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  • "I have seen many places, but none like thee" This quote is from Guru Arjan Dev Ji, as he

  • looked at the Golden Temple. These words captures in many ways the mood and ambience at the

  • Harmandir Sahib, which is the temples real name. Few places combine amazing surroundings

  • with a calm and peaceful atmosphere better than the Golden Temple.

  • If you look around you, you will see that the area holds more than just the Golden Temple.

  • The Darbar Sahib temple complex, which the place is often called, consists of many Sikh

  • shrines, temples and other holy places. Three holy trees can also be found inside the temple

  • area, each one associated with a historical event or a Sikh saint. In the middle of the

  • temple are stands the Golden Temple, surrounded by a large man-made lake. The lakes name is

  • Amritsar, meaning "Lake of the immortal nectar". As the name of the lake is the same as the

  • city surrounding it, one might think that the city gave the lake its name. The reality

  • is the other way around. In 1573 the construction of the lake started

  • under supervision of the fourth guru of Sikhism; Guru Ram Das Ji. The lake stood complete four

  • years later, in 1577. During this time, a city began to grow around the lake. The name

  • of the city was originally "Ramdaspur", after the guru, but was later changed. As the city

  • became associated with the construction of the lake, the city simply took the same name

  • as the lake itself. Therefore, both the city and the lake carry the name Amritsar.

  • The construction of the Golden Temple itself started in 1588 under the leadership of the

  • fifth guru; Guru Arjan Dev Ji. The story says that a close friend of the guru was asked

  • to lay the foundation stone of the building. After the stone had been laid, a mason straightened

  • the stone which, to which the guru said " you have just undone the work of such a holy

  • man, who knows what disaster might come." This story has been used as an explanation

  • to why the temple as been attacked so many times by Afghans, Mughals and even the Indian

  • army. The majority of these attacks happened during

  • mid 18th century, when the temple was attacked multiply times by Afgahn raiders. The raiders

  • caused severe damage to the temple complex, which resulted in a restoration of the temple

  • in 1764. Another major assault on the temple was in 1984 when the Indian army attacked

  • during the so called "Operation Bluestar". The Indian army had order to move in to the

  • temple area and remove Sikh militants who was believe to amass weapons inside the area.

  • The operation ended in bloody gunfights between the militants and the army, resulting in large

  • casualties on both sides. The attack on the Sikh holy shrine, and they way it was carried

  • out, was and still is highly controversial. Only months after the attack, the Indian Prime

  • Minister of the time, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two of her Sikh bodyguards. The army attack

  • on the temple lead to extensive restoration work on the temple area.

  • Ever since its completion in 1604, Harmandir Sahib is seen as one of the most, if not the

  • most important temple of Sikhism. It has become somewhat of a pilgrimage center as all Sikhs

  • try to visit the temple at least once during their life. One of the main reasons for this

  • is that the holy script of the Sikhs, the Adi Sri Guru Granth Sahib, is kept inside

  • the temple. This holy script consists of 1430 parts, written in period of Sikh gurus between

  • 1469 and 1709. During the day, the script is read non-stop inside the temple and describes

  • what God is like and what the right way to live is. Each side of the Golden Temple has

  • an entrance, signifying the importance of acceptance and openness and to show that the

  • temple is open to all -- regardless of religion, race or sex. This is what the Golden Temple

  • stands for today: a place where all people are welcome.

"I have seen many places, but none like thee" This quote is from Guru Arjan Dev Ji, as he

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