Every year millions of tourists, irrespective of religion, caste or creed, head over to the holy city of Amritsar to visit the Golden Temple or Harmandir Sahib as it is also known. Though extremely popular as a spiritual centre for Sikhs all over the world, there are still some facts that people are truly unaware about the Golden Temple till date.
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- The Temple has four entrances in four different directions. This signifies that people of all religions, races and backgrounds are allowed to enter the temple. There is no discrimination against anyone and all are warmly welcomed inside.
- Plenty of wars have been fought between the Sikhs and Muslim armies in the past so it is a rather interesting piece of trivia that the foundation stone for the Sikhs’ holiest temple was laid down by a Muslim. Guru Arjan Dev, who planned to build the temple, invited his friend and Muslim saint Mian Mir to lay the foundation of the temple.
- Contrary to popular belief, the Temple is not entirely made up of gold! It was constructed with white marble which was then covered with real gold about 200 years after the temple was built. An admirable feat nonetheless!
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- The temple is situated in the middle of a man-made holy tank of water called Amrit Sarovar. A dip in the serene waters is said to cure the devotee of all diseases and ailments he/she might be suffering from.
- To show equality, people of all backgrounds sit together on the ground, eat the same food and then humbly help with serving and washing of dishes. In fact, sometimes the volunteers outnumber the people required; such is their devotion and selflessness towards serving others.
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- The Langar Seva in Golden temple is one of the largest of its kind where people of all caste, creed and race are fed for free on a daily basis. The Langar serves an astounding 1 Lakh people on an average daily! This number doubles on special occasions and festivals.
- The Central Sikh Museum is located inside the Golden Temple and was opened in 1958. The Museum houses a rich and varied collection of old arms, coins and ancient manuscripts. A visit to the Temple is not complete if one doesn’t pay a visit to this museum.
- The Golden Temple in Amritsar doesn't have an idol to which people pray. The Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhs, is regarded as the eternal living Guru and is placed inside the temple. Devotees come and pay their respect to the Holy Scripture.
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- An interesting piece of trivia regarding the architecture of the Golden Temple is that the seat of the Scripture is located below the level of the ground floor on purpose. Thus when a devotee wants to enter to pray it signifies that one has to be humble and go down to reach god. This is in stark contrast to other religious institutions which are usually placed at a higher level.
- Not many people know that the British government organized a series of Akhand Paath (prayer for victory) at the Golden Temple during the First World War. The best part is that the British pulled off a series of unthinkable victories during the course of the war! The prayers paid off indeed.
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Hope you learned something new after reading this. Do let us know if we missed out on some other trivia by writing in the comments section below!
Intrigued by the Golden Temple? Want to plan a visit? Just check out a sample Itinerary for Amritsar from Delhi or simply create your own!