November 18, 2012 3 Comments
Golden temple is perhaps the most important destination in Sikhism. It has actually become a symbol of the religion with its shining gold an attractive sight in the simmering in a bright sunlight as well under artificial lights at night.
Mughal emperor Akbar, impressed with the ideology and thoughts of Guru Nanak and Guru Angad, granted some land to Guru Angad’s daughter on her marriage. His son-in-law after some years built a water tank on one of these lands. Later a temple – the Golden temple and then a city – Amritsar was built around that water tank.
Though the temple was brought into the present shape after many years by Maharaja Ranjit Singh (the temple was destroyed multiple times by the invading Afghans), but the ideology for it to be a symbol of a new faith is sown in the building plan.
Sikhism was born out of a combination of Hindu and Muslim religions. But Guru Arjun gave it a distinct identity and Golden temple is an example of that.
In a Hindu temple, a person has to climb stairs to reach the prayer hall. The golden temple was specifically designed such that people have to climb down the stairs from the road level. Also, generally Hindu temples have one entrance whereas the Harimandir as it is also called has 4 entrances.
Interestingly, the four doors symbolize the four castes of Hindus – Kshatriya, Brahmin, Shudra and Vaishya. It symbolized that the doors were open to all who wished to enter.
The philosophy still stands today and the temple is visited by people from multiple religions, castes and nations. It obviously is one of the most important pilgrimage destination for the Sikhs.
The experience of visiting the temple, though was not so great the last time around : http://sidharthbedi.com/2007/06/03/strengthened-beliefs-err-non-beliefs/