Nimrat Kaur's love for travel is no secret and her Instagram profile is a treasure trove of her adventures. If you want a sneak peek into her recent weekend getaway, just check out her latest Instagram post. She shared a photo album that captured her delightful trip to the holy city of Amritsar, Punjab. In the pictures, Nimrat looked like a desi Barbie in her pretty pink suit. She did not miss the chance to savour the authentic flavours of the city, hitting some of the popular dining-out spots, including Gurdasram Jalebiwala and A-One Kulfa. Of course, she could not resist indulging in the quintessential Punjabi breakfast—parathas, while soaking in the serene ambience of the fields. But what truly stole the show during her Amritsar escapade was none other than the majestic Golden Temple. Nimrat looked blissful as she posed in front of this iconic Sikh shrine. She summed up her golden experience with the caption, "Golden weekend," along with a yellow hand and hearts praying emoji.
Golden Temple: Did You Know?
If you are planning a trip to Punjab, just like Nimrat Kaur, be sure to include a visit to the Golden Temple on your itinerary. It is open to all visitors regardless of one's religious beliefs. For the unversed, the Golden Temple is known to be one of the most revered and sacred sites in Sikhism. It is also one of India's most popular tourist attractions.
7 Ways To Experience The Golden Temple Differently
If you are not visiting for religious reasons, one of the most obvious ways to experience the Gurudwara is to marvel at its architecture. The Golden Temple was made in Sikh architectural style, with influences from Islamic & Rajputana styles. It has a full golden dome, which according to the Punjab Government tourism website, "Maharaja Ranjit Singh had built with approximately 400 kg of gold leaf." It was built on a 67-ft square of marble in the 1580s, on a small island in the middle of a lake. A marble causeway, bordered by balustrades of the same gemstone, connects the temple building to land on its west side. This bridge connecting the outer pathway and the main Hari Mandir symbolizes the journey of the soul after death. The gurudwara's entrances are positioned in all four directions (north, south, east and west) signifying that it is open to worshippers of all castes, creeds and religions. The richly decorated interior with floral and mirror designs, copper-gilded parapets, circular pinnacles and intricately carved murals are definitely worth your time.
But spirituality and architecture aside, here are a few things you might not know that you can do at Golden Temple:
1. Visit the Sikh Museum
This is within the temple complex. It offers a fascinating insight into the Sikh community's history, culture and heritage. It houses an impressive collection of artefacts, paintings and manuscripts.
2. Experience the Golden Temple at Night
The temple complex is open 24 hours and a night visit offers a completely different ambience. The golden structure illuminated against the dark sky is a sight to behold.
3. Volunteer in the Langar
The Golden Temple serves free meals to thousands of visitors every day as a service to humanity. You can join in this selfless act by helping the volunteers in the langar (community kitchen) to prepare the meals, serve the food or clean up in the kitchen.
4. Volunteer at the Shoe Stand
Similar to many places of worship in India, visitors are required to remove their footwear before entering the Gurudwara. The tourist spots see thousands of visitors every day so you can volunteer at the shoe stand and provide your service to humanity this way instead.
5. Read and Reflect in the Library
The Golden Temple houses a library with a vast collection of Sikh literature. You can visit the library, read and reflect on the teachings of Sikhism.
6. Participate in Cleaning Seva
The temple complex sees a constant flow of visitors and keeping it clean is a monumental task. You can participate in the cleaning seva (service) alongside volunteers and contribute to the temple's upkeep. Another small act of service that goes a long way and besides the obvious spiritual brownie points, food and appreciation are usually the rewards.
7. Lay Down Near The Lake At Night
Dusk and night views of the temple are legendary, but a different way to experience the temple at night would be to lay down at the edge of the lake, head facing the Gurudwars and toes pointing towards the lake. Travellers have been known to close their eyes and take in simply the sounds: hymns and worship, buzzing crowds, the occasional ripples in the lake and more.
Not all travel experiences are made equal and this is one way to ensure that your experience is more customised to your taste. Whether you visit for religious reasons or simply out of curiosity, these options will allow you to take in the Golden Temple in a unique way.