Even visitors without a religious bone in their bodies cannot fail to be moved by Amritsar’s resplendent Golden Temple, spiritual centre of the Sikh faith and open to all. Built by Guru Arjan Dev in the late sixteenth century, the richly gilded Harmandir rises from the middle of an artificial rectangular lake, connected to the surrounding white-marble complex by a narrow causeway. Every Sikh tries to make at least one pilgrimage here during their lifetime to listen to the sublime music (shabad kirtan), readings from the Adi Granth and also to bathe in the purifying waters of the temple tank – the Amrit Sarovar or “Pool of Immortality-Giving Nectar”.
The best time to visit is early morning, to catch the first rays of sunlight gleaming on the bulbous golden domes and reflecting in the waters of the Amrit Sarovar. Sunset and evenings are an excellent time to tune in to the beautiful music performed in the Harmandir. The helpful information office at the main entrance organizes guided tours, provides details on temple accommodation and has books and leaflets about the temple and Sikh faith.