I remember the first time I visited Golden Temple which was soon after my wedding. As fate would have it, there was a special ceremony and I couldn’t enter the Gurudwara because of a never-ending queue. I was baffled by how my husband looked all glum. I didn’t know he had the utmost faith and felt connected with Darbar Sahib. Even the Kara he wears is from the temple and was not just a piece of jewelry. He had then taken me to the Langar and had explained about the selflessness of volunteers and how it was one of the largest free kitchens in the world. But all was lost on this newlywed bride. I never knew anything about the Golden Temple then; never really understood the sanctity of this sacred place.
However, (five years down the lane) today was different.
It was around 8 pm when I walked through the narrow streets of Katra Jaimal Market near Golden Temple. I was a curious child and I needed the reassurance that I would be able to do the darshan at least this time. But I was told by street vendors and autowaalas that in no way was I going to make it to the Gurudwara. I was to expect a long queue especially since it was night and that there would be many pilgrims and tourists engulfing the holiness of the place. But I was determined. I had to get there and I was sure that I would be able to enter the Gurudwara this time around.
As I covered my head with a Phulkari dupatta, removed my stilettos and stepped through the foot bath, each naked foot defying social discrimination, I found myself chanting the Mool Mantar – the important composition contained within the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of Sikhs.
Ek Onkar (There is only One God)
Sat Naam (Eternal and True is His Name)
Karta Purakh (He is the Creator)
Nirbhau (Without Fear)
Nirvair (Without Hate)
Akaal Moorat (Immortal)
Ajooni (Free from Birth and Death)
GurParsad (Realized through the Grace of the Guru)
Jap (Meditate upon His Name)
Aad Sach (For He was True when time began)
Jugaad Sach (He has been True since ages)
Hai Bhi Sach (He is still True)
Nanak Hose Bhi Sach (and True He verily, shall be, O Nanak!)
I walked down the stairs under the clock tower and at the very first sight of Golden Temple at night, I was spellbound. It was the most visually stunning I had ever seen; the most beautiful place I had ever been to. I was truly mesmerized.
A sense of sheer bliss washed over me as I tried to comprehend why the temple is fondly referred to as the Golden Temple.
The gold dome and Gurudwara glistened at night and I instantly made a resolve- come what may, I am doing the Darshan tonight. I sat by the sacred Pool of Nectar that surrounds the Gurudwara and took in the magnanimity of it all. Bathed in beautiful yellow and blue lights, the Golden Temple stood there in all its glory. I instantly felt at peace and could feel the devotion in the air.
There is something so pure in the atmosphere of the Golden Temple that makes you feel calm and serene. It is like finding that tranquil part of yourself. Like soul awakening.
Golden Temple is surrounded by a lake on all three sides with a single bridge connecting across to the Sanctum Sanctorum.
As I took baby steps along the Parikrama Marble path, around the Sarovar to the Gurudwara Lachi Ber, I realized that there aren’t many pilgrims. “It could be a long queue“, I anticipated. But to my surprise, I found only about a hundred people in the queue. I deposited my camera in a hurry and dragged the equally astonished husband to queue on the bridge. Believe it or not, until that very second he was sure that we wouldn’t be able to do the darshan.
As I said, today was different. The line was moving faster while I listened to the Holy Book being read and the chant of musicians and religious leaders from inside the temple.
I was overwhelmed. Overjoyed. Ecstatic. Euphoric. And Humbled.
I don’t understand Gurmukhi (the Sikh script) and the only Gurbani I know is ‘Ik Onkar..’ which I was chanting throughout.
Beautifully adorned and decorated from floor to ceiling, religious leaders intoning from the Holy Book, it was a sight to behold. I was taken aback to find myself in tears. Yes, I am religious. I am spiritual. But this experience was something totally out of the world.
I believe that only when you get the calling from the divine do you get to visit his abode. And that was exactly what had happened this day. I returned to the hotel and looked forward to visiting the temple again the next day.
Visiting the Golden Temple at any time of the day is a memorable affair and the view in the morning is altogether different. The sparkling walls had changed its colors and had taken the beautiful morning glow. There are many more pilgrims offering their prayers and taking a dip in this Holy lake, Amrit Sarovar (Tank of Nectar) for they firmly believe ‘whosoever batheth in thy tank, is rid of his Sins‘.
I again walked along the same path and reached the Sanctum Santorum. This time though, I chose to sit by the Sarovar in prayers and meditation while the husband queued up. “We will head to Guru-ka-Langar once I get back“, he assured. Soaking in the impressive sight in front of me and listening to the mystical chants, I soon found myself drifting away, deep in thoughts.
‘I could live with this all eternity‘, my heart did a flipflop. It was truly at peace, happy and appeased. Seeking His blessings and praying for a Mannat to fulfill, I found myself saying, ‘I’m going to come back again. Soon’.
Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh.
Sri Harminder Sahib or Darbar Sahib, popularly known as the Golden Temple is undoubtedly, the world’s Holiest religious site. Located in the beautiful city of Amritsar, Punjab, the temple is popular because it truly believes in the very essence of Sikhism – Anyone from Anywhere and Any Religion is welcome. Religion and faith have no bar.
… to be continued.
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This post was written in response to the Idea Prompt.
Friday Reflections is a link up hosted by Corinne at Everyday Gyaan and yours truly. We invite you to join us every Friday to share a good cup of tea and your reflections based on the prompts we provide.
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Prompts for 01 June 2018 – choose any one:
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Roshan Radhakrishnan says
Every pic, from so many different angles and even shades of the day, and it still looks so beautiful. I’ve always heard so many glowing words about this place. Have to visit there once.
Manas Mukul says
Really nice post… I am 50% sikh 😀 and have visited the Harmandir Sahib on multiple occasions and it always seems to bring time to a halt…there is something very pious and attracting about this place that you are left spellbound and moved. Great write up where you have used personal discussions and special mention to the amazing pics that you have added. Keep the good work going 🙂
So beautiful pictures and the experience, I am learning the Ik Onkar mantra you shared, May be I will visit the place soon and experience the serenity, Waheguru
Corinne Rodrigues says
You had me enthralled and so wanting to visit too, Shalini. I believe that holy places are so because of they are a repository of the faith of millions through and through so many years.
Shilpa Garg says
There is something so magical about the Golden Temple. You feel so calm and at peace there. The whole place buzzes with some amazing aura. I hope to visit it sometime soon again.
You have captured the beauty of this sacred place so well. Love your pictures.
Darshana Suresh says
Wow. I haven’t been there but you’ve described the visit so beautifully. The view in the photo itself is so enchanting, I can imagine what it must be like to be there.
Reema Dsouza says
The Golden Temple looks wonderful both during night and day. It must have been a wonderful experience. Hope to visit it sometime soon.
Sunita Saldhana says
The pictures are awesome! It is one place I want to visit, but as they say, you are called to such places.
pushpendra dwivedi says
with charm of beauty awesome post
Jhilmil Bhansali says
Entering Golden temple itself is magical. We went there 2 years back in January an despite the chilly cold, the evening chants and the morning aura made me feel so calm and tranquil.
Beautiful pictures. Golden temple glows beautifully in the night. We went to there when we made a halt in Amritsar while returning back to Hyderabad from Ladakh. But unfortunately we were short on time and couldn’t visit inside as we had gone during the peak hours on a weekday. Not going inside is a regret I still have. There was a certain magic in that place and I want to revisit it soon.
its in my wishlist! its so beautiful and peaceful!
Golden temple is the treasure of India. Your pics are amazing and it has created a heavenly vibes.I didn’t visit there still. Will go with my son.
SHALINI BAISIWALA says
I could just empathise with every thing you wrote here Shalini – my first time I too was in tears and felt someone putting their hand on my head and stroking my hair while a voice in my head kept saying its ok!
This is one of the two holy places in India that I felt a genuine faith and peace in – I try to visit here as often as I can and each time the experience leaves me spell bound and sated.
Your pics are stunning – I hope you get to return here soonest! 🙂
It’s all a question of timing Shalini. When the Call comes you go and feel His blessing and presence. I believe many religious places have such a powerful effect even among those who are not really into religious beliefs. Such is the power of the Almighty who blesses all who seek. Stay blessed always.
Manisha Garg says
I truly believe when your calling comes you would get darshan at any holy place. I have been there and its truly special in many ways.
Beautifully narrated. I hope someday I’ll get a chance to visit. I get that same feeling of oneness and serenity when I visit the Mount Mary Church in Mumbai.
Alok Singhal says
What an amazing experience for you this time around! I remember being there decades back…just a faint memory.
Good to see these fantastic pics 😊
I have been to Golden Temple once and your post makes me want to go there again. Loved the pictures, especially the ones at night. And yes there definitely is extreme peace and calm as you enter the Golden Temple complex.
Divyakshi Gupta says
You summed it up so well. The place has a magnetic charm and you expressed it so brilliantly! I am sooo happy you loved it! <3 It is a place too close to my heart!
ujjwal mishra says
I so wanted to be here, hopefully this year I get to visit this place. your blog has already given me a virtual tour.
Supriti Garg says
The aura of Golden Temple is so serene. I could live through the same serenity while reading your blog. It brought back all the memories from the place. And yes, while visiting god it holds true, “Man proposes, God disposes. “
We went to Golden Temple in March this year as a part of our 2 year Anniversary trip. It was such a wonderful experience for us. It is truly one of the most inclusive religious place that I have visited.
prerna wahi says
I have been to Amritsar several times and don’t miss the. chance to go to the Golden temple each time. I love the calm and positive vibes of the place!
Priyal poddar says
This year only I visited Golden Temple, can’t tell you how peaceful I feel from inside while visiting there. I really wish if I get a chance to visit this place again
Priyal poddar recently posted…A Journey Which Changed My Life
Such a beautiful post. Did you notice, in the ‘pehli pauri’ of Japji Sahib that you have quoted here, the “Lord” or “The Eternal Power” is described in gender-less terms. I find that fascinating too…
Param recently posted…Sariska National Park : The Oft Overlooked Forest