The most sacred place of worship of Shikh religion, Harmandir Sahib (temple of the god) is in the center of a tank known as Amritsar (Pool of Nectar of Immortality). For followers of this religion, temple symbolizes spiritual independence and absolute freedom.
The first building was completed in 1604. The sanctuary was rebuilt in 1764, gaining its current form. The entrance to the temple is via four gates, symbolizing openness to all people and all religions. Inside the building there are shrines of saints, three holy trees and memorial inscriptions plaques.
Like all Shikh sanctuaries, Golden Temple is open to all, regardless of gender, age, religion, color or ethnicity, as long as they honor the purity of sacred space.
Visitors and believers must remove their shoes at the entrance and to wash their feet. They must be dressed appropriately and to cover their head in reverence.
Temple architecture combines Hindu style and Muslim style. Its beauty is enhanced by reflection in the water surrounding it.
The building consists of three levels. The first level of over 8 meters high, is decorated with cusped arches. The second level has parapets, a tower in each of the four corners and in the middle a small square room, where regular recitation of Guru Granth Sahib take place. Above this room stood a golden dome, shaped like a lotus. The temple is built of exquisite worked marble, covered with gold and precious stones.
The Golden Temple operates the largest free kitchen that serves bread and lentil soup about 100,000 people every day.
The complex also contains an information center and a museum.
One of the most important festivals is Vaisakhi, celebrated in April. Other days celebrated in the temple are birthdays or martyrdom of personalities considered sacred in Shikh religion.
Shikh believers visit at least once in life Harmandir Sahib, especially at important moments such as marriage or childbirth.