January 8, 2008

Sikh Golden Temple of Amritsar, India

Location: Golden Temple at Amritsar, India (31° 36' 0 N, 74° 52' 0 E)
Date: 24 June 2007: 6.50am
Camera: Canon 400D with Sigma 17-70mm/f2.8-4.5

The Golden Temple is the most sacred shrine in Sikhism. Its official name is Harmandir Sahib. There are a lot of literarture on the net on the shrine such as this site.
I went to visit the temple in the summer. There are two pilgrim hostels that provide free accommodation right beside the temple complex. It was packed during my two days' visit, so much so that many of the pilgrims brought their own mat and sleep in the huge open courtyard in the middle of the hostels. Like other foreigners, I was lucky as there are separate dormitories reserved only for foreigners.
Visitors to the temple are not allowed to wear shoes or socks. These items can be kept at the cloakroom, in front of the temple, free of charge. Before entering the temple they have to keep their heads covered as well, both men and women. As a result, there are few visitors within the complex during the afternoon- the floor surrounding the pool is made of marble and is VERY hot in the afternoon without any shoes or socks.
There is a community kitchen which serve free vegetarian meals to thousands of people everyday. Here, anyone from any religion can have food together inside the two strorey dinning hall. The chappati, dhal and other dishes are prepared and served by volunteers. There is always loud clanking noise near the kitchen at meal times as the stainless steel trays and cutleries are being washed by the army of volunteers.
The sky brighthened very early in the morning. I am not sure if there are restrictions on industries around the temple, but the sky was fabulously clear with gorgeous clouds during the two days that I was there. The temple complex never closes and so even around 7am, there are plenty of pilgrims already inside the complex. Even though there is singing of the Sikh hymns (all day) and many visitors, the temple has a certain sense of peacefulness and serenity.


Braj kishor Singh said...

very good Information and Picture. I like it.

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Aditi Malhotra said...

Remarkable to get a post where every single line is recounting about the detailed information that i was searching for. Thanks.

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