“The body is Hari Mandir, the temple of Hari. He created it and dwells within it. Through the Guru’s words, those who connect to Hari within, are merged into him.”
– Guru Amardas Ji (Guru Granth Sahib, 1059)
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Bhagat’s spiritual painting depicts the radiant Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, under the bright full moon and cool night sky. Amongst the hustle and bustle of the impatient crowd, there is one sikh who sits apart, in eternal patience. The people are giving importance to getting into the temple, whereas this man gives importance to what the temple stands for.
In front of the Harmandir Sahib, the man sits in deep meditation absorbing the scene and becoming one with it. He watches Hari’s hukam in action, and intuitively enters a peaceful state. He remains near the edge of the hukam as he sits at the edge of the pool and the steps.
History of the Golden Temple
Harimandir Sahib was built in Amritsar, Punjab, in 1604 by Guru Arjun Dev ji. Tragically this version of the building was destroyed by Afghani invaders. The Guru’s temple probably resembled other North Indian temples of the time that did not involve elements of Mughal Architecture. (Mughal architecture was not a trend at this time.)
In 1700s, Baba Deep Singh ji amassed an army to to defend the Golden Temple from the incoming horde. However, him and his men were martyred by the huge force that seeked to destroy the temple. Even though Baba ji tried his best, the creation of the Guru could not be preserved.
After being demolished by Afghans, it was built again by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia in 1764, one hundred years later. This style of the Golden Temple and other famous Indian temples, of this time, were influenced by Mughal architecture. This closely resembles the present-day Golden Temple gurudwara, and became the blueprint for other gurudwaras.
Then in the 1800s, Maharaja Ranjit Singh beautified the temple with gold and marble, etched with beautiful patterns. He made it into a work of art that we see today.
In the 1900s-2000s, the temple was seeing many tourists and pilgrims from all over the world. So the parikarma path was modified and parts of it were destroyed. By demolishing certain walls, the platforms that would otherwise lead into the temple building were made into a continuous path around the temple building.