Situated at the end of a long causeway, the Golden Temple is a unique blend of Islamic and Hindu architecture. Everyone, irrespective of caste and creed, are welcome at Harmandir Sahib, and there are four doors to the temple representing this openness of the Sikhs towards all people and religions.
People from all over the world who have faith in “Sikhism” aspire to visit the Golden Temple at least once in their lifetime.
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Walking thru the causeway to the Golden Temple. While in the inner sanctum, priest and musicians chant from the Guru Granth Sahib ( the Sikh Holy Book). Our guide took us in a side entrance and allowed us to take pictures, no flash, but I don’t think this was norm for the masses.
The towering statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh at Chowk Phowara.
The “Langar” or free kitchen has approximately 50-100 thousand people that come here to eat everyday and increases on week-ends and special days. It takes many volunteers to keep this going 24 hours a day! Not just the preparation of food but cleaning the many thousands of metal plates and bowls. People from any community can serve as volunteers. The utensils are washed in three round to ensure everything is perfectly clean to be used again. Hot, but simple roti (flat Indian Bread), lentil soup and rice.
All diners must sit on the floor as equals, irrespective of caste, class or creed.
The first picture, on the right of the Golden Temple, between the 2 minarets, is where the food is prepared and served.
Some of the ladies who volunteer to prepare food. Photos from just outside of the Golden Temple Complex of the shopping area, no cars allowed. Some of the building, the post office, as an example is from the British era.
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre site is located near the Golden Temple Complex and covers approx. 6 acres. It’s a public garden and memorial that was established in 1951. On April 13, 1919 British troops fired machine guns into a crowd of Sikhs during a peaceful celebration of the Punjabi New Year. There were many fatalities and 1100 wounded. Many died by jumping into a well to escape the shooting, 120 bodies were removed from the well. Some historians consider this episode a step towards the end of British rule in India.
Our last day in India, we are flying out of Amritsar Airport to New Delhi late afternoon, then on to Newark, NJ, next to Charlotte, NC to pick up our vehicle then drive 4 hours home tomorrow!