World Seat of Sikhism


World Seat of Sikhism

Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Amritsar, also known as Har Mandir in Punjab and India, and Golden Temple in the western world, is the world seat of Sikhism as the Kaaba in Mecca for Muslims, Vatican in Rome for Christians and Varāṇasī in India for Hindus.

It is a living symbol of spiritual and historical traditions of the Sikhs.

It emerged as the new edifice on the Indian subcontinent’s religious landscape in the 17th century, when, in 1604 AD the first volume of Ādi Granth (Guru Granth Sahib---Holy Sikh scripture) was placed here with reverence by Guru Arjan Dev, in the building which had been completed by him three years earlier, making it, the world seat of Sikhism.

Guru Arjan Dev also clearly declared the independent position of Sikhism by writing in the Ādi Granth (Guru Granth Sahib), in Rag Bhairau, on page 1136 that:

I do not keep fasts, nor do I observe the month of Ramadan.
I serve only the One, who will protect me in the end. ||1||
I serve the One Master who ministers justice to both Hindus and Muslims,
I have broken with the Hindus and Muslims,
I neither worship with the Hindu nor like the Muslim go to Mecca,
I serve Him alone and no other,
I do not pray to idols nor say the Muslim prayer
Taking the formless One in my mind
I make obeisance there to the Supreme Being,
for we are neither Hindus nor Mussulmen”.

The foundation stone of the building was, laid by the Muslim Sufi Saint Hazrat Mian Mir, at the Guru’s request in 1589 and the building was completed in 1601AD.

The glistening shrine stands in the midst of a square tank of each side about 150 meters with some 18meters Parikrama (path) on all four sides.

A causeway about 60 meters long has to be covered to reach the shrine which itself is 12 meters square and rests upon a 20 meter square platform.

The basic architectural concept of Gurdwara Darbar Sahib (Golden temple) was that of Guru Arjan Dev himself:

Instead of building the shrine on a high plinth, as was the Hindu custom, Guru Arjan Dev had it built on a level lower than the surrounding land,

the worshippers have to go down the steps to enter it and the head of the devotee automatically bows down with humility, while entering it, to have a glimpse.

And, unlike the Hindu temples, which had only one entrance Guru Arjan Dev had Gurdwara Darbar Sahib open on all four sides denoting that it was open to all:

To all the four Varṇas of Varṇāśrama Dharma,
To the followers of all religions of the world from all directions
To all people irrespective of their caste, creed, gender and nationality,
To all economic sections of the society, rich and poor alike,

The architectural features were intended to be symbolic of the new faith (Sikhism), which required the humble to be humblest and whose doors were open to all who wished to enter.

It is the destination of all the Sikhs visiting Amritsar.