July 8, 2013

Amritsar and Sikhism

The Golden Temple: Day and then Night.
Pic by Chris Gibson
The Golden Temple: a temple for all!
     Amritsar is a city of 2 million in northwestern India, in the the state of Punjab. It's about 15 miles east of the Pakistan border. What's significant of Amritsar is that it's the spiritual center of Sikhism, and their Golden Temple, the Harimandir Sahib.
     The city of Amritsar was founded in 1577 by Ram Daas, and the Golden Temple was built soon after in the 16th century.  The Harimandir Sahib is considered a holy shrine by the Sikhs. What I really like about this temple is that it was built for worship for men and women, and people of all religions can enter and worship God. 
      We visited the Golden Temple early in the morning (July 10) and the monsoon gave us wind and hard rain all morning. Walking barefoot on the marble pavement in the wind-driven rain made our Temple visit even more surreal. I say surreal because first of all, the people in the Temple were either peacefully enjoying the ambience, or  deep in prayer. Also, the heavy rain did not diminish my experience. I think it just magnified it. In any event, I was grateful it was not hot and sunny. 
      We then made plans to visit the Golden Temple again later in the evening to see the lights. I was dealing with a nagging headache and was  so very tired and I regretted my decision to go, but once we got there (around 6:30 pm), I was rewarded by a beautiful viewing of the Temple lights. Firstly, the setting sun shines right on the gold. Then, the lights are slowly turned on little by little, until it's finally illuminated completely and reflected in the pool.
      I highly recommend a visit to the Golden Temple. There are facilities to store your shoes near the entrance, and if you forget to bring a head cover, you can easily purchase one  for mere pennies. 

No comments: