The Golden Temple
The Golden Temple Amritsar India (Sri Harimandir Sahib Amritsar) is not only a central religious place of the Sikhs but also a symbol of human brotherhood and equality. Everybody, irrespective of caste, creed or race can seek spiritual solace and religious fulfilment without any hindrance. It also represents the distinct identity, glory and heritage of the Sikhs. As advised by Sri Guru Amar Dass Ji (3rd Sikh Guru), Sri Guru Ram Dass Ji (4th Sikh Guru) started the digging of Amrit Sarovar (Holy Tank) of Sri Harmandir Sahib in 1577 A.D., which was later on brick-lined by Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji (5th Sikh Guru) on December 15, 1588, and He also started the construction of Sri Harmandir Sahib. Sri Guru Granth Sahib (scripture of the Sikhs), after its compilation, was first installed at Sri Harmandir Sahib on August 16, 1604 A.D. A devout Sikh, Baba Budha Ji was appointed its first Head Priest.
The land for the site was bought by the Guru Ram Das Sahib on payment from the Zamindars (landlords) of native villages.
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 prominent Sikh personalities like Baba Budha Ji, Bhai Gurdas Ji, Bhai Sahlo Ji, and many other devoted Sikhs.
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 a 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.