Golden Temple, is the holiest shrine in Sikhism and one of the most spiritual places in India. But don’t be fooled by the temple’s spiritual reputation – this place has a lot of hospitality and delicious food to offer.
First things first: make sure to take off your shoes and socks and wash your feet in the shallow foot baths before entering the temple compound. And don’t forget to dress appropriately – cover your body and head as a sign of respect. Scarves can be borrowed or bought from the souvenir hawkers for INR 10, but it’s better to carry your own.
Once inside, you’ll be mesmerized by the stunning golden architecture of the temple and the shimmering second level that seems to float at the end of a long causeway. This is where the priests and musicians chant the Guru Granth Sahib, creating an intense religious atmosphere. But don’t worry if you’re not religious – the temple is open to devotees of all faiths.
After paying your respects at the Hari Mandir, head to the enormous dining room, Guru-Ka-Langar, for some free food. Yes, you read that right – FREE FOOD. And not just any food, mind you, but mouth-watering Prasad. The langar serves an estimated 60,000 to 80,000 pilgrims a day and is often touted as the World’s Largest Free Kitchen. The food is vegetarian, so everyone can eat together as equals. But don’t just eat and run – the pilgrims often make donations and offer to help with the washing up.
Did you know that sitting cross-legged beside the tank is a sign of respect? But more importantly, do NOT dip your feet in the water. And if you’re looking to take some photos, you’re in luck – photography is permitted near the walkway surrounding the tank, but not inside the Golden Temple itself.
The Golden Temple has a rich history, too. It was constructed in 1574 and has been restored and embellished continuously over the years. In the 19th century, Maharaja Ranjit Singh had the dome inlaid with 100 kgs of gold and decorative marble.
All in all, the Golden Temple is a mesmerizing blend of Hindu and Islamic architectural styles and a truly exquisite attraction. So, if you’re ever in Amritsar, don’t forget to visit and experience the hospitality, spirituality.