Continuing from my last post where I shared my experience about Wagah Border, here I am going to talk about my experiences at the Golden Temple aka Swarna Mandir for which the city is known. Well, as said before I have traveled largely in the western and southern part of India. In those regions sighting of Gurudwaras wasn’t something very common. I had been to temples, churches (old goa churches and the local Navelim church where I stayed). Visiting a gurudwara for the first time was full of excitement for me.
The Golden Temple is situated close to the railway station, (just like the Ajmer Sharif Dargah) This place was about 3kms from where we stayed. We took an auto to reach the temple which charged a modest 20Rs per head. Upon reaching, there were people throwing orange bandanas which is to be worn in the gurudwara. (the motive is to cover your head, be it a handkerchief or this orange bandana) Soon a person came and tied the bandana and charged us 10Rs for that. Well tourists rite 😛 I didnt mind though as I wanted that, so its fine.
The road leading to the Golden Temple has shops on both the sides. The shops sell woollen clothes, ladies suits(patialas), cameras, etc. There are a number of restaurants and food joints. As you head closer to the gurudwara, you will see the Jallianwaala Bagh in front of you, you take a right and you’ll reach the gurudwara.
As its at most places, you will have to remove your shoes and SOCKS too. (do remove your socks as its not allowed, one of our friend was asked to remove them by people inside the gurudwara) and you will be given a token for the same. Near to this is a small market which has shops selling souvenirs, gift items, kirpans, kadhas etc. Before entering the gurudwara you are required to wash your hand and feet. And as you enter the gurudwara, you will see the main shrine. The gurudwara permise is huge, a sarovar and the shrine stand in the middle. On the corners are water coolers which serve water and Amrit (holy water).
After taking a parikrama of the gurudwara, we took the prasaad from the counters. It can be bought for as low as 5 Rs and above. The prasaad is Halwa, which is super-dooper tasty ! After offering, we did buy extra to enjoy ourselves 😛 ! After taking the prasaad we joined a long queue before entering the main shrine. The queue is fast moving and well organized. No pushing or other nonsense stuff. Advisable to visit in evening around 7-8pm, the rush is less during this time. Also the gurudwara is decked up and looks amazing in the evening. Don’t miss out on this.
Apart from this, there is accommodation facilities available too. We were told that this facility is only for families and single women. So if you belong to any of the above category, you can check out their website. Cameras and small bags are allowed in the gurudwara premises. The timings are from 3am in the morning to 11pm in the night. The markets outside close at around 9pm.
To add to this, you SHOULD NOT MISS the langar at the gurudwara. This is a term used in general for common kitchen/canteen where food is served in a Gurdwara to all the visitors, Sikhs and non-sikhs. Only vegetarian food is served in Langar. The food is simple and tasty. Served with chapatis, dal, pickle and rice (we were served with a sweet version of rice) After the dinner, one could do come voluntary work in the gurudwara by helping them clean the utensils.
So, it was a great First Time Gurudwara visit for me. I really enjoyed the whole visit. A great serene and pure place as this is what makes a perfect holiday. So if you are hovering in and around delhi and have some time, do pay a visit to the Golden Temple.
[Visiting Wagah Border ? Read to find out what you can expect]