Golden Temple. Harmandir Sahib. Sri Darbar Sahib.
Different people have different names for this place, but for me, it is synonymous with only two words: Inner Peace.
And I'm not the only one who feels this way. Every single person who visits the shrine comes back feeling less chaotic. Maybe that is why people make it a point to revisit it.
Words failed me if I so much so as try to decipher my feelings but the moment you take your first step into the complex of the Golden Temple, you're left amazed. It's hard not to get blown away by what you see right in front of your eyes.
The surreal sight of the golden shrine right in the middle of the sarovar, almost like it's floating.
As you proceed on the marble stairs, each step takes you closer to connecting with your spiritual self. The wail of the harmonium calls to you and as you finally enter the complex, you realise that the sound of shuffling feet is quite distinct and yet barely audible.
You're not the only one who has come here to find a connection. The Golden Temple sees thousands of visitors everyday.
To reach the shrine, you would have to take a round of the sarovar or the water body and simply strolling on the marble walkway is an experience in itself.
It is that path that takes you closer to inner peace. You start feeling it already. Try standing at the edge of the sarovar and just dipping your feet in it.
It's said that taking a dip in the sarovar can heal you, be it physical sickness or mental turmoil. So many would agree with this.
The Golden Temple, the actual shrine, is built in the middle of the sarovar. The beauty of the golden shrine surrounded by water will leave you enchanted. What will surprise you even more is the crowd.
Given all the fractures and differences in Indian culture, this is one place that manages to stitch everything together. You will find people from all religions, with their own stories of why they're visiting, and the sheer faith you witness will be enough to make you feel more connected, at least to your culture.
Once you're inside the main shrine, even with the number of people and the kirtan, you'll experience a certain kind of tranquillity. What goes on outside will be much different from what goes on inside you.
Don't miss out on the langar. The common kitchen where everyone is served irrespective of their religion, caste or gender. It is exactly in the langar hall that you'll find the mosaic Indian culture is made of.
Amidst the cluttering noises of the plates and the serving of hot daal, you'll meet people from each nook and corner of India (and abroad, as well). So, it isn't too surprising that the Golden Temple serves about 40,000 people each day in the langar.
The temple is open twenty four hours everyday and a part of the highlight is seeing the complex in different shades of light and with different crowds inside.
The curves and columns of the structure called the Golden Temple is magnificent but the peace it has to offer is the reason it sees so many visitors.