Historical Gurdwaras of Punjab
Guru Arjan

The Spiritual Heart
Darbar Sahib (The Golden Temple), Dist. Amritsar

The Harmandir Sahib (meaning Temple of God) is also commonly known as the Golden Temple or Darbar Sahib (Divine Court). Darbar Sahib is a living symbol of the spiritual and historical traditions of the Sikhs. It is a source of inspiration for all Sikhs. The temple with it's glistening gold covered exterior stands in the middle of the tank of nectar. The Darbar Sahib has entrances and doors on all four sides. Guru Arjan exclaimed; "My faith is for the people of all castes and all creeds from whichever direction they come and to whichever direction they bow." Guru Amar Das asked Ram Das to build a central place of congregation for the Sikhs. Guru Ram Das started excavation work in 1577 during his lifetime. Guru Arjan completed excavation of the Tank known as Amritsar (The Pool of Nectar) in 1588. Guru Arjan then started construction of the Temple building itself which was finally completed in 1601. The first edition of the Holy Book of the Sikh's The Guru Granth Sahib was installed there in 1604 with Baba Buddha as the first granthi (caretaker of the book). The last Sikh Guru to live in Amritsar was Guru Hargobind. In 1664 Guru Tegh Bahadur visited Darbar Sahib but was refused entry by the corrupt temple caretakers, the Masands. Darbar Sahib has always been a rallying point for Sikhs throughout it's history. Around 1740 Massa Ranghar, the Muslim ruler of Amritsar desecrated the Temple by using it as a dancing hall. He was killed by the Sikh hero Mahtab Singh. In 1761 the Afghan Ahmed Shah Abdali blew up the Temple and filled in the Sacred Tank with refuse. The great Sikh martyr Baba Deep Singh laid down his life in revenge. The construction of the Darbar Sahib as it appears today was begun in 1764 when Jassa Singh Ahluwalia laid the foundation stone. Many of the doors, walls and domes were covered with copper sheets overlaid with gold during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Darbar Sahib was partially damaged by the military invasion of the Indian Army during June 1984.


The dome and sides being reguilded with
gold to repair the damage of the 1984 Army attack.

The Darshani Deorhi, the enterance to
the bridge leading to The Golden Temple.

Exterior marble and gold wall details.

The exterior white marble wall is inlaid with
semi-precious stones to create the designs.

Second floor balcony.

Second floor
One of the two bullet ridden 18th century towers called Ramgarhia Bunga's with it's top blown off stand as a reminder of the destruction caused by the June 1984 attack on the golden temple complex by the Indian Army.