The Golden Temple is located in the sacred city of Amritsar and considered the spiritual centre of Sikh religion. Also called Sri Harmandir Sahib, it was founded by the fourth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Ram Das and completed by his successor Guru Arjan Dev in the 14th century.
The temple architecture of Harmandir Sahib is a combination of Hindu and Muslim styles that was built between 1588 and 1601. It is stands in the middle of a Sarovar (tank) on a 67ft square platform, impacting its tremendous architectural brilliance of its panelling and big dome and small minarets which attracts the attention of numerous tourists around the world, as well as by people of all religions. The temple has four doors each one of them on the East, West, North and South. Visited by the Sikh devotees from all parts of the world due to be the holiest shrine for the people of Sikh religion.
The fifth Nanak, Guru Arjan Sahib conceived the idea of creating a central place of worship for the Sikhs, he designed the architecture but the planning to excavate the holy tank was chalked out by the third Nanak, Guru Amardas Sahib who was executed by Guru Ramdas Sahib.
Earlier Guru Sahibs acquired the land for the site on payment or free of cost from the landlords, Zamindars, of native villages. Simultaneously the construction work on the tank (Sarovar) and the town settlement started in 1570. The work on both projects finished in 1577AD.
The actual structure dates back from the 18th century, constructed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The dome is covered by about 100kgs of gold. The Granth Sahib, the holy book treated as guru by the Sikhs, is stored on the temple.
The main structure of Golden Temple is a three-storied one. The front, which faces the bridge, is decorated with repeated cusped arches and the roof of the first floor is at the height of the 26 feet and 9 inches. Its architecture represents a unique harmony between the Muslims and the Hindus way of construction work and this is considered the best architectural specimens of the world.
The Darshani Deori is an arch stands at the shore end of the causeway. Its frame is about 10ft. heigh, 8ft 6inches in breath. The door panes are decorated with artistic style. The bridge is connected with the 13 feet wide 'Pardakshna' (circumambulatory path). It runs round the main shrine and it leads to the 'Har ki Paure' (steps of God). On the first floor of 'Har ki Paure', there is continuous reading of Guru Granth Sahib.
The Akhand Path, an unbroken reading of the Guru Granth Sahib, is held on the first floor of Darbar Sahib. The Sheesh Mahal is an impressive hall covered by mirrors on the top floor.
After that a golden dome was added to the temple, it came to be called the Golden Temple. Visitors can get easily reached to temple via the shopping area of Hall Bazaar. Devotees wash their hands and feet, and cover their heads while entering to the complex via Darshini Darwaza. They then do the 'parikrama' or the round of the smaller homage sites surrounding of the temple.
The parikrama is a wide marbled passageway that encircles the sarovar. The devotees pay obeisance in the 68 revered points located along it. They move in a clockwise direction around the parikrama. The Dukh Bhanjani Ber Tree is one of the primary stops, where people take a holy dip in the sarovar. Behind it, the langar hall symbolises the breaking of all social barriers by making everyone eat together regardless of caste and creed.
The Jubbi Tree has 450 years old and marks the place from where the first high priest of the temple, Baba Buddhaja supervised the construction of the temple. The Ber tree is another homage area to which the two Sikh warriors Sukha Singh and Mehtab Singh tied their horses while slaying Massa Rangar for desecrating the inner sanctum in 1740. Visitors can found the martyrdom of Baba Deep Singh who fought to the death against the Afghan soldiers responsible for attacking the temple.