Visiting the Golden Temple Amritsar is on most people’s India itinerary. So here’s a guide to the holiest Gurdwara, and most important site of Sikhism.
The Golden Temple, also known as Harmandir Sahib, is located in Amritsar. A city in the northwestern Indian state of Punjab.
The Harmandir Sahib, meaning “abode of God”, is easily reachable by foot from anywhere in Amritsar city. If you are staying within the city it will be a maximum of 20 minutes walk.
Another option is to jump in a rickshaw (tuk tuk). They are fast and affordable, just be sure to negotiate your price before getting in.
A great option if you have time is to take a Small Group Sightseeing Tour, where you’ll explore the highlights of Amritsar on a private tour with a local guide.
A great option for those looking to be guided around the Golden Temple, and learn more about the history and culture from an experienced visitor!
For those short on time, or that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.
There is no entrance fee for visiting the Golden Temple.
The temple is run purely by donations. Although for locals it’s encouraged to share and give 10% of one’s earnings as money towards upkeep.
Also, at every entrance, there is the option to store your shoes, or luggage, free of charge.
Simply queue up and exchange your items for a token. However, we wouldn’t recommend leaving any valuables.
Daily: 3am – 11pm
Visiting the Golden Temple Amritsar is open to all religions, cultures and walks of life. So there are no open or close signs on the doors.
As for the temple itself, there’s no specific Golden Temple Amritsar timings we would suggest visiting. Sunrise, sunset and by night are all just as beautiful.
Whichever time you choose to go though, be prepared for photo overload. Not of the temple but of YOU!
Indian’s will go crazy for selfies with tourists. They’ll grab your arm, shout for your attention and even throw their babies at you.
So be patient, or just reply with a stern no.
There are a few guidelines that should be taken into account before visiting the Golden Temple:
- Full body must be covered (no shorts)
- Wash hands before entering
- Remove shoes and walk through the shallow foot pool
- Cover your head (head covers are available for free upon entry)
And most importantly whilst you’re there, respect the Sikh culture.
The Golden Temple, also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib, is the most famous Gurdwara in the world. A Gurdwara being a place of worship for Sikhs.
Founded in 1577 by the fourth Sikh guru, Guru Ram Das, it was initially an idea after he founded the town of Amritsar and built a pool.
The fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan, then gave the idea of constructing a temple where all Sikhs could come and worship. So the construction of The Golden Temple was initiated in 1581 and the first version was completed just 8 years later.
Nowadays, the Golden Temple is recognised as one of the most important places of worship in the world, and the temple’s dome is gilded with 750kg of pure gold.
Of the 27 million Sikhs in the world, 83% of them live in India and 76% of those live in the state of Punjab, the birth place of the Golden Temple.
Although it’s a holy place for practising Sikhism, its doors are open to all religions, cultures and walks of life.
One really important teaching of the Sikh Guru’s is to understand and practice equality amongst all races. Irrespective of caste, religion, colour, age, status or gender.
Volunteering At The Golden Temple
This amazing place is home to the largest free kitchen in the world (Langar) feeding over 100,000 people in a single day with the help of volunteers.
You are welcomed to muck in and help the locals maintain the service in the Golden Temple, and in fact they are happy to see you do so!
Simply ask anyone in the kitchen area how you can help, and they’ll happily guide you on what to do.
We were lucky enough to experience what it’s like to be one of those volunteers for a day.
From the chopping of the vegetables, to the cleaning of the plates and catching of the chapatis in-between, we witnessed just how much of a military operation it takes to keep this place running day in day out.
If you have time when visiting the Golden Temple Amritsar, we certainly recommend volunteering for an hour or so.
For us, this was definitely one of the best things to do in India.
Staying At The Golden Temple
Anyone can stay for free in the temple complex.
Simply ask at the information desk, and they will guide you to the dormitory accommodation called “Guru Arjan Dev Niwas”.
It’s a simple accommodation with a shared bathroom reserved for tourists, and you are allowed to stay here for free for 3 days.
If you plan on staying at The Golden Temple we recommend keeping your valuables on you at all times.
Luxury – Hyatt Amritsar
Offering an all year round outdoor vitality pool equipped with air and water jet features. Hyatt Regency Amritsar also has the biggest spa in the city with 8 treatment rooms.
The property also offers complimentary AC coach pick up and drop two times a day to the Golden Temple to all its guests.
All air conditioned rooms come with a king bed and pillow menu.
A flat-screen TV and minibar are available. En suite bathrooms come with a bathtub.
Mid-Budget – Hotel Hong Kong Inn
Just 0.6 miles from Amritsar Railway Station, Hotel Hong Kong Inn offers air-conditioned rooms with a flat-screen cable TV.
This property features 24-hour room service and free parking. WiFi is available free of charge.
Hong Kong Hotel is 1.2 miles from Golden Temple, Durgiana Temple and Jallian Wala Bagh. It is 6.2 miles from Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport.
Tastefully decorated rooms feature modern interiors and warm lighting. All rooms come with a flat-screen TV, a refrigerator and tea/coffee maker.
Private bathrooms come with a shower, hairdryer and toiletries.
Backpacker – Jugaadus Hostel
Located just 0.6 miles from the famous Golden Temple, Jugaadus’ Eco Hostel is situated in Amritsar.
Free WiFi access is available. The rooms come with shared bathrooms.
At Jugaadus’ Eco Hostel you will find a terrace and a shared kitchen. Other facilities offered at the property include a shared lounge, a tour desk and luggage storage.
For more places to stay in Amritsar, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.