The Harmandir Sahib(or Hari Mandir) located in Amritsar is not only
of utmost importance for the Sikhs but is also a major tourist destination due
to its immeasurable beauty. Previously and commonly known as the Golden
Temple, it was officially renamed Harmandir Sahib in March 2005.
It is situated in the middle of a large lake or
temple tank in what was originally a deep forest.
The construction of this gurdwara was initially started by Guru Ram Das, the
fourth Sikh Guru in 1574, on land donated by the Mughal emperor Akbar. It was
completed by Guru Arjan Dev, his successor.

Unfortunately, the gurdwara occasionally damage during the eighteenth century
as it was the place of conflict between the Sikhs and either Mughal or Afghan
forces. However, in the earth nineteenth century, Maharaja Ranjit Singh
protected it from outside attack. He also decorated the upper floors of the
gurdwara with gold which led to it being named as the “Golden Temple” worldwide.
It also made it one of the most spectacular sights of worship.

What makes this sacred place especially unique is the fact that’s
its construction combines Muslim, Hindu and European design principles.

Not only is it a major pilgrimage destination for Sikhs from all over the
world, people from all walks of life irrespective of caste, creed, color, sex
and religion are welcomed. Visitors can enter through one of the 4 entrances of
the temple.

The temple itself is lower than the surrounding area so one must step down in
order to reach Harmandir Sahib. It also houses Guru Ka Langar which is a 3
storied communal, open kitchen. It serves approximately 40,000 meals daily to
devotees and visitors. On entering the gurdwara complex, one will find many
shrines to past Sikh gurus, saints and martyrs. There are also many memorials
that commemorate past Sikh Historical events, saints and martyrs. It is also
believed that Buddha spent some time here.


All this and much more truly make the Golden Temple one of the
most sacred and stunning places to visit.