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Tags : Gurudwara

Timings : 4:00 AM - 11:00 PM

Time Required : 15-20 mins

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Akal Takht, Amritsar Overview

Akal Takht (Throne of the Timeless One) is the highest political and administrative institution of the Sikhs, founded by the sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind in 1606. Located in the famous Golden Temple complex of Amritsar, the Akal Takht is one of the Five Takhts of the Sikhs. These Takhts are seats of power and authority among the Sikh community, and the place of the Jathedar, the highest spokesmen among them. The Akal Takht is meant to be a symbol of political sovereignty and justice, where the spiritual and earthly concerns of the Sikh people could be addressed and examined.

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Architecture of Akal Takht

The Akal Takht was built on a high mound of earth across a wide-open space in the Golden Temple complex, directly opposite the Harmindar Sahib.The elevated platform, originally 9-feet, was raised to its current height of 12 feet, an act done in defiance to the Royal Emporer Jehangir, who had ordered that no one, except an Emperor, can sit on a raised platform of more than 3 feet.

Currently, the building is a five-story structure, with marble inlay, a gold-leafed dome, gilded interiors and beautifully painted wall panels. Traces of lime plaster painted in the Mughal style of floral themes can be found, part of the original construction work by Guru Hargobind. Three stories were added to the structure in the 1700s by Ranjit Singh. The building has been compared to the famous Piazza Saint Marco in Venice where the Doge's Palace faces the Grand Canal. Similarly, Akal Takht is located in the open courtyard, in front of the Darshani Deori.

Traditions practised at the Akal Takht

The Akal Takht has set of traditions one of which is the priest reciting the Rehras Sahib (Evening prayer) and Ardas, along with a sword in the hand. Every evening, visitors can see the rare weapons of the Sikh Gurus and warriors which are displayed in the Golden Palanquin. The Guru Granth Sahib is still brought here every night and taken to the Golden Temple every morning. Vistors can witness the ceremony of putting the book to bed that takes place each day at a precise time, given on their official website.

History of the Akal Takht

The building was built by Guru Hargobind Ji, Bhai Gurdas Ji and Baba Buddha Ji with their own hands. No labourer or architect was employed for the construction of this Gurudwara. The site of this construction is said to be where Guru Hargobind played as a little boy. The raised mound of earth was formed during the excavation work being done at the Amrit-Sarovar in order to lay the foundation for the Harmandir Sahib. In 1604, when the Guru Granth Sahib was being installed in the Harmandir Sahib, it was kept in this raised room every night.

Guru Arjan Dev used to sleep under the cot meant for the Guru Granth Sahib, now known as the Kotha Sahib. Guru Hargobind used the Akal Takht as a venue for holding court and listening to the woes of the people. During the reign of Maharaj Ranjit Singh, the Akal Takht was decorated with gold. The Takht had suffered damage during the infamous Operation Bluestar by the Indian Army. The Indian Government later rebuilt the structure, naming it Sarkari Takht. This was done to show the people that the structure was built by the government and not sacred.

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