Architectural grandeur, captivating serenity and warm hospitality await at the Golden Temple. Mingle with pilgrims as you wander amid the mystical beauty of this 16th-century temple complex. The Golden Temple takes its names from the stunning Harmandir Sahib, the complex’s centerpiece set in the heart of a sacred pool. This is the Sikhs’ most divine shrine, a place where followers of varied religious beliefs meet in unison.
Enter through the main arched gateway and pause to examine the imposing clock tower. See portraits of Sikh gurus and warriors in the Central Sikh Museum. Join the hordes of devotees and sadhus (holy men) who circumambulate the Amrit Sarovar (Pool of Nectar) via the marble parikrama (pathway). Spot temples, monuments and bathing pools, where worshippers lay offerings and cleanse themselves in the holy water.
On the west side of the pool a causeway leads to the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple). Marvel at the exquisitely decorated marble walls, gilded upper level, gleaming dome and lavish golden interior. Listen to priests sing hypnotic Gurmukhi chants that resonate throughout the complex. Watch respectfully as devotees wait patiently to pay homage to the Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh holy book).
Go to the Guru-Ka-Langar, a huge communal kitchen that showcases Sikhism’s generosity. Enjoy a free meal of dal (lentils) and chapatti (flatbread), proudly prepared by volunteers for thousands of pilgrims. Visitors can help with the bread-making too. Visit the Akal Takht (Throne of the Almighty) to see displays of ancient Sikh weapons and observe prayer recitals by a sword-wielding priest.
The temple sits in Amritsar’s lively historic centre. It’s less than a 10-minute walk to major city attractions such as Katra Jaimal Singh Market and Jaillanwala Bagh. Use the free bus service available between the temple and Amritsar Junction train station.
The Golden Temple is open daily and admission is free. Make sure to remove your shoes, cover your head and wash your hands and feet before entering. Remember to walk clockwise around the pool. Brochures and guides are available from the information centre at the main entrance. Find more details on the temple’s official website.