Sri Harmandir Sahib, also known as Sri Darbar Sahib
or Golden Temple, (on account of its scenic beauty and golden coating
for English speaking world), is named after Hari(God) the temple of
God. The Sikhs all over the world, daily wish to pay visit to Sri
Amritsar and to pay obeisance at Sri Harmandir Sahib in their Ardas.
Guru Arjan Sahib, the Fifth Nanak, conceived the idea
of creating a central place of worship for the Sikhs and he himself
designed the architecture of Sri Harmandir Sahib. Earlier the planning
to excavate the holy tank (Amritsar or Amrit Sarovar ) was chalked
out by Guru Amardas Sahib, the Third Nanak, but it was executed by
Guru Ramdas Sahib under the supervision of Baba Budha ji. The land
for the site was acquired by the earlier Guru Sahibs on payment or
free of cost from the Zamindars (landlords) of native villages. The
plan to establish a town settlement was also made. Therefore, the
construction work on the Sarovar(the tank) and the town started simultaneously
in 1570. The work on both projects completed in 1577 A.D.
Guru Arjan Sahib got its foundation laid by a muslim saint Hazrat
Mian Mir ji of Lahore on 1st of Magh, 1645 Bikrmi Samvat(December,1588).
The construction work was directly supervised by Guru Arjan Sahib
himself and he was assisted by the prominent Sikh personalities like
Baba Budha ji, Bhai Gurdas ji, Bhai Sahlo ji and many other devoted
Unlike erecting the structure on the higher level(a tradition in Hindu
Temple architecture), Guru Arjan Sahib got it built on the lower level
and unlike Hindu Temples having only one gate for the entrance and
exit, Guru Sahib got it open from four sides. Thus he created a symbol
of new faith, Sikhism. Guru Sahib made it accessible to every person
without any distinction of Caste, creed, sex and religion.
The building work completed in 1601 A.D. on Bhadoon Sudi 1st, 1661
Bikrmi Samvat (August/September,1604). Guru Arjan Sahib installed
newly created Guru Granth Sahib, in Sri Harmandir Sahib and appointed
Baba Budha ji as its first Granthi i.e. the reader of Guru Granth
Sahib. After this event it attained the status of Ath Sath Tirath.
Now the Sikh Nation had their own Tirath, a pilgrimage center
Sri Harmandir Sahib, is built on a 67ft. square platform in the centre
of the Sarovar(tank). The temple itself is 40.5ft. square. It has
a door each on the East, West, North and South. The Darshani Deori
(an arch) stands at the shore end of the causeway. The door frame
of the arch is about 10ft in height and 8ft 6inches in breath. The
door panes are decorated with artistic style. It opens on to the causeway
or bridge that leads to the main building of Sri Harmandir Sahib.
It is 202 feet in length and 21 feet in width.
The bridge is connected with the 13 feet wide Pardakshna
(circumambulatory path). It runs round the main shrine and it leads
to the Har ki Paure (steps of God). On the first floor
of Har ki Paure, there is continuous reading of Guru Granth
The main structure of Sri Harmandir Sahib, functionally as well as
technically is a three-storied one. The front, which faces the bridge,
is decorated with repeated cusped arches and the roof of the first
floor is at the height of the 26 feet and 9 inches.
At the top of the first floor 4 feet high parapet rises on all the
sides which has also four Mamtees on the four corners
and exactly on the top of the central hall of the main sanctuary rises
the third story. It is a small square room and have three gates. A
regular recitation of Guru Granth Sahib is also held there.
On the top of this room stands the low fluted Gumbaz(dome)
having lotus petal motif in relief at the base inverted lotus at the
top which supports the Kalash having a beautiful Chhatri
at the end.
Its architecture represents a unique harmony between the Muslims and
the Hindus way of construction work and this is considered the best
architectural specimens of the world. It is often quoted that this
architecture has created an independent Sikh school of architecture
in the history of art in India.