Photographer's Note

This is Golden Temple or Hari Mandir Sahib at Amritsar in India. It is the holiest shrine for the people belonging to Sikh religion. Anybody without any descrimination can visit this shrine as long as they do not bring Tobacco, Liquor or any other intoxicant inside the premises. For me it is a place of stupendous beauty and sublime peacefulness.
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During the leadership of the fifth Guru (Arjan, 1581-1606), foundation for the the Hari Mandir, or Temple of God was laid in 1588. In the 17th and 18th century the temple was destroyed by the invading Moslem armies many times, and each time it was rebuilt. From 1767 onwards, the Sikhs became strong enough militarily to defend it and Hari Mandir was richly ornamented with marble sculptures, golden gilding, and large quantities of precious stones. But than the Sikh empire also fell under the British rule in later half of 19th century and at the time of independence in 1947 Sikhs decided to stay within Hindu majority India.
In 1983 it was invaded by the Indian army in the infamous "Operation Blue Star" to wipe out the Sikh extremists but that is a very long story that I would not like to get into today.

The main structure rises from the center of the sacred pool and is approached by a long causeway. The 52-meter, square shaped Golden Temple stands on a square platform, its lower parts made of marble, and its upper portion fully covered with plates of gilded copper. In the interior, on the ground, the Guru Granth Sahib (holy book of the Sikhs) is placed under a jewel-studded canopy. This scripture is a collection of devotional poems, prayers, and hymns composed by the ten Sikh gurus and various Moslem and Hindu saints. On the first floor is a small pavilion called the Shish Mahal (mirror room). It is ornamented with pieces of mirrors inlaid in the ceiling and walls. Above that is a smaller pavilion. Exquisite murals adorn the walls of the pavilions, but the emphasis is on simplicity.

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Additional Photos by Sarju Sooch (sarju) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1045 W: 50 N: 1260] (5324)
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