Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Golden Temple – Holy Shrine of the Sikhs!!

Of days gone by...this February during my solo all India motorcycle journey… 

During my stay at Amritsar, I had visited the Jallianwala Bagh, seen the parade at the Wagah Border, walked the vibrant bazaars and had tasted the mouth watering Amritsari Kulchas. The only thing remaining on my agenda was a visit to the Golden Temple or Harmandir Sahib, one of the oldest Sikh gurudwaras and the holy shrine of the Sikhs.

It was a bright morning and I walked through quiet lanes to reach the golden temple (Harmandir Sahib). I left my footwear at the massive footwear stall, tried my bandana on my head (as it is mandatory to cover one’s head before they enter the temple), washed my feet at the small water pool and as I went speechless on seeing this beautiful piece of architecture. The setting was heavenly. As it was a bright and sunny day, the gold on the temple shone and it was contrasted picturesquely by the blue of the surrounding lake and the sky. Following this speechless moment, I went round the entire Harmandir Sahib complex. I found out that there were entrances on all four sides of the temple and many shrines to past Sikh gurus, Saints and Martyrs inside the temple complex. There are three holy trees (bers) which are associated with a historical event or Sikh saint.

As I walked towards the main shrine, I saw scores of devotees taking a dip in the lake of holy water that surrounds the golden temple. As I reached the main temple entrance, I saw people being frisked by the security personnel. Only bare minimum accessories are allowed inside. And thanks to some prior guidance from my hotel, I had come prepared with just my sunglasses, bandana and camera. Once I had joined the crowd, I was told not to take photographs by a security guard. I respected his statement and stopped taking pictures, though there were some folks who didn’t seem to bother. After a decent wait with the crowd, I was finally able to enter the main shrine. This is where Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is present. It is the eternal guru of Sikhism and is their holiest literature. The prayer session was in progress. The entire place had a very peaceful note to it.

On my way back, I stopped to admire the huge school of fishes that inhabit the lake that surrounds the golden temple. And, went round the entire Harmandir Sahib complex one more time to soak in the precious moment. A very beautiful, peaceful and holy (of course) place to visit.

To see India through the eyes of a motorcyclist’s lens, visit the album below.

my solo all-india motorcycle journey

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