The Inspiration and Vision of the Golden Temple of Amritsar
Built by Arjan Dev in the 16th century, the Golden Temple of Amritsar is a point of pilgrimage and reconciliation for the Sikh religion.
For many, India represents a constant strife for the body and soul. ––It is such a delirious land, with such tremendous cultural wealth, that it never seizes to gloriously shock Western travelers in general.
In downtown Amristar, capital of Punjabi India, shines the magnificent Harmandir Sahib, better known as the Golden Temple, which was built by the respected Sikh teacher Guru Arjan Dev in the 16th century. Sikh is a monotheistic religion that means “disciples” in Sanskrit, and its members are considered a warrior cast, even if they themselves oppose the system of castes, instead promoting equality and peace.
The Golden Temple is open to any visitor, just as long as they agree to purify before entering by taking off their shoes, cleaning their feet, and coming in with their heads veiled. Some Sikh temples even offer delicious food to visitors. For its magnificent splendor––from afar it seems to float over a mirror of water–– it is often a destiny for pilgrimage. This rectangular pool symbolizes the divine and helps those visiting the temple experience one of the principle teachings of the doctrine: to live on earth while always keeping an eye on the divine.
The temple’s aesthetic, especially its domed roof bathed in gold, combines Islamic and Hindu architecture and is simply stunning. The structure also houses the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the most important of the sacred books for the Sikhs, which is considered to be dictated directly from God.
According to the Sikh tradition, the Golden Temple is designed by the principles of humility and brotherhood––a spirit which materializes in a huge building adjacent to the temple, where everyone is welcome to spend the night and feed at pleasure.
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