Harmandir Sahib, or Golden Temple, is the most sacred of Sikh gurdwaras. It’s located in the northern city of Amritsar in India’s Punjab state and is part of a large temple complex. The stunning golden gurdwara that stands today was rebuilt in the mid-18th century by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia.
Situated at the end of a long causeway, the Golden Temple is a unique blend of Islamic and Hindu architecture. Everybody, 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.
Encircled by a marble walkway and surrounded by water that is believed to have healing properties, pilgrims come from all over the world to worship and bathe here. The upper levels of the temple are covered with gold, while in the inner sanctum, priests and musicians chant from the Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh holy book) consistently throughout the day.
While everybody is welcome at the Golden Temple, certain rules and courtesies must be observed. Visitors must remove their shoes and wash their feet in a small pool of water before entering. All guests should also dress conservatively, covering their heads as a sign of respect (head scarves are available just before the temple entrance).