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The Golden Temple is the center of Sikhism located in Amritsar. It consists of a series of buildings surrounding a central lake with the Golden Temple in the center. Housed within the Golden Temple is the holy scripture of Sikhism. The complex was started in 1577 when the tank fed from the Ravi River was dug out. By 1604 the Golden Temple itself, in the center of the lake, was completed and the holy scriptures installed within it. In the mid 18th century the city and temple were attacked by Afghan raiders and it had to be substantially rebuilt. In 1984 it was the sight of Operation Blue Star, where the Indian army entered the complex. Fighting ensued causing leading to the deaths of many of the Sikhs and the temple complex suffered major damage. This act led directly to the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards several months later.

The temple complex is open to people of all faiths as long as they abide by the rules which include, entering barefoot and washing ones feet, abstaining from alcohol, meat and cigarettes, wearing appropriate attire and sitting if listening to the reading of the holy text. It also has one of the largest free kitchens in the world, serving 100,000 daily a meal of flat bread and lentil soup.

We arrived very early at the Temple, around 5 a.m., and heard the reading of the texts. This is also broadcast around the world from the satellites on the roof of the complex.

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Additional Photos by Paul Mastrogiacomo (pamastro) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2680 W: 165 N: 2694] (7290)
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