National Geographic Traveller writing competition 2013 – my entry!

Here is my entry into this years event!

Harmandir Sahib

It is February, you can feel the season is about to change from chilly sunny days to a new drier and hotter climate. The feeling of warm marble on your feet contributes to the calm of the complex you have just entered. In the background you hear melodious music piped through loudspeakers. You may not understand the words but you feel its holiness. In front of you in the centre of a man-made lake or what worshipers call a holy tank is the reflection of a building, a Sikh Temple decorated in gold. As it shimmers it sends out two signals, an emotional wave that forms an awe and a sense of connection. The water is clear and if you look carefully you will notice a variety of fish.
The marble-work and gold decorations was commissioned by the maharaja of Punjab, Ranjit Singh in 1830. The original construction and tank excavation date back to 1577, by the fourth and fifth Gurus of the Sikhs, Guru Ram Das ji and Guru Arjan Ji. A bustling city emerged around the complex that subsequently became known as Amritsar, meaning “Pool of the Nectar of Immortality”. The Sikhs had 10 Gurus. The 10th, Guru Gobind Singh established the holy book made up of scriptures from Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims and other saints as the Guru Granth Sahib. The holy book is located in the temple.

The complex has four entrances and clock towers together with an informative museum. To enter the temple you need to walk around the square marble perimeter to a causeway entrance that stands at 62m high and 6m in width. The bridge and complex are lit at night and dawn, this adds to the atmosphere of the place: serenity, calm, feeling the moment and almost as if time has stood still.

Categories: 2013, Sikhs

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