Golden Temple of Amritsar, India's shining star
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When we traveled to India, we visited Punjab and witnessed the Golden Temple of Amritsar.
Updated: January 2019
Dave only had one place on his list of places to photograph in India, and the Golden Temple of Amritsar was the place.
Have fun with our video
The holiest place of Sikhism
The Golden Temple of Amritsar is the holiest place of Sikhism. This temple invites everyone to enjoy its beauty and spirituality.
It does not matter for your race, belief or culture. Everyone is welcome.
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We woke up early after arriving in Amritsar late in the sleeper train from Delhi.
Amritsar is located in Punjab, 460 km from Delhi.
Men and women must cover their heads out of respect before entering the Golden Temple. And like so many other sacred places, shoes are not allowed.
But this temple has a small twist to walk barefoot.
Before you enter, walk through a foot bath to make sure your feet are clean.
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Founded in the 15thth By Guru Nanak's frustration with the caste system and the rituals of other religions, Sikhism became all-inclusive
Much of the religion is based on science. As people explained Sikhism to us, we began to understand its meaning.
Women have perfect equality and may even be the head of religion.
Unlike the Pope of Catholicism or the Dalai Lama of Buddhism, a woman can lead the Sikhs. That's when she is elected.
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The Sikh religion is a democracy, and anyone can rule it.
You do not have to be born or ordained as the head of religion, you are elected to a committee.
If you are not satisfied with your work, you can be replaced at the next election.
The Sikhs are all inclusive, and that shows in the Golden Temple.
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The Baba Budha Ji laid the foundation for the Golden Temple after sleeping under a tree at its present location.
In 1506 he camped under this exact tree, which is still standing today.
He built the sacred tank surrounding the temple today.
It is filled with holy water and people bathe in the temple to wash away the sins and keep the disease out.
On entering the Golden Temple, people bathe in the holy moat The holy tank
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Ment bath outdoors, but women have a private area where they bathe.
Sikhism is the only religion that promotes full equality between women and men.
Unlike the Pope in Catholicism or the Dalai Lama in Buddhism, a woman can lead in Sikhism if she is elected.
100,000 people eat here one day
It is free to enter the temple and they will even feed you for your efforts to visit.
The Golden Temple feeds up to 100,000 people daily from the complimentary, volunteer-operated kitchen.
It is an amazing achievement in itself, but even more amazing is that it has gone on for 450 years without a single day.
No matter what your position in life is, everyone is eating together on the floor.
You may be sitting next to a celebrity, a royal house or the president.
It does not matter who you are, they are all treated the same way.
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The food is clean and tasty and the 450-year practice is obvious as it feeds thousands of people at the same time within 10 minutes.
Dahl, Chapati, Ghee and Aloo Gobi are on the menu and are cooked to perfection.
When done, pick up your stainless steel bowl and bring it to the next wash station.
It is a fascinating experience that should not be missed.
Our time in the Golden Temple of Amritsar
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Our hotel was only a 5 minute walk from the temple.
We put on our headscarves and checked our shoes. We knew we were about to enter something special.
As we crossed the foot bath, the glowing temple appeared before us.
Dave and I are usually unenthusiastic about temples, but this one is amazingly impressive and beautiful.
It's not a big temple, but it's amazing.
Built in 1577, the dome of the temple is gilded with 750 kg of pure gold.
The temple complex
The complex around the temple adds to its beauty.
A marble train station surrounds the temple with milky white buildings that protect it on all four sides.
It is located in the middle of a moat or sacred tank, as it is called.
Men and women bow to their glory in prayer.
We had never felt so welcome.
Many people rejoiced that we could visit their shrine and experience their way of life.
They stopped to take pictures with us.
They stopped to talk to us and tell us the story of Sikhism.
Punjab is full of some of India's richest people. When they heard that we were from Canada, they knew our country well.
Many of the people we met actually lived in Canada and were in India to visit relatives.
Others told us how they said they were going to Canada to study, or how they had relatives in Canada and visited.
Other conversations in the Golden Temple than in other places in India
The conversations were not the usual "Where are you from?", "What's your name?" – exchanges we normally have in India.
In Amritsar we conducted extensive discussions about Sikhism, India and Canada.
In my humble opinion, the Sikh religion is probably one of the least understood religions on the planet.
But we learned a lot during our time in the Golden Temple. We would like to share what we have learned there about Sikhism.
It is easy to spend hours in the Golden Temple.
The complex is located in the center of the city Amritsar and can be seen from anywhere.
As you walk along the marble path, the soothing song of the musicians and priests singing from the sacred book resounds from the speakers.
Do not worry, Sikhs do not believe in noise pollution, so the speakers are set to a comfortable volume and respect that the sound is not far from the complex walls.
After a few hours we finally made our way to the entrance of the Golden Temple. The crowd was thick, but neat.
Until we finally made it to the entrance. It pushed and pushed from everywhere to get inside.
We could not understand the rush because you can spend as much time as you like.
The main level consists of musicians with holy men sitting in the middle.
They play and sing constantly from sun to sunset.
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They recite alternately every two hours.
The book is displayed under a white cloth and people throw money in the middle as if their life depended on it.
We went to the other two levels and enjoyed the view while others prayed around us and listened to the words.
The golden temple of Amritsar is peaceful and beautiful.
We plan to revisit the temple at different times of the day to enjoy the beauty and the different energies at different times of the day.
Golden Temple at night
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The nighttime must not be missed. The temple glitters under the lights and the mood is calm and quiet.
It is a haven in this hectic country known as India, which is surely our favorite destination in the country. If you want to make the long journey to India, be sure to add the Amritsar Golden Temple to your itinerary. We loved it more than the Taj Mahal. It was a righteous experience, more of a pilgrimage destination than a tourist destination.
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In our opinion, this is the most important temple in India.
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