Saturday, August 28, 2010

Golden Temple

Harmandir Sahib ("hari ka mandir") is the holiest shrine of the Sikhs. It is open to all, and I think it remains open at all hours of the day, the night visit being somewhat special, to get to watch the Harmandir Sahib bathed in the light of the night.

Harmandir Sahib - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Harmandir Sahib[3] (Punjabi: ਹਰਿਮੰਦਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ) or Darbar Sahib[4] (Punjabi: ਦਰਬਾਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ ), informally reffered to as The Golden Temple,[5] is the holiest shrine in Sikhism. It is located in the city of Amritsar, which was established by Guru Ram Das, the fourth guru of the Sikhs and is known as "guru di nagri" meaning city of the Sikh Guru.
I shot some six or seven photos, meaning to use them to stitch together into a widescreen image. This one below, I used three. You can see the Harmandir Sahib in the center, and parts of the Akal Takht at the right.
Panoramic shot of the Golden Temple

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The Harmandir Sahib is considered holy by Sikhs because the eternal Guru of Sikhism, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, is always present inside in it and its construction was mainly intended to build a place of worship for men and women from all walks of life and all religion to come and worship God equally. [6][7] The Sri Guru Granth Sahib is the holiest literature in the Sikh religion [8], the tenth Guru of Sikhism, Guru Gobind Singh on 7th October 1708 at Nanded made it the eternal Sikh Guru and the leader of Sikhism. [9]

I love this shot below. By using the zoom lens at the zoom end of the lens, and keeping the aperture as wide open as I could, everything in the background is blurred out, only the Sikh,  known as a "sewadar" (सेवादार), and his spear in sharp focus. And the expression on his face - a remarkable mix of gravitas and authority, yet something mature and gentle too in his eyes. Yes, I am glad I shot this photo. The only regret is that I should have spent some time and tried to get the Harmandir Sahib in the background.

During the leadership of the fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Dev (1581-1606), the full-fledged Temple was built. In December 1588 the great Muslim Sufi saint of Lahore, Hazrat Mian Mir, who was a close friend of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, initiated the construction of the temple by laying the first foundation stone (December 1588 AD).[12][13] A mason then straightened the stone but Guru Arjan Dev told him that, as he had undone the work just completed by the holy man, a disaster might come to the Harmandir Sahib. It was later attacked by the Mughals. [Wikipedia page on Golden Temple] [Wikipedia page on Golden Temple]

A posse of tourists getting snapped with the Harmandir Sahib in the background
Anyone who wants to enter the Harmandir Sahib may do so, irrespective of religion, colour, creed or sex. The only restrictions are that the person must not drink alcohol, eat meat or smoke cigarettes or other drugs while in the shrine. Visitors are, as well, expected to dress appropriately and everyone must cover their heads as a sign of respect, remove their shoes and wash their feet in the small pool of water as they enter the Harmandir Sahib premises. Head scarves are provided. [Wikipedia page on Golden Temple]

Marble plaques from people who have donated money to the Golden Temple

Embedded photo, linked to from Wikipedia (
Photographer: John Edward Saché
Medium:Photographic print, 23.6x28.2 centimetres
Collection from the 'Lee-Warner Collection: 'Bombay Presidency. William Lee Warner C.S.
Date: 1870s

© 2010, Abhinav Agarwal. All rights reserved.