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day at sri harmandir sahib (golden temple--- post----1)

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For thousands of Amritsar's inhabitants, the day begins very early. It begins, in fact, the night before, at three o'clock or so in the morning, as households in the city stir with the activity of people preparing for a predawn visit to the Darbar Sahib - a routine that hasn't changed for four centuries. The devout of Amritsar eagerly await this hour each morning with the keen sense of anticipation that comes from knowing they will soon visit the Harmandir.

As they walk through the familiar streets of the old city, their pace quickens in expectation of soon seeing the beloved shrine. Some of them have made this walk at this hour each morning for as long as they can remember.

Outside the main entrance, they take their shoes off, check them with an attendant and proceed into the complex. At a trough of swiftly running water, they dip their feet to cleanse them. As they pass the flower stalls, some stop to buy garlands of yellow, gold or russet marigolds to carry inside as offerings.

The Harmandir Sahib

Descending the marble stairs (teaching humility to mankind) to the parkarma, they behold, in the center of the Sarowar, the serene and immortal Harmandir Sahib. They gaze at it with awe, and with reverence and love-the very emotions others before them have experienced for as long as the Harmandir has existed.

They are transfixed by this first sight of it, by its golden facades and domes. The waters around it are still and glassy in the peaceful early morning silence, and capture an almost perfect reflection. Bowing low to touch their foreheads to the cool marble of the Parkarma, worshippers pay homage and express thanks for the divine grace that has made the visit possible. Then, as is customary, they turn left to go around the entire parkarma, and to stop at shrines on the way, before finally reaching the Harmandir.

The Parkarma Shrines & Ath Sath Tirath

The first shrine along the marble walkway is the Dukh bhanjani Ber. Built around a jujube tree, it marks the spot where, it is said, a dip in the sacred pool miraculously cured a crippled youth. Since many consider their visit to the temple incomplete without bathing at this spot, they stop here and enter the water, hoping to shed their afflictions and troubles.

Past the Dukh Bhanjani Ber is a raised marble platform which is the Ath Sath Tirath, the Shrine of the Sixty-Eight Holy Places. To bathe near it, some believe, their dreams of visiting the 68 holy places of India will be fulfilled.

Further along the parkarma, around the next corner, is the shrine of Baba Deep Singh, the legendary old warrior who died at this spot. Ever since, pilgrims have paused here to pray, to sprinkle rose petals or to lay fresh garlands in his honor.

Such cameos of valor enliven the rich mosaic of a military tradition that continues to this day. Even now, the names of Sikh martyrs and soldiers who die in battle are inscribed on marble plaques embedded in the floor of the parkarma or on the pillars of the adjoining verandahs. Many Indian army regiments still maintain the tradition of installing commemorative plaques here to honor their war heroes.

As the devout turns the next corner of the parkarma, leading to the Akal takht and the Darshani Deorhi, their excitement builds, for soon they will witness, and possibly join in, the ceremonies that only those who visit the Darbar Sahib at this hour can. These are the rituals that attend the traditional bearing of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib from the Kotha Sahib in the Akal Takht, where it is kept each night, to the Harmandir Sahib, to which it is always returned before five o'clock in the morning.

The Decorated Palki and Sawari

About half an hour before the Siri Guru Granth Sahib is brought down from the Akal Takht, the palki, a gold and silver palanquin, is prepared for it. Attendants replace the cushions and pillows on which the Siri Guru Granth Sahib will rest. They lay down fresh sets of silk and brocade coverings and, when everything is ready, they sprinkle delicately scented rose water over all.

As the head priest of the Harmandir appears with the Siri Guru Granth Sahib on a cushion on his head, a series of deep, resonant drum beats of the nigara heralds its arrival to the assembled worshippers who, even at this hour, fill the large plaza to capacity. Showering fragrant red, pink and white rose petals, and reciting hymns from the holy scriptures, they make way for the palki's journey to the Harmandir. This passage, though short, sometimes takes up to half an hour while as many worshippers as possible share the honor of carrying it.

The procession solemnly moves across the plaza, through the Darshani Deorhi, and along the causeway, stopping as it reaches the main door of the Harmandir. The head priest reverently lifts the Siri Guru Granth sahib out of the Palki, places it on a silk cushion on his head, and enters the holy shrine.


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wow, It's great to be there..

I just remembered those shiny orange fishes roaming around in the waters =)

lol i remember when i first went there when i was 5 yrs old... i was scared to go into the water cos the fishes were huge :P

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