Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar

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Harmandir Sahib

Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple, map) is a *gurdwara located in the city of *Amritsar, *Punjab. It is the preeminent spiritual site of *Sikhism.

The gurdwara is built around a man-made pool (sarovar) that was completed by the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das, in 1577. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, after founding the Sikh Empire, rebuilt it in marble and copper in 1809, and overlaid the sanctum with Gold foil in 1830. This has led to the name the Golden Temple.

The Golden Temple is spiritually the most significant shrine in Sikhism. The Golden Temple is an open house of worship for all people, from all walks of life and faiths.

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It has a square plan with four entrances, and a circumambulation path around the pool. The complex is a collection of buildings around the sanctum and the pool. One of these is *Akal Takht, the chief center of religious authority of Sikhism.

Additional buildings include a clock tower, the offices of the Gurdwara Committee, a Museum and a langar – a free Sikh community–run kitchen that serves a simple vegetarian meal to all visitors without discrimination. Over 100,000 people visit the holy shrine daily for worship. The Gurdwara complex has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its application is pending on the tentative list of UNESCO.

The main ghanta ghar deori north entrance has a Sikh history museum on the first floor, according to the Sikh tradition. The display shows various paintings, of gurus and martyrs, many narrating the persecution of Sikhs over their history, as well as historical items such as swords, kartar, comb, chakkars.

Harmandir Sahib complex has a Langar, a community-run free kitchen and dining hall. It is attached to the east side of the courtyard near the Dukh Bhanjani Ber, outside of the entrance. Food is served here to all visitors who want it, regardless of faith, gender or economic background.

Amritsar is the holiest city in the Sikh religion. Amritsar is one of the largest cities in the Indian state of Punjab and is the spiritual and cultural centre of the Sikh religion. Sikhs are rightfully very proud of the city and their very beautiful and unique Gurdwara (place of worship), the Golden Temple. Amritsar is today a major pilgrimage centre for Sikhs and a tourism centre for anyone.

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