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Sri Darbar Sahib, also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib or Golden Temple, is situated in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, Northern Province of Indian Republic. Sri Darbar Sahib is a living symbol of the spiritual and historical traditions of the Sikhs. It is a source of inspiration for all Sikhs and their main place of pilgrimage. The Sikhs all over the world, daily wish to pay visit to Sri Amritsar and to pay obeisance at Sri Darbar Sahib in their Ardas. Guru Amar Dass, the 3rd Sikh Guru, asked Ram Dass (who would go on to become the 4th Sikh Guru) to build a central place of congregation for the Sikhs. Guru Ram Dass started excavation work in 1577 during his lifetime. Guru Arjun Dev the 5th Sikh Guru completed excavation of the pool known as Sarover (The Pool of Nectar) and its foundation laid by a Muslim saint Hazrat Mian Mir Jee of Lahore on 1st of Magh, 1644 Bikrmi Samvat (December, 1588). The construction work was directly supervised by Guru Arjan Dev Jee himself and he was assisted by the prominent Sikh personalities like Baba Budha Jee, Bhai Gurdas Jee, Bhai Sahlo Jee and many other devoted Sikhs Unlike erecting the structure on the higher level (a tradition in Hindu Temple architecture), Guru Arjan Dev Jee got it built on the lower level and unlike Hindu Temples having only one gate for the entrance and exit, Guru Sahib got it open from four sides. Guru Arjun Dev exclaimed; “My faith is for the people of all castes and all creeds from whichever direction they come and to whichever direction they bow. Thus he created a symbol of new faith, Sikhism. Guru Sahib made it accessible to every person without any distinction of Caste, creed, sex and religion.

The construction work of “Sri Darbar Sahib” building was finally completed in 1601 A.D. The first edition of the Holy Book of the Sikh’s “Guru Granth Sahib” was installed there in 1604 with Baba Buddha as the first granthi (caretaker of the book). After this event it attained the status of ‘Ath Sath Tirath’. Now the Sikh Nation had its own “Tirath”, a pilgrimage center. The last Sikh Guru to live in Amritsar was the 6th Guru, Guru Hargobind. In 1664 Guru Tegh Bahadur the 9th Sikh Guru visited “Sri Darbar Sahib” but was refused entry by the corrupt temple caretakers, the Masands. Sri Darbar Sahib has always been a rallying point for Sikhs throughout its history. Around 1740 Massa Ranghar, the ruler of Amritsar desecrated the Temple by using it as a dancing hall. He was killed by Bhai Mahtab Singh. In 1761 Ahmed Shah Abdali blew up the Temple and filled in the Sacred Pool with refuse. The great Sikh martyr Baba Deep Singh laid down his life in revenge. The construction of Sri Darbar Sahib as it appears today was begun in 1764 when Jassa Singh Ahluwalia laid the foundation stone. Many of the doors and domes were covered with copper sheets overlaid with gold during the Sikh Rule led by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

In June 1984, on the orders of the Central Government of India, Indian Army attacked Sri Darbar Sahib; destroyed; desecrated Sri Akal Takht Sahib and killed thousands of Sikh men, women and children who had gathered to commemorate martyrdom of 5th Guru Sri Arjun Dev Ji.  According to Joyce Pettigrew, in her 1995 book, The Sikhs of the Punjab: Unheard Voices of State and Guerrilla: ”The army went into Durbar Sahib not to eliminate a political figure or a political movement but to suppress the culture of a people, to attack their heart, to strike a blow at their spirit and self-confidence.”  To cover up the marks of the planned attack on Sri Darbar Sahib, the Indian Government put their puppets to repair it. However, the Sikh Sangat didn’t accepted government’s patch work to hide its sins. The proper repair work was completed by traditional Kaar Seva.

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