Honey-soaked sun rays burnish the burly men with bushy beards and stout bellies as they walk amidst the temple’s golden glow, its 750 kilograms of gold shimmering like a terrestrial sun.
As the Sikh religion’s holiest site, Harmandir Sahib (Temple of God) draws pilgrims to Amritsar, a sprawling city in northwest India’s Punjab province.
Known for its Golden Temple and the city’s delicious cuisine (most Indian restaurants in the US serve Punjabi Indian food), Amritsar’s visitors encounter the Sikh religion, learn about its history (persecution and warriors) and experience Sikh hospitality.
Free accommodations are provided for pilgrims and travelers (read: grungy backpackers). I tried staying but arrived too late and the 30 or so beds set aside for backpackers were full. Across the road, near one of the temple complex’s four entrances (a symbol of Sikh inclusiveness) a massive open air eating area staffed by volunteers provides meals 24-hours a day.
More than 100,000 people visit the temple daily, wandering its marble passageways, while pilgrims dipping in the Pool of the Nectar of Immortality.
Check out photos from this beautiful d below and stay tuned for more photos in the coming days.