Visiting The Golden Temple of Amritsar – A Highlight

 

In my opinion, this temple easily rivals and, dare I say, surpasses the world-famous Taj Mahal. Less visited by tourists, the Golden Temple is absolutely immaculate. It sits in the most beautiful of settings with marble inlay walkways and a sacred water tank for devotees (and non-devotees) to immerse in.

The temple itself isn’t very large but its call to glory comes from the dome gilded in 750kg of pure gold. Formally known as Harmandir Sahib, this complex is the holiest (and largest) Sikh gurdwara located in the northern state of Punjab.

 
10653292_10153180723027853_6955273264839892782_n
 
Sikhism is an independent religion (no relation to Hinduism or Islam) fundamentally based on the belief of unity and equality of all humankind. In Sikhism, both men and women are of equal standing in every way and both have the same rights. It’s one of the most accepting and peaceful religions that exists. In case you’re wondering, Sikh men are the ones who wear turbans to cover their hair (which they NEVER cut). I just love how stylish these guys wore their turbans each with a different color!

Interesting fact: Sikh men are expected to wear at all times what is known as the 5 K’s consisting of the following:

  • Kesh (uncut hair hence the turban)
  • Kangha (a small wooden brush)
  • Kara (a metal bracelet)
  • Kachera (an undergarment)
  • Kirpan (a dagger)

 

11041777_10153180727137853_6965955937875346939_n

 

As in most temples, shoes were not allowed but there were counters just outside the complex where visitors’ shoes were kept in exchange for a coupon – this service was also free. Most temples don’t allow pictures but no such restrictions apply at Harmandir Sahib except when entering the Golden Temple itself where ceremonies are given (and even televised) all day long. Something else that differed from most temples was that both men and women needed to cover their heads.

On the day we went to the temple, temperatures dropped to one-digit and the air was thick with fog. I wasn’t too keen on removing my shoes but Sikhs are the best – there were several hot water walkways throughout the temple complex for visitors’ to soak their feet – what a treat! The first such walkway was at the entrance of the complex so visitors can respectfully rinse their feet clean before entering the holy site.

 

11018907_10153180694072853_3864958092960182167_n

 

10313049_10153180695592853_1122801480290301869_n

 

10931035_10153180723042853_4460469531869933652_n

 

11037640_10153180694377853_2611090744581259522_n

 

11046844_10153180723912853_1008760274320332236_n

 

We were impressed with how well-organized everything was making our visit very enjoyable and carefree. Everyone walked in an orderly manner in the same direction – a rarity in chaotic India. The entrance is free and people of all faiths and backgrounds are welcome to visit the temple. All visitors are also welcome to have a sit down meal offered gratuitously from morning to night. Hundreds of volunteers cook, serve and wash dishes for up to 100,000 visitors per day.

The Golden Temple was such a magical place – much less commercialized and much more genuine than the Taj Mahal. In a time of religious confusion and lack of acceptance in the world, it was touching to be so kindly welcomed not only as non-Sikhs but as foreigners as well.

 

10983153_10153180696007853_5639680569657046139_n

 

 

Enjoyed this article? Please pin it!

 

goldentemple

 

Have you been to the Golden Temple in Amritsar? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

 

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP
Travel & design inspirations straight to your inbox. Subscribe to my newsletter & never miss a post!
No spamming. Your email address will not be sold or shared.
  • Gurjit Kaur Bedi

    Not only men but even Women must have the 5 Ks. Every Sikh should have them.

    • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

      Really? That’s really interesting! I never noticed women carrying a kirpan. Will try to notice next time I run into some Sikh women. 🙂

      • Gurjit Kaur Bedi

        They wear it under their clothes… probably why you never saw them…:)
        But usually it’s only the Khalsa who actually wears all the 5Ks, others will only wear the Kara and keep their kesh like my family does… women who keep their kesh will wear turban as well 🙂
        Sikh is all about equality, even with gender, so if a man does the woman is doing it too… 😀

        • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

          Thanks for the explanation! I love how everything is truly gender equal in Sikhism!

          • Gurjit Kaur Bedi

            It really is, I was brought up on a higher status than my brothers… not really equality but my parents made sure I knew being a girl is great… and now I am a little bit too proud being a girl 😂

          • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

            Haha…..that’s great! The world needs more parents raising their girls like that – kudos to them!

  • Natalie Tanner

    This is so interesting… I love that you walk through water to rinse your feet… clever idea. The best part of visiting such a place is, as you mentioned, to bask in love and acceptance which, as you said, is sadly lacking in the world. Will not miss this place when we get a chance to visit India!!

  • Whoa…I never heard of this place! What a hidden gem. It looks insanely beautiful. I can’t believe it was that cold when you went though, geez.

  • Wanderers Hub

    Really glad to know that you loved the Golden Temple. It sure is a jewel of India and quite beautiful in all ways!

  • I can quite imagine the great you must have have had. I can never forget my own trip to the Golden Temple.It is so peaceful with the non-stop chanting from the holy book. The awesome free “langar” food is something to crave for.

  • Joseph Humphreys

    More beautiful than the Taj Mahal you say? Guess I’ll have to find out for myself one day. The Taj Mahal is overrun by visitors, but with good reason: it is an exceptionally beautiful building. But I have heard such great things about this place too, and coupled with the warm welcome you received, I think this place will have to be on my ‘must see’ list when I return to India 🙂

  • What an awesome experience! I’m very fascinated with the Sikh culture and would visit Amritsar for that fact alone. The Golden Temple sounds very fascinating as well. Thanks for reporting of an off the beaten path landmark 🙂

  • La Vida Viva Travel

    Nice to have an alternative to the Taj Mahal which I’m sure is always full of tourists. Sounds like a great (and cold) learning experience for you too. Nice pics!

  • Daphne Foo

    This is great experience. I was so close yet so far to Amritsar when I toured around Himachal Pradesh this August. Now, I have to go to Amritsar next.

  • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

    Architecturally-speaking the Taj Mahal is amazing but, like you said, I felt it was way too commercialized and lacked any substance. The Golden Temple was amazing on all levels. 🙂

  • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

    I was only in Pushkar to take a bus but I wish I would’ve stayed for a while. Sikhism is a very endearing religion and Sikhs are just so welcoming! The 5 K’s are indeed very interesting.

  • I have never heard of Sikhism, so I will definitely be looking into that. I think it’s great that there is a religion which states all men and women are equal. I would love to visit The Golden Temple one day! Sounds like a very nice and welcoming place! Thanks for educating us all!

  • Wow this temple looks beautiful! I imagine it is a really peaceful and calm place to visit – its going on my list! Great post 🙂

  • Smidge

    This is beautiful and it’s great to learn more about the religion. I love the fact men and women are equal. I also love the turbans – the guys look so sharp!

  • How beautiful, I have heard from more than a couple of others that the Golden Temple is even nicer than the Taj. Perhaps because there are less tourists there so it may feel more authentic. Very informative post too, thank you for teaching me a few things!

  • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

    Hi Neha! I really hope you get to visit the Golden Temple. It was a wonderful experience and I would recommend for anyone to go.

  • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

    It must be wonderful with the sunlight shining on all that gold! I guess the gold would go for today’s rate which I have no idea about but it must be worth a lot of money!

  • Hope you enjoyed the Golden Temple but it’s more of a place for prayers than the Taj Mahal. Did you try out the Langar??

    • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

      Hi Sudipto! The Golden Temple was a highlight of my trip to India. I understand it doesn’t hold the same significance as the Taj Mahal but my experience was much more genuine and touching. I don’t know about the Langar – will have to look that up. So many places to see in India!

      • Gurjit Kaur Bedi

        Langar is the food offering at the Golden Temple. It is not a place 🙂

        • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

          Haha!! Oops…..well I did try the Langar and liked it! Thanks for clarifying! 🙂

  • Gokul

    I have never been there. I also have heard about the food. I will visit there as my travel plans are kind off scheduled till March 17.

    • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

      It’s quite an amazing place but not everyone has the same experiences so let me know if you go and what your thoughts are. 🙂

  • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

    Oh no….that means you need to go back! The Golden Temple was a highlight of our nearly 2 months in India. 🙂

  • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

    India is a crazy, beautiful country! You can read all about my travels here: http://lifeuntraveled.com/i-n-d-i-a/. Glad you enjoyed reading about the Golden Temple – I loved it! 🙂

  • Punita Malhotra

    Did you enjoy the food and specially the sweet halwa which is a special feature of all Gurudwaras? You’re right…the humility and hospitality of Sikhs is unparalleled and the religious sentiment is unlike any other.

    • Lydia@Lifeuntraveled.com

      I did enjoy the food and I was in awe at the Sikhs’ generosity and hospitality. I would recommend to anyone to visit the Golden Temple – it was a great experience!