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The Harmandir Sahib (or Darbar Sahib or Hari Mandir) in Amritsar, Punjab, is the holiest shrine in Sikhism. Previously and still more commonly known as the Golden Temple, it was officially renamed Harmandir Sahib in March 2005, Hari meani God, Gods Temple.
Unlike many historical sacred sites, the Golden Temple of Amritsar is still fully alive with religious fervor and sacredness, and visitors are welcomed to join in the experience. Although the building itself has great historical and architectural interest, it is the Golden Temple’s great spiritual meaning for Sikh believers (and others) that is most memorable to visitors. In a country that is exceptionally rich with vibrant devotion, the Golden Temple is referred to as “the most tangibly spiritual place in the country.”
It is believed that originally a small lake in the midst of a quiet forest, the site has been a meditation retreat for sages since deep antiquity ranging from the Ramayana era. The Buddha is known to have spent time at this place in contemplation. Two thousand years after Buddha’s time, another philosopher-saint came to live and meditate by the peaceful lake. This was Guru Nanak Dev Ji, (1469-1539), the first Sikh Guru and founder of the Sikh religion.
The vision of a central place of prayer was envisioned by the Third Guru, Guru Amar Das Ji. By Dukh Bhanjani Beri, Guru Amar Das sought to build a place of Worship close to the nearby pool, said to have natural healing abilities. It is believed that a herb given by Guru Amar Das Ji, cured Guru Angad Dev Ji (Second Sikh Guru) of a skin ailment.
Guru Ram Das Ji named the Tree or Ber, Dukh Bhanjani Beri – “The Tree that dispelled sorrow”. The healing powers of the Sarovar (Lake) and the faith of Bibi Rajni are popularly referred to when speaking of Dukh-Bhanjani Beri. Sri Guru Ram Das Ji and his successor Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji went on to create The Harimandir Sahib temple around a small pool that had these healing powers. The name of the city derives from the name of the Amrit Sarovar, pool around the Golden Temple and means “holy pool of immortal nectar”.
Attractions of Golden Temple: Ber Baba Budha Ji, Guru Ka Langar, Akal Thakt Sahib, Thara Sahib, Ath Sath Tirath (68 holy places condensed into one), Dukh Bhanjni Ber (Jujube Tree), Gurdwara llachi Ber and Gurdwara Shaheed Bunga Baba Deep Singh. One must visit Amritsar to visit the Golden Temple, it is truly a spiritually breathtaking sight, there are many cheap flights to Amritsar from UK.