Golden Path to Divinity
The Golden Temple is an open house of worship for all people, from all walks of life and faiths. The four entrances to the temple stand for the Sikh belief in equality and the idea that everyone is welcome in their sacred space. The complex is a collection of buildings around the sanctum and the pool. Among the structures are a clock tower, the Gurdwara Committee’s offices, a museum, and a Langar, a non-profit Sikh community kitchen that serves vegetarian food to all visitors without distinction. The Gurdwara complex has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The temple’s English name comes from the fact that it is a two-story building with the top half covered in almost 400 kg of pure gold leaf. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the leader of the Sikh empire, is believed to have initiated the construction in the 19th century. The remainder of the temple complex is made of white marble with colourful precious and semi-precious stones inlaid throughout. The pietra dura technique has been applied to the creation of motifs. The vast temple complex is impressive in scale.
The temple’s base is a 67-foot square of marble, and the architecture of the building is magnificent. The sparkling Amrit Sarovar (pool of nectar), whose waters are reputed to have healing properties, surrounds the temple.