A visit, though official, to Amritsar was becoming fruitful; nonetheless, I realized that I simply could not vacation here – there was too much to know and see at any place I visit and the time we had was too little. The Akal Takht Amritsar, which was next in our agenda, is located in the Golden Temple complex and took us just five minutes to reach there.
Built by Guru Hargobind in 1606, the place constitutes a political institution, where temporal and spiritual issues are addressed. Interestingly, the name Akal Takht gives a meaning of the “Throne of Immortal”. I walked in and around admiring the architecture of the building. It looked a five-storey structure having a ‘gold-leafed dome’. The lime plaster and painted decorations gave a great look. Moreover, the paintings on the wall and ornamented ceilings showcase the exemplary work of the artisans.
No wonder, Amritsar has encouraged history and heritage-based tourism with many architectural buildings, most of them refurbished when they were damaged due to certain political reasons. I dug in to collect some details about the building. It was built at the place where there was a high mound, where Guru Hargobind played in his childhood. The term ‘Takhat’, which means the throne, represents the raised platform, used to sit and perform kingly duties by the Guru.
Today the ‘Jathedar’ is regarded as the highest spokesperson in the Akal Takht. They administer the duties upholding justice for the Sikh Panth. The place was renovated and looked in its present form was built by the Sikh on the traditional policy of Kar Seva and service.
The announcements of Hakamnamas, which are called writs, are made from the Akal Takhat. They help give clarification on any doctrines of Sikh religion, or offer guidance on some points you want to practice. Furthermore, it is religiously understood that everyone should follow the Akal Takhat.
Any sacrifices or services of exemplary nature done for the cause of Sikh community are recorded and appreciated time to time by the takhat.
The place has increasing number of visitors from many places and they try to learn the culture and practices of Sikh religion. It was getting late and we were quite tired and wanted to rest to perform our official duties the next day.