Sri Harmandir Sahib Ji (“The abode of God”), also known as Sri Darbar Sahib Ji, and informally referred to as the Golden Temple, is a Gurdwara located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India. It is one of the most revered spiritual sites of Sikhism.
Amritsar (literally, “the tank of nectar of immortality”) was founded in 1577 by the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das Ji. The fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji, designed the Harmandir Sahib to be built in the center of this tank, and upon its construction, installed the Adi Granth, the holy scripture of Sikhism, inside the Harmandir Sahib. The Harmandir Sahib complex is also home to the Akal Takht (the throne of the timeless one), constituted by the Sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji). While the Harmandir Sahib is regarded as the abode of God’s spiritual attribute, the Akal Takht is the seat of God’s temporal authority.
The construction of Harmandir Sahib was intended to build a place of worship for men and women from all walks of life and all religions to worship God equally. The four entrances (representing the four directions) to get into the Harmandir Sahib also symbolize the openness of the Sikhs towards all people and religions. Over 100,000 people visit the shrine daily for worship, and also partake jointly in the free community kitchen and meal (Langar) regardless of any distinctions, a tradition that is a hallmark of all Sikh Gurudwaras.
The present-day Gurdwara was renovated in 1764 by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia with the help of other Sikh Misls. In the early nineteenth century, Maharaja Ranjit Singh secured the Punjab region from outside attack and covered the upper floors of the Gurdwara with 750 kg of gold, which gives it its distinctive appearance and its English name.