Located Where? Amritsar is a big town with a population of about one million. It is a major trade centre.It is located in the Majha region of the Punjab. Majha is also known as the Bari Doab, since it is the Doab (Do = two, ab = rivers) or the (fluvial) tract of land which lies between two of the five great rivers of the province, the Ravi and the Beas. The temple is surrounded by a large Sarovar (manmade lake), known as the AmritSar (Lake of Holy Water or Immortal Nectar).
How do we Reach There? Sri Harmandir Sahib or Golden Temple is reachable by all major links. It is reachable by air, by road and by train. Amritsar has a major train junction operated by the Indian Railways and an international bus terminal operated by the Department of Transport, Punjab which is equipped with most modern amenities. The fastest way for international tourist to reach Harmandir Sahib would be to travel by air. The holy city has a modern airport called Raja Sansi International Airport and Guru Ram Das International Airport. The airport receives international flights from Europe, North America and Central Asia. Most major world cities including London, Tashkent and Toronto are also linked by air with Amritsar. The capital city of India, New Delhi is about 300 miles from Amritsar.
Best time to visit : The Golden Temple, and the city of Amritsar itself, are best visited in the winter. The months between November and March are pleasant (even cold), although the summer can get blisteringly hot.
Major Attractions: The Harmandir Sahib possesses a fine collection of jewellery and valuable articles of considerable artistic and historical importance:
GOLDEN DOOR PANELS - There are four pairs of them.
GOLDEN CANOPY - The canopy studded with precious jewels, is an object of exquisite workmanship and great artisitic value.
JEWELLED HEAD-BAND- It is a gift from Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It was prepared for the marriage of the son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, at the time of marriage. The Maharaja presented it to the Harmandir Sahib.
Around Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) places that you can visit are:
AKAL TAKHAT: Built by the Sixth Master Guru Hargobind. A number of weapons used by Guru Hargobind, Guru Gobind Singh and other Sikh heroes are preserved at Akal Takhat
BABA ATAL: A nine-storeyed tower, built in memory of Atal Rai (D. 1628), son of Guru Hargobind, is called Baba Atal. Atal Rai died at nine. He was called 'Baba' (an old man) head over young shoulders. The tower was built between 1778 and 1784 & is 108 ft. height.
GURU KA LANGAR: Cooked food is serviced in the kitchen of the Golden Temple 24 hours to all visitors irrespective of religion, caste, creed and nationality. The expenses are met out of the Temple funds. Approximately 40,000 visitors share the meals everyday presently.
SRI GURU RAM DAS NIWAS: The Niwas is a free hostel for the pilgrims maintained by the Temple authorities. It has been built by the Gurdwara Committee. It has 228 rooms and 18 big halls. Unlike the ordinary 'Dharamsalas' (place to stay) the Niwas supplies the facilities of free beddings, cots, lights and fans etc. to the lodgers. A lodger is not generally allowed to stay here for more than three days at a time. The doors of the hostels are open to all.Other places where visitors can stay comfortably are Guru Nanak Niwas, Akal Rest House, Guru Hargobind Niwas, Gur Arjan Dev Niwas.
CENTRAL SIKH MUSEUM: Central Sikh Museum has paintings of Sikh Gurus, Saints, Sikh warriors and other prominent Sikh leaders who have contributed a lot to the enhancement of Sikh Religion.
The Jallianwala Bagh: is situated in the northern Indian city of Amritsar where, on April 13, 1919, British Indian Army soldiers under the command of Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer opened fire on an unarmed gathering of men, women and children. The firing lasted about 10 minutes and 1650 rounds were fired, or 33 rounds per soldier.Located at the outskirts of the Golden Temple the garden reminds one of the martyrs who lost their lives to bring India its freedom.
Wagah Border: Wagah is the only road border crossing between India and Pakistan, and lies on the Grand Trunk Road between the cities of Amritsar, India and Lahore, Pakistan. The Wagah border is a ceremonial border where each evening, there is a ceremony called 'lowering of the flags'. At that time there is very energetic and thrilling parade done by Border Security Force (B.S.F), India and Pakistan Rangers soldiers. It may seem slightly aggressive to foreigners, but it really is just entertainment for the crowds from both sides. Border officers from the two countries sometimes walk over to the offices on the other side for day to day affairs. A bus service operating within the partitioned state of Punjab between Amritsar and Lahore was started in 2004, as relations between the two countries improve.
Mosque at Fatehabad: With flowers as the motif, the mosque is built 40 kilometers away from the Golden Temple. It is immensely popular with the tourists for its brilliant architecture.
Summer place of Maharaja Ranjit Singh: If luxury is the word then it is synonymous to the summer palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The grandeur and the area of the palace bears testimony to the world of comfort that the Maharajas enjoyed during their reigns.
There are other places of interest as well that one can visit around the Golden Temple, they are:
Dukh Bhanjni Ber (Jujube Tree)
Ber Baba Budha Ji
Gurdwara llachi Ber
Ath Sath Tirath (Sixty eight holy places condensed into one)
Gurdwara Shaheed Bunga Baba Deep Singh
General Info / Tips: One can offer prayers at the Golden temple, take strolls in the surrounding lawns of the temple; listen to the enchantment of the hymns and devotional songs performed in the temple, can shop at the numerous stores surrounding the Golden Temple. Phulkaris (embroidered materials), woodcarvings, woolen garments, shoes and various food items are available at all the shopping corners of the city.