The alarm clock sounded off at 3:00am, indicating that I must wake up and get ready for my early morning visit to Golden Temple. Within in a few minutes I was showered up and ready to walk from the hotel which was approximately 500 meters from Golden Temple.
Golden Temple, also known as Darbar Sahib or Harmandir Sahib, is named after Hari (God), Mandir (Temple) the “Temple of God”. Golden Temple is the holiest place for Sikhs, and is situated in the city of Amritsar (Punjab, India). According to statistics over 100,000 people visit Golden Temple every day.
I was at the entrance of Golden Temple around 3:30am and was surprised to find out all the local shops which were open at that time.
There are 4 doors to get into the Golden Temple, which symbolize the openness of the Sikhs towards all people and faiths. I approached from the main gate side. I deposited my shoes in the shoe deposit area and washed my feet in the small puddle of water located before the entrance of the temple premises. This is practiced to maintain the purity of the sacred place.
I did parikarma (means path surrounding of something mostly used for holy paces) of the Sarovar (Pool of Nectar) and got to the area outside where morning the Palki (Planaquin) was getting prepared. It was dressed with garlands made of roses and marigold. The path it was going to follow was getting mopped, while priests and devotees sing melodious and devotional hymns. This is the everyday ritual of carrying the holy book “Guru Granth Sahib” from Akal Takkth Sahib to The Harmandir Sahib.
At 4:30 the Palki is carried and the holy book seated in Harmandir Sahib. The morning prayers were offered, followed by more singing of hymns.
From the time of departure of Palki, it took me an hour to get into the Harmandir Sahib to bow, offer respect and get the blessings. After that I sat down to listen to the Kirtan (singing of hymns in praise of God). The melodious sound of musical raga’s, combined with very subtle echoes due to open space helps my mind to be at peace and be awake to life and spirituality. Since childhood, I have visited Golden Temple, and every time I enter through the door, I feel at peace and completely disconnect from the external world.
I had an amazing few hours at the Golden Temple and around 6:30am I headed back to the hotel to check out and catch the train back to Delhi.