Harmandir Sahib

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The Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib)
Harmandir Sahib by night

The Harmandir Sahib , often called the Golden Temple in German , correctly: Hari Mandir ( Panjabi ਹਰਿਮੰਦਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ ; Temple of God ), is the highest sanctuary of the Sikhs in Amritsar in the Indian state of Punjab . It was built by the fifth guru of the Sikhs Arjun Dev in the 16th century and underwent further expansion (a golden dome) under Ranjit Singh in the 19th century.

Temple complex

The temple is covered with gold leaf and lies on an island in a lake called Amrit Sarovar (from Sanskrit amrit , “nectar”; sarovar , “pond”, “lake”). The temple is surrounded by a palace complex. It has a gate on all four sides, which is supposed to symbolize the openness of the Sikhs towards all people and religions. In the temple itself, verses from the Holy Book are recited during the daytime . These chants are accompanied by music and can be heard over loudspeakers throughout the temple, which creates an impressive atmosphere. The temple is always open and is visited daily by thousands of pilgrims, not only Sikhs. At night, pilgrims are allowed to sleep under the arcades and in adjacent rooms for a maximum of three days. During this period, simple meals are also offered in a neighboring building. Sikhs believe that whoever bathes in or drinks from holy water can improve their personal karma . The complex is very well maintained and is mopped daily, inside the temple even with milk.

On the first floor above the main entrance, a museum shows the story of the Sikhs' suffering among Hindus and Muslims since the 17th century. In addition to weapons, paintings of the most important Sikh martyrs and gurus are shown. When choosing the pictures, particular emphasis was placed on the depiction of the various types of torture of bygone times and the suffering of the Sikh associated with them.


The Golden Temple was built by the fifth guru of the Sikhs, Guru Arjun Dev in the 16th century. The temple was damaged in the wars with Ahmad Shah Durrani and restored in the 1760s. The temple underwent further expansion in the early 19th century (including a golden dome) under the Maharaja of Punjab , Ranjit Singh . The temple hit the headlines in 1984 when the state of Khalistan was proclaimed by radical Sikhs and the temple was stormed by soldiers of the Indian army in Operation Blue Star . In response to the storming of the sanctuary, in which the Sikh leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was killed, the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was murdered by her Sikh bodyguards. Further operations against Sikh extremists in the temple took place in April 1986 (Operation Black Thunder) and in May 1988 (Operation Black Thunder II).

Right: Golden Temple, left in the background with a golden dome: Akal Takht

Individual evidence

  1. Hew McLeod: Sikhism , Penguin Books, New York, 1997, ISBN 0-14-025260-6 , pp. 154 ff. (English)
  2. www.sikhnet.com/GoldenTemple (English)
  3. Roger Willemsen : The Foundling. Memories of Peter Ustinov. Zeit Online, April 1, 2005


  • Stukenberg, Marla: The Sikhs. Religion, Geschichte, Politik , München, 1995. pp. 51–59.
  • Mandair, Arvind-Pal Singh: Sikhism. A guide for the Perplexed , London, New Delhi, New York, 2013. pp. 41–42.

Web links

Commons : Golden Temple  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 31 ° 37 ′ 12 ″  N , 74 ° 52 ′ 36 ″  E