in the morning light, the gilded splendor of its paneling and big dome
and small minarets, this temple is a fairy world palace to the devotees
of the Sikh faith. Certainly, the first look brings onto the innocent
eye the image of a transcendent fact The 'loving sight' peering into
heaven from the legends of the miraculous cures by the touch of the
water in the pool of nectar, in which the shrine stands makes for
ecstatic awareness. The vision has been received by millions of pilgrims
who have come here for centuries from near and far.
The actual construction had
modest beginnings: A mud-house was constructed by Guru Amar Das, who is
said to have found on the edge of the pool the magical herb which cured
a skin ailment of his master Guru Angad. The Amrit Sarovar remained a
village tank, until the fourth Guru Ram Das began to carry out the plans
of his mentor for a more permanent structure in brick.
Chak, Chak-Guru, Guru-ka-chak,
Chak-Guru-Ram-Das, Ram-Das-Pura, were the names of Amritsar in those
times. The temple on the banks of the pool of nectar was surrounded by
the houses of the craftsmen from the towns of Patti, Kasur and Kalanur,
who came to build the holy place. The only market was then called
Guru-ka-bazar, still known by that name, though more populous.
Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth.
master, who came to the spiritual throne in 1581, felt from the growing
popularity of the shrine as a pilgrim center the need to have the tank
paved on the four sides and the steps of Hari Mandir bricked. The
devotees joined to construct the temple, which would be lived in during
the everyday life, where the infinite mystery would be revealed to those
who may want to see. Already, however, the demand to create a paradise
on earth became urgent, from the vision of Arjan Dev, of many simple
hearts coming, with dipped eyes over joined hands, to pray and touch the
holy water on their foreheads.
So this Guru had the
structure of the Hari Mandir planned in such a way that the outsight,
might afford the insight. The present causeway leading to the Hari
Mandir was then designed, with the rectangular shape of the
circumambulatory walk ending at the gateway, from which the path to
Reality began. And to combine, symbolically, the noblest truth of Islam
about One God with the faith in the Hindu God Hari and his many
incarnations, the Muslim divine, Mian Mir of Lahore, is said to have
been invited by Guru Arjan Dev to lay the foundation stone of the temple
in A.D. 1588. The structure of the shrine also mixed the rectangular
form of the Hindu temple with the dome and minarets of the Muslims