism vs. Christianity, and a number of other topics.”
As also someone else described their experience: “The food is free and available to all at every Sikh temple. An army of volunteers prepares everything and at the Golden Temple, where some 100,000 people visit daily, it’s truly an impressive operation. The food is simple, dhal (lentils), raitha (yoghurt), rice pudding, and chapattis (roti/bread). I had all but two meals at the temple the weekend I was there. They were good, everything seemed hygienic, it was some of the best process management and operation work I’ve seen in India and it was generally a great environment. It’s all-you-can-eat, but you are not allowed to leave with food on your plate. Kind of rude to take the free food and waste it, no? But yes, you can refuse or stay stop when being served. I helped wash dishes one day after dinner one night. I was impressed with the process – an initial wash to wash away all the solids, then two more washes in two separate tubs, then rinsing. In a place infamous for its bad hygiene, three washing ensure a proper job is done. I only washed dishes for 60-90 minutes, but it was while washing the dishes that I realized just how many thousands of people eat there daily. There was a constant stream of plates, bowls, and spoons. Constant. Incredible.
I also wondered if this was the only place in India where you can see men washing the dishes…
I would say I stayed one day longer than necessary. There aren’t many things to see in Amritsar. Still, it was nice to be in such a tranquil place, full of positive energy. I’ll be the first to admit that it can be a little intimidating being somewhere you feel so out of place, but with the Sikhs you need not worry. You are always welcome. Literally.”
Experience described by other visitors in their own words: It tells you the inner story of an individual:“Best place to visit once in a life time”. As the name suggests, one feel’s to be near almighty. It’s a beautiful place to visit. Everything is so touching right from the religious chanting to the arrangements you will something special to visit this place. It was my 06th visit to golden temple and every visit is far beautiful than other. One of the best places to visit in lifetime.”
Meditate at the temple
“Go at amrit vela at 03:00 hours to really experience the devotion. Amazing place to meditate on the third floor of the Temple itself and at any of the small rooms were the Granth is being read behind the Akal Takhat or inside Akal Takhat on second floor. Real peaceful energy.”
“Harmandir Sahib is just amazing. The whole temple is made of gold. The temple is surrounded by water and is right in the middle of the water, which makes the Gurdwara look amazingly beautiful. Without a question, it is the most beautiful Gurdwara in the whole world!!! It’s a must visit!!”
HEAVEN ON EARTH
“If you are in search of true peace, visit Harmandir sahib and seek the blessings of Sikh Gurus. It’s a place where you get all the answers to your questions about the real meaning of your life.”
My personal experience is very similar to others but every time, I visit The Golden Temple, I am overcome with feelings of joy and happiness. The serenity of the shrine brings tranquillity to my mind. The crowd or the sangat as they are called brings unity to all the souls. Sadly, at times my mind also wanders to the tragic raid by the Indian Army in 1984, which brought the daily programme at The Golden Temple to a standstill, and innocent souls were killed at the site. The beauty of the The Golden Temple was ruined with grave consequences later. I try to wipe this out of mind and focus on my naam whilst sitting on the parikrama and watching the birds flying by and finding their own peace and solitude. Not forgetting my distress and tears of the lost souls, which still lingers in my mind.
I speak about my experience to others and usually people are eager to listen and they tell me that a visit to The Golden Temple is on their agenda. It should be on everybody’s agenda as mystically you only benefit from the visit in many ways.
The Golden Temple has become part of my existence and whenever I am in India, something in my inner self drives me to visit The Golden Temple. I love to live there and be part of it. The soothing kirtan, peaceful souls and the spirit and intense love for Waheguru. I suppose absence makes the heart grow fonder as those living in close proximity do not even enter The Golden Temple; they pass by and take it for granted. It is more beneficial even though briefly to have darshan (blessings) as one do not know what benefit you gain from the visit, as we are unaware of all the mystic powers.
It is definitely worth paying your obeisance to The Golden Temple, if you are in Amritsar !!!!!
This article is courtesy of Sikhnet
A Visit to Golden Temple and the Jallianwala Bagh
Posted Date: |Updated: 03-Jul-2016 |Category: Punjab|Author: Meena Shaw|Member Level: Silver|Points: 115|
The Golden Temple Amritsar India is also known as Sri Harimandir Sahib Amritsar. It is the glory and heritage of Sikhs. Everyone irrespective of cast, creed and race come to this holy place and pray. The place is very calm, like ones everybody wills to spend some time at least! The temple is made up of pure gold. The temple is very beautiful, art is amazing! Read this article and learn history, tourist information of Jallianwala Bagh and Golden Temple.
A Visit to Golden Temple Punjab
Basically, in earlier times they used to call it the temple of Hari i.e. God which nowadays called Sri Harimandir Sahib or Sri Darbar Sahib. Later on account of its golden coating and beautiful appearance. An innumerable number of people come daily to pay the visit to the temple of Shikhs at Sri Amritsar. Though it is the central religious place of Sikhs, but it is the symbol of human brotherhood where everyone is equal. I love that!
It is said that the fifth Nanak Guru Arjan Sahib had discovered the idea of creating a central place of worship for the Sikhs. And He is the only person to design the architecture of the Sri Harimandir Sahib which is reknowned by the name of Golden temple today. The third Nanak Guru Amardas Sahib chose Amritsar and declared it the to be the holy tank which later was executed by the Guru Ramdas Sahib under supervision of Buddha Baba Ji. The land where the temple is situated, the total site was aquired by the ealier Guru Sahibs. The landlords of native villages made paypendt for the site. The construction work was started in 1570 which was completed in 1577 A.D.
On the top stands the low fluted dome having lotus petal motif in relief at the base inverted lotus at the top which supports the 'Kalash' having a beautiful 'Chhatri' at the end.The Golden Temple Amritsar India (Sri Harmandir Sahib Amritsar) has a unique Sikh architecture. Built at a level lower than the surrounding land level, The Gurudwara teaches the lesson of egalitarianism and humility. The four entrances of this holy shrine from all four directions, signify that people belonging to every walk of life are equally welcome.
As advised by Sri Guru Amar Dass Ji (3rd Sikh Guru), Sri Guru Ram Dass Ji (4th Sikh Guru) started the digging of Amrit Sarovar (Holy Tank) of Sri Harmandir Sahib in 1577 A.D., which was later on brick-lined by Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji (5th Sikh Guru) on December 15, 1588 and He also started the construction of Sri Harimandir Sahib. Sri Guru Granth Sahib (scripture of the Sikhs), after its compilation, was first installed at Sri Harimandir Sahib on August 16, 1604, A.D. A devout Sikh, Baba Budha Ji was appointed its first Head Priest.
Its architecture represents a unique harmony between the Muslims and the Hindus way of construction work and this is considered the best architectural specimens of the world. It is often quoted that this architecture has created an independent Sikh school of architecture in the history of art in India.
Jallianwala Bagh History and Information
From there we went to Jallianwala Bagh. Jallianwala Bagh is the garden that belongs to Jalla. The name derived from the owners of that land in Sikh times. This place was uneven, unoccupied irregular shaped, indifferently walled, approximately 225 X 180 meters which were used more as a dumping ground.
It was Sunday, 13th April 1919, the largest religious occasion of Punjab, 'Baisakhi', when 50 British Indian Army soldiers commanded by Brigadier-General Dyer, began shooting without any warning and showed their inhumanity! In the crowd, there were men, women, and children.
According to Civil Dr. Williams DeeMeddy, there were 1526 casualties. But the Indian National Congress quoted more than 1500 casualties with roughly 1000 killed.
As it was the holiday of 'Baisakhi' on 13th April, thousands of people including Hindu, Muslim and Sikhs gathered near Harimandir Sahib in the Jallianwala Bagh garden. The festival is special for Sikhs because their Guru Gobind Singh founded the Khalsa Panth in the year 1699 and so the day was known as the 'Birth of Khalsa' which was celebrated by them. That day also people gathered to celebrate and joined. Many were not even aware of the political meeting there.
When General Dyer ordered the troops to begin the shooting without any warning or order to disperse, they were also ordered to shoot at the most dense sections of the crowd, it was continued to 1650 rounds approx. until it was almost exhausted.
To escape from the direct shooting many jumped into the solitary well and many died at the narrow gates. 120 dead bodies were pulled out of the well after the independence...! I couldn't stop myself crying, how horrible it would have been!
According to Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, who personally collected information to raise the issue in Central Legislative Council, over 1000 people were killed. The total estimated crowd was between 15000 to 20000 where Sikhs were large in proportion as it was their occasion.
The Rabindranath Tagore showed protest by renunciation of the British Knighthood which broke out in the country and is exemplified.
The Jallianwala Bagh became a national place of pilgrimage. On 1st August 1920 the Bagh was acquired by the nation at the cost of Rs. 5,60,472 though the construction of the memorial was postponed until Independence. The monument was named Flame of Liberty and was built at the cost of Rs. 9,25,000. It was inaugurated by the first president of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad on 13th April 1961.
Now when the terrorist do spread terror, kill people for whatever reason, how do you feel? Close your eyes, relax eyebrows, touch your heart and then ask yourself... Now think, if you would be in place of those people who went to celebrate the festival as the anniversary of the Khalsa, and all of a sudden the unimaginable incident happened..! Feeling helpless, sorry or angry?
But on 13th April 1919, one Sikh teenager brought up at Khalsa Orphanage, named Udham Singh, who saw all the these happening by his own eyes, took revenge of the killing of those poor people by killing Michel O'Dwyer in Caxton Hall of London. Then? As usual, He was hanged at Pentonville jail of London on 31st July 1940.
Being an intelligent species among the animals, being Humans, is this what we have learned so far? Why do people do these kinds of things? By killing a person one doesn't kill a man / woman, h/she kills a son, a brother, a husband, a father and above all we kill Humanity!
None but we are responsible for the race, cast etc among us! Things that happen around us every now and then give us the proves every single moment. Right?What is that thing that leads us to do so, we have to find out and work on that. Many things are yet to do... We are not civilized as we are not real HUMAN yet.