Harmandir Sahib – A Remarkable Temple in India
Harmandir Sahib is first and foremost a symbol of equality, tolerance and harmony. It is a place of worship where people from all walks of life are welcomed, regardless of their gender, belief and origin. Also known as the Golden Temple, it is an important Sikh Gurdwara in India. Gurdwara translates to “the gateway to the guru” and it is the name given to Sikh temples.
To further emphasize the open character of the temple, the building features four entrances, one on each side, welcoming people from all corners of the world. The Guru Granth Hasib, which is the main religious text of Sikhism, is always present inside the Harmandir Sahib, and it represents an important part of the spiritual ceremonies (readings) that believers gather to attend to.
The name Harmandir Sahib means Temple of God, and the building is made of white marble, lavishly decorated with gold leaf. It stands in the middle of a pool of holy water known as a sarovar. The clear, reflective water and the shimmer of the golden structure make the temple look ethereal at sunrise. Sikhs perform ritualistic cleanses in the surrounding water, which comes from River Ravi, but whose origins are believed to be in the Ganges.
This remarkable building has been around since the 16th century, only in a different form, as it has suffered destruction a couple of times, requiring extensive renovation. Today it still represents the most important temple of Sikhism, and it is visited by an average of 100,000 people daily. Admirably, Harmandir Sahib also represents one of the largest free kitchens in the world, offering food to its visitors every single day.