By Michael Wood
Last updated 2011-06-20
It is said that 750 kg of pure gold went into gilding the dome, which represents an inverted lotus leaf. This in turn is meant to symbolise the aim of leading a life of purity, which is a central tenet of the Sikh religion.
The Sikh religion was founded by Guru Nanak in Punjab at the start of the 16th century. Drawing on ideas from Hinduism, Islam and Jainism, Guru Nanak rejected many of the practices associated with them. He campaigned against caste, worship of idols and dietary restrictions, and when not farming, spent his time preaching and singing hymns he had composed.
In the temple can be found the sacred pool of water, called the Amrit Sarovar, ('Pool of Nectar') from which the town of Amritsar derives its name. This is the inner sanctum or 'Hari Mandir Sahib', which holds (during the day) the original copy of the Sikh holy book 'Guru Granth Sahib'. At night the 'Guru Granth Sahib' is taken to another part of the temple.