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date: 14 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the ongoing religious life and history of the Darbar Sahib (aka Harimandir Sahib, or Golden Temple), Sikhism’s sacred centre in Amritsar. It begins with a historical overview of the Darbar Sahib from the beginnings of the town of Ramdaspur during the time of the early Sikh Gurus, followed by a period of destruction and contestation, the flourishing of Sikh architectural and artistic embellishments under Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s patronage, the British colonial period, the aftermath of Operation Blue Star in 1984, and the modern period. Special attention is given to practices, performances, and daily religious life at the Darbar Sahib, including twenty-four-hour continuous gurbani kirtan (devotional singing of the Gurus’ hymns), running of the langar (community kitchen), and other forms of practice and seva (selfless service).

Keywords: Amritsar, Darbar Sahib, Golden Temple, gurbani kirtan, Harimandir, langar, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Operation Blue Star’, Sikh architecture

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