The Golden Temple is the most famous attraction in Amritsar, a city in the northern Indian state of Punjab. There is a scenic pool around the temple, and the city’s name comes from that pool, which means “Holy Tank of Nectar of Immortality”. The temple is made of pure gold, and it got this golden glow after more than 200 years of its original construction. Also called Sri Harmandir Sahib, it draws people from across the globe, irrespective of their religion or race, although it’s primarily the place of worship for the Sikhs. Plus, it is said to have the largest free community kitchen in the world. The water feature and the spectacular buildings around this religious sanctuary makes it a beauty to behold. It’s especially beautiful at night, when it’s imposing gold dome is attractively lit up. Discover how best to enjoy your trip with this ultimate guide to Golden Temple, Amritsar.
Things to do / Highlights
Tour the temple complex
See or join the crowds as they circle the holy lake to pay their respect. After that, please make your way to the Golden Temple, situated in the center of the water body, and admire its sacred architecture. You can take beautiful photos around the temple, excluding the inner section, where the Adi Granth (holy book) is kept.
There’s a free community kitchen on the sanctuary’s premises, the largest on the planet, serving free vegetarian food to more than 100,000 people every day. Volunteers serve chai, yogurts, rotis, and lentil dal. These selfless individuals cook these meals around the clock, and you can join them and help out. The food in this venue never finishes, and everyone is served to the fill regardless of nationality or belief.
Admire the beauty of the temple at night
The temple looks particularly arresting after the sun goes down. Take your camera along and capture the great reflection of the golden dome on the lake at night.
Witness the Adi Granth rituals during the day and at night
The holy book — Guru Granth Sahib — is taken in and out of the temple daily through rituals. It is treated as a living person, or guru. Throughout the day, the book, which contains the Sikhism scriptures, is read by three men over loudspeakers. Two massive screens show the transcription of what is being read in different languages, including English. In the evening, four men take the Adi Granth back into the temple or “put to bed” while saying some prayers and chanting. The locals greatly revere these ceremonies, and it’s a must-have experience.
Some of the popular festivals that you should definitely attend when in Amritsar include the Lohri, which is a bonfire harvest festival held in the month of January, and Baisakhi, which is a Punjab new year held in April. These festivals highlight folk music, dance, and more. Other popular festivals include Holi and Diwali.
Where to eat
You can eat langar at the temple and even volunteer at the temple’s community kitchen. Plus, there are plenty of eateries near the temple complex. We’d recommend visiting Kesar Da Dhaba, which is a five-minute walk away from the temple. It is more than a century-old eatery, and serves delicious vegetarian fare.
Kesar Da Dhaba
Address: Chowk Passian, gali rajpura, near Telephone Exchange, Amritsar, Punjab 143001
Website: Kesar Da Dhaba
Opening hours: 12pm - 11pm (daily)
The winters in this town are very cold, while summers are hot. February, March, October, and November are the ideal months to pay a visit to this holy site.
Be free with everyone
The Golden Temple is one of the friendliest places to visit in India. Majority of the people you’ll find here love to talk about their religion. So, be open-minded and make new friends worldwide.
In case you need to use the bathroom, ask around. Better still, make your way to the back of the complex close to the information office, and you’ll find a restroom.
Both men and women are required to cover their heads before entering the temple. Before entering the temple, you must remove your shoes and walk in the pool for cleansing.
Traditional scarfs and other things related to the temple are sold near the complex, at low prices. You can get some of these beautiful items as souvenirs, too.
How to get there
By free shuttle
If you’re coming to the city by train, you can get a free trip to the venue via one of the temple management’s buses that frequent the station. However, these buses are mostly crowded, especially at peak times, and may not be convenient.
By Hop-on, Hop-Off bus tour
This bus tour agency offers a more convenient way to get to the Golden Temple and other attractions around the city faster. It has a pick-up spot close to the airport and rail station and connects 11 top attractions in Amritsar.
Golden Temple information
Address: Golden Temple Rd, Atta Mandi, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab 143006, India
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
Official website: Golden Temple
Department of tourism: Visit Punjab
Duration: 2 to 3 hours
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