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Amritsar
INTRODUCTION
Amritsar is home to the Religious Building important to Sikhs - The Golden Temple. Amritsar is an institution by itself. And the Golden Temple is the cradle of Amritsar with the city growing around it nurtured by its divine sanctity. Amritsar is one of the most sacred sikh religious sites in India.

HISTORY
Golden Temple, the religious building important to Sikhs has a legacy associated with it. The Amrit Sarovar or pool of nectar has long been associated with Indian legends and Lord Rama's twin sons had supposedly been taught the Ramayana here. How the land was acquired for the construction of the temple has many stories. Some say the Guru bought it, others say it was granted by emperor Akbar. Whatever the story, it is certain the religious building important to Sikhs was built on a revenue free land.

Oral tradition dictates that the Muslim divine Pir Mian Mir of Lahore, at the request of the fifth Sikh Guru Arjan Dev, laid the temple's foundation stone. However, there is no record supporting this, not even in the biographies of Pir. The recorded account says that Guru Arjun Dev laid the foundation in 1588. The Guru's followers settled down in the neighborhood and a small town called Ramdaspur quickly came up, deriving its later name, Amritsar, from the holy tank that encircles the Hari Mandir, or the Darbar Sahib, now known as the Golden Temple.


The flourishing town that grew around the temple during Guru Arjan Dev's lifetime grew further in stature as the followers of Sikhism grew in number. Things moved fast. The first Sikh Maharaja, Ranjit Singh, made Amritsar his spiritual capital while Lahore was the temporal seat of his newly founded expanding kingdom. Ranjit Singh oversaw the temple's further development, gilding the embossed plates, renewing the pietra dura and embellishing the interior with floral designed, mirrored ceilings.

The Golden Temple is not only a religious building important to Sikhs, it is an eclectic monument that has grown as much of people's devotion as from the guild craftsmen's skills to become Sikmost sacred of the sikh religious sites. Generation after generation has lavished praise on the art and architecture of the golden temple and it is widely regarded as being amongst the most tastefully decorated shrines anywhere.
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