Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib)
The Golden Temple includes a unique blend of Islamic and Hindu architecture and dates to the middle of the 19th century. The upper levels of the temple are covered with gold, and in the inner sanctum, priests and musicians spend the day chanting from the Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh holy book). The temple is the main attraction in Amritsar. Book a guided tour to learn more about the temple and about the Sikh religion.
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Things to Know Before You Go
All visitors should remove their shoes and cover their heads before entering the temple.
Visitors must wash their feet in a small pool of water before entering.
Smoking is strictly prohibited everywhere on the temple grounds.
How to Get There
The Golden Temple is located in the heart of Amritsar, about a 10-minute drive from the Amritsar Junctions railway station or a half-hour taxi ride from Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport. There are many daily trains that bring visitors to Amritsar from New Delhi; the quickest is the Amritsar Shatabdi, which takes just over six hours to travel between the cities.
When to Get There
The Golden Temple is open daily from early in the morning until late at night. You can also sleep at the temple complex—there’s a small hostel with beds reserved for foreigners, though it’s useful to bring a sleeping bag. Visit at twilight to see the evening sukhasan ritual, when the holy book is put to rest, or at sunrise, when the holy book is brought out again.
The Langar Tradition
One major feature of most Gurdwaras is the langar, a community kitchen in which all visitors can sit down to eat a free community meal together. Due to the sheer number of visitors to the Golden Temple, meals at the temple’s langar are served almost constantly. If you want to give back, there are donation boxes where you can discreetly contribute funds. You can also volunteer at the kitchen.