A glimpse of Golden Temple and Wagah Border in Amritsar – The Vibe you get here is the most positive one
When you are on a trip to North India, a visit to Harmandir Sahib aka Golden Temple (Amritsar Swarn Mandir) is a must. The Golden Temple or ‘gurudwara' is a highly revered Sikh Shrine and symbolizes equality and human brotherhood. One of the holiest pilgrimage sites for the followers of Sikhism and it welcomes everyone irrespective of caste, creed, race, or religion, it touches the lives of all the visitors with its miraculous powers, holiness, a positive aura, space, and abundant grace.
The Golden Temple is very much fascinating as it has those real powers which truly make an individual calm, silent, to enjoy and feel that aura of the temple. The continuous tranquil sound of chanting and tabla beats is paired with the golden glow of the magnificent temple floating in a mirror of still waters is not only the visual delight but also it gives us the vibrancy, positive energy, devotion, and the spirit, it proclaims the spirituality of any soul.
Well, the Golden Temple has four entrances from all four directions which indicate its openness for everyone to its pious darbar. Golden plates surround the upper floor and the dome of Hari Mandir or Darbar Sahib and the temple is embellished with graceful marble sculptures and a holy lake called as “Pool of Nectar”. While at the Golden temple you will be greeted with a “Sat Sri Akal” chant which means “God is a timeless being”.
From the moment I arrived, I felt so soothing and peaceful and I started feeling cheerful and to some extent extraordinary. I was overtaken by the peaceful sounds of chanting, flutes and the string instruments whirred in the background. As I dipped my toe in the entrance's waterway which is a compulsion that all feet must be cleansed before entering. As I was stepping ahead, a tall man dressed in his ‘Chola', Sikh warrior attire approached me and told me we need to remove our shoes as it's an absolute no-no to this scared site.
I descended the white marble steps into the Harmandir Sahib temple and felt a complete and utter separation from the chaotic, consumerist world just footsteps away. The sun shining its brilliant light on the white marble, golden panels, vibrant and colorful kurta, and Kurtis of the thousands of beautiful people.
I was walking towards the Harmindar Sahib, strayed from the carpets to feel the refreshing chill of marble on my feet, partaking in a steady exchange of smile with the other pilgrimage but most of the times were delighted in gazing at the golden gilded temple. I locked eyes and smiled and made friends with incredibly positive people who were sharing their upbeat energy and that made me think how soon we lose energy and motivation in our day-to-day life.
And the very next moment, I was in the queue to enter the temple well some might think it is a long wait, but I relished the opportunity to examine incredible clothing, jewelry, people chanting in the great palpable spirit was a moment which got stored in my eyes. I believe all these beautiful things are adding to the serenity of the Golden Temple.
The opulence and sheer brilliance of the two-floored temple's ornate and intricately carved interior, golden leafed canopy, exquisite flowers, reverberating music, and enthralling Holy Book stand out most in many visitor's memories.
After we have admired the beauty of the gold-gilded temple top and the floral prints on the marble and the marvelous view of the Sarovar from the portico, we head towards Guru ka Langar to accept delicious Kara Prasad. Kara Prasad is a wheat pudding made of wheat flour, clarified butter, and sugar. This is a must-have when you are at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
I found the incredible Langar or the communal dining hall which provides free community meals to 60-80,000 people a day. I was mesmerized and spiritually moved by seeing the unforgettable and unbeatable devotion of the people serving over there. Guru ka Langar serves hot vegetarian meals that can be tasted without any prior reservations. Volunteers come with giant pots and ladled us with Roti (Indian Bread), Rice, Dal (cooked lentils with the Indian spices), and a thick rice pudding called kheer.
This delicious meal can be found at any Sikh Temple. So, this was started by the first Guru of Sikhs, Shri Guru Nanak with a simple idea that everyone regardless of social status or religion, can sit on the ground and partake in the same meal at the same time with the delightful flavor of equality esp. in a country where many religions, many hierarchies with many languages spoken. The Golden temple Langar is open 24 hours and the food is no doubt delicious.
Timings: 7:30 AM – 7:30 PM (summer timings), 8 AM – 7 PM (winter timings)
Tips: Remove your shoes and socks before entering the temple. There is a Shoe Stand at the entrance where we can deposit the shoes. As you enter the temple premise, wash your hands and feet in the shallow foot baths. Also, cover your head with a scarf or handkerchief before entering the Gurudwara.
Months Preferred: If you are planning a trip to Amritsar, the time between October- March is pleasant as it is the best time for sightseeing and witnessing the beauty. Please do not consider taking this trip in the monsoon months of July and August.
A trip to Amritsar is incomplete if you fail to immerse yourself in the nationalistic zeal of the Wagah Border. This border separating India and Pakistan witnessed the ceremony which is conducted every evening here. The ceremony is performed by the soldiers of both the countries as they advance towards the gate when it is opened in the evening. And the national flag of both countries is lowered with reverence as the soldier's salute each other. The ceremony is a must to watch because you get to see the soldier's energy and zeal which is beyond words. This place epitomizes the patriotic spirit.
Timings: 10 am to 4 pm (the ceremony starts from 4:15 pm in summer and 5:15 pm in winter)
Your tour to Amritsar is incomplete if you did not experience the mouth-watering street foods or buying ‘phulkari'- A colorful Stoll or ‘chunni' which an Indian girl uses.
There is a large range of accommodation available in Amritsar, find yours here.
There are many ways to reach Amritsar either by Air, Rail, or Road because it boasts of well-developed infrastructure which allows for easy accessibility from every part of the world. It is very well connected to the outside world by road, rail, or by air.
Never experienced so much peace and silence in one place with so many people around. Amazed by the divine beauty of the Golden Temple. I remember I reached late in Amritsar as the flight got delayed and I just kept my luggage in the Hotel and immediately rushed to Wagah Border as I did not want to miss the ceremony which is performed there every evening without fail. So I couldn't have lunch but while coming I did have something to eat but I got hungry again at night and was looking for nearby shops to have tea and some snacks near Gurudwara as I was staying close by but then one gentleman came and asked, What happened, I said I missed my lunch today and I am hungry now, he immediately replied, ‘are aapne roti nahin khayi, kyu,chaliye Gurudwara waha roti khayega' (Means Didn't you have your food, please go to Gurudwara and have your food). I thanked him but said no, I would like to have tea and some snacks so there I found a tea shop and had some snacks and went back to the hotel. But what I felt over there are people over there are humble and they respect each and everyone irrespective of which state or color or caste you are from. And that is the beauty of Amritsar.