The famous Golden Temple in Amritsar known as Sri Harminer Sahib or Sri Darbar Sahib meaning "Temple of God," is the holiest shrine of the Sikhs. Guru Ram Das Ji founded the city of Amritsar, in the 16th century. The Golden Temple sits on a rectangular platform, surrounded by a pool of water called the Amrit Sarovar from which the City "Amritsar" is named after. Guru Ram Das originally built the piil on 1577. An active place of worship for Sikhs, the Harmandir Sahib is also one of India's major tourist destinations. The Golden temple is an example of the fundamental characteristics of Sikh art and architecture. The 11th and eternal Guru Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is present inside it. It is moved to the Sri Akal Takhat Sahib at night and then moved back from there to Sri Harmandir Sahib early morning hours.
Construction of the Harmandir Sahib:
Sri Harminder sahib's construction was mainly intended as a place of worship for men and women from all walks of life and all religions to come and worship God equally. Guru Arjan Dev, the Fifth guru, conceived this idea 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.
In December 1588 the Muslim Sufi saint of Lahore, Hazrat Mian Mir, a close friend of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, laid the corner stone (December 1588).
The temple was completed in 1604.Guru Arjan Dev Ji, installed the Adi Granth in it and appointed Baba Buddha Ji as the first Granthi i.e. the reader of Guru Granth Sahib, of the temple on August 1604.
Harmandir Sahib was built with four doors to show that every religion or faith is allowed to go in to meditate or just listen to the prayers for peace. Instead of ascending stairs, worshipers descend stairs to the Golden temple, in humility. The steps leading down are a reminder that everyone should be humble before God.
The upper half of the building is covered in gold-plated copper sheets, giving temple its name. The pool is surounded on four sides by a wide marble walkway, which in turn is enclosed by a white marble coverd porch, several stories high, with a doorway on each side.
The sacred music is played in the temple twenty-two hours out of twenty-four hours.Upstairs, there is a balcony where people may sit undisturbed, listening to the kirtan.