Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar

Sikhism Pilgrimage keyfacts

Sikhs are not required to go on pilgrimage. Instead, they are encouraged to focus on worshipping God and the service of others. The Guru Granth Sahib teaches:

Someone may go to Ganges, Godavari, Kumbha festival, or bathe at Kaydaar Naat'h, or make donations of thousands of cows at Gomti; he may make millions of pilgrimages to sacred shrines, or freeze his body in the Himalayas; still, none of these is equal to the worship of God.Guru Granth Sahib page 973

However, despite there being no religious requirement to go on pilgrimage, many Sikhs visit a famous historic gurdwara in Amritsar (Punjab, India). This is the Harmandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib (also known as the Golden Temple), and it is a centre of spiritual and cultural identity.

Guru Arjan, the fifth Guru, designed the original gurdwara (in 1604). This was destroyed during the eighteenth century. In the early 19th century, Maharaja Ranjit Singh had the Harmandir Sahib rebuilt and covered the upper part of the building with gold. This is why it is referred to as the Golden Temple.