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Finding Peace at the Golden Temple

Unlike the rest of Amritsar’s hyperactive streets, visiting the Golden Temple is one of the most serene and humbling experiences. The legendary temple is actually just a small part of this huge gurdwara complex, known to Sikhs as Harmandir Sahib (or Darbar Sahib). In the early 19th century, 100 kg of gold were applied to the inverted lotus-shaped dome and decorative marble was added. All this gold and marble work took place under the patronage of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

The Golden Temple is a celebration of architecture, aesthetics, equality and piety. It is not only one of the most delightful temple complexes in India, with its large tank and glittering gold and white marble buildings, but it’s also one of the friendliest. Male or female, white or coloured, religious or not, all are welcome here.

This syncretism has been a part of the Golden Temple from its very inception. Construction of the Golden Temple began in 1574 on land donated by the Mughal Emperor Akbar. The building project, overseen by the fourth and fifth Sikh Gurus has been sacked and rebuilt so many times that it combines the old and the new in successful harmony.

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