The Golden Temple is an architectural religious building, which was named for the use of gold in its decoration. In the world of such famous temples - three, one is located in India in the city of Amritsar, the other is on the island of Sri Lanka, the third is in Kyoto, Japan.
Therefore, the answer to the question, in which country the Golden Temple is located, will not be unambiguous, moreover, this name is used not only for architectural structures located in different countries, but also as the title of a book published in 1956 by the Japanese writer Yukio Misima.
Harmandir Temple in India
The Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) in the Indian state of Punjab in the city of Amritsar, located on the border of India and Pakistan, is an ancient architectural monument of the 16th century. He is also famous for the historical events that took place here in the 20th century. during the revolt of the Sikhs.
Amritsar is a city with a million people, which, by Indian standards, means a small one, is the center of the cultural and religious history of the Sikhs, and the temple located here is considered a spiritual shrine for 20 million of this people, settled around the world.
Its construction began in 1589 at the direction of the ruler of guru Arjan Deva Jia. The construction of the building was monitored by the Sikh Emperor Ranjit Singh, and funding was provided from the funds of the city of Punjab. According to builders, it took 100 kg of precious metal to cover gold with copper plates.
The sacred temple stands on an island surrounded by the waters of the “Lake of Immortality” (Amrita Saraye), in which, according to the Sikhs, water has healing properties. There are red fish and carps in the lake. Many visitors try to swim in the lake in order to be healed of diseases.
The photo of the Golden Temple shows that the building itself can be accessed by the bridge, passing through the gate with security. Inside it is stored the holy book of Guru Granth Sahib, which is a collection of hymns of religious content. They were composed of 10 gurus of three faiths: Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus, and are performed during the day to the accompaniment of musical instruments.
Harmandir’s architecture is a mixture of Hindu and Islamic trends, it also contains original features of its own; its golden dome in the shape of a lotus symbolizes the desire of the Sikhs to live without vices and sins. Along the perimeter of the lake there is a snow-white marble temple, the lower part of the walls of which is a mosaic with images of plants and animals.
It is believed that the temple is open to people of all faiths and skin colors, so symbolically it has 4 entrances to the cardinal. The first guru, who here considered himself a wise mediator, sincerely preached the equality and brotherhood of all peoples.
The legend of the "Lake of Immortality"
In the ancient legend about the Golden Temple and the lake next to it, the proud princess, whom the father chose the groom, is narrated. However, she did not agree with him and did not want to marry, because her father decided to give her away as the first man to meet them on the road. The groom turned out to be an ulcer tramp, whom the girl led to this lake and left.
The bridegroom returned to the bride already as a handsome man, but the princess did not believe him and claimed that he had become the murderer of her husband. But then an accident prompted the girl to answer: 2 black swans sat on the water of the lake, when they took off, they were already white, and then the princess believed that her fiance was miraculously healed from the sacred water.
Holy Temple and the bloody 20th century
Historical events of the 20th century were rather gloomy and bloody, accompanied by killings of people. In 1919, a bloody massacre took place on Jallianvalabagh Square in the central part of Amritsar, which became one of the shameful pages of British colonization in this country. On April 13, 1919, many pilgrims came to the city to celebrate the Sikh Vaisakh, and the British general R. Dwyer ordered the troops to shoot everyone, according to some reports, about 1 thousand Sikh Indians died. After these events, Gandhi and his associates led the Non-Collaboration Movement, which began the struggle for the independence of India, the beginning of which was a nationwide strike.
The following bloody military events occurred here in 1984 when the Sikh leader J. Bhindranwal and his associates occupied the Golden Temple in Amritsar and declared this the beginning of the struggle for the independent Sikh state of Halistan. Indian Prime Minister I. Gandhi ordered the destruction of the separatists, which was accomplished Indian Army using tank troops. The consequence of this was a surge of Sikh terrorism, and then I. Gandhi was killed by her bodyguards, who were also Sikhs by nationality.
As a result of these events, the sacred temple was half destroyed, but over time it was restored. Knowing where the Golden Temple is, many pilgrims come here to touch religious ordinances, make a ritual circle around the lake or swim in it to heal the body.
Now it is constantly open to all visitors, the monks living here constantly sing and read texts from the Sikh holy book, which is transmitted through loudspeakers throughout the complex. Upstairs, the Museum of Sikhism is opened, which presents an exposition on the history of oppression of this people by the Mughals, the British and I. Gandhi.
Golden Cave Temple in Dambulla
Another answer to the question in which country the Golden Temple is located is on the island of Sri Lanka. It is the shrine of Buddhist pilgrims and tourists. This temple cave complex includes the oldest Golden Temple in the world, dating back over 22 centuries.
The history of the temple tells the story of King Valagambaha, who in the 1st century. BC e. He was expelled here by his enemies and lived in a cave with local monks. After 14 years, he re-occupied the throne, and here he ordered the creation of a cave temple, as described by the inscription in the language of the Brahmins located at the top near the entrance. Since then, the temples in Dambulla have gained popularity as a place where Buddhists from all over the country come to worship.
For 2 thousand years on the territory of the complex, the rulers of the island made many changes, including:
- in the 12th century King Nissankamalla instructed to cover all 73 Buddha statues with pure gold, hence the name of the Golden Cave Temple;
- in the 18th century local artists and architects made architectural changes in the temple, which continues to this day: periodic restoration of various paintings with the use of persistent dyes, the recipes of which are kept in great secret;
- in the 20th century a colonnade and pediments were completed to protect the temple from strong winds.
What to see in the temple in Dambulla
The answer to the question “To see the Golden Temple, which country should I go to?”, Will be - to Sri Lanka in the city of Dambulla. Here one of the most ancient religious structures of the island has been preserved.
The complex includes the Golden Temple, 5 cave temples and many more small caves (about 70), in the construction and reconstruction of which almost all the rulers of the island of Ceylon participated. It is located on a mountain top 350 m high on 20 hectares of area, recognized by World Heritage Site UNESCO.
These religious buildings introduce pilgrims and tourists to the history and art of Sri Lankan craftsmen over the past centuries. As in all Buddhist temples and monasteries, when visiting it, travelers feel the harmony of their inner world, which helps to overcome stressful conditions and enjoy the contemplation of the beautiful.
The temple’s decoration is a collection of Buddha statues, which has been going on for 2 millennia, as well as paintings, the theme of which are various milestones of his life.
Almost all Buddha statues are located in cave temples, mainly in a deep meditation position, there is also a statue of King Valagambaha made of wood. In one of the caves you can get acquainted with a natural miracle - flowing upward water, which then enters the golden bowl.
In another cave there is a stupa, previously used as a safe for the jewels of a royal wife who was looted. In the cave, painted in the 18th century, on the walls and ceiling there are about 1 thousand images of the Buddha, as well as more than 50 of his statues in sitting and lying positions, including one of the statues measuring 9 m.
The youngest of the caves, which was restored at the beginning of the 20th century, is the most colorful, because the colors in 100 years did not have time to fade.
Temple in Japan: History
Another architectural structure, called the Golden Temple in Japan, is located in the ancient capital of Kyoto on the territory of the Chinamanden temple complex. In Japanese, its name sounds “Kinkaku-ji”, which means “Golden Pavilion”.
The Japanese consider it the most beautiful building in their country, the Golden Temple is even more ancient than the Indian one - it was built in 1397 as a villa for the rest of the ruler Yoshimitsu, who abdicated and lived here until his death. Now it is a place of storage of Buddhist relics.
The name "Golden" reflects not only the appearance, but also the building material, because the 2 upper floors of the temple are covered with sheets of real gold. The building stands on the shore of the lake, which very beautifully reflects its golden radiance, stones lie around the perimeter in order to emphasize its richness and grace.
The temple, from the point of view of the Japanese, is perfection, which is beautiful, original and restrained beauty: soaring above the surface of the Mirror Lake, it fits very harmoniously into the surrounding park. Architecture and nature are the same for creating an artistic image. In the center of the man-made lake are the islands of Turtle and Crane.
The combination of the temple and the lake gives rise to the idea of solitude and silence, peace and tranquility, the reflection of heaven and earth is the highest manifestation of natural properties.
Kyoto Temple: Structure
In the middle of the 20th century. one of the monks, mad, and in order to fight beauty, set fire to the shrine, but he was able to restore it in its original form. The building is surrounded by a magnificent Japanese garden, paved with paths and decorated with small ponds and streams, which is considered one of the most beautiful in Japan.
Each floor of the Golden Temple in Kyoto has its own purpose:
- on the first, called the “Temple of Water Purification” (Hosuyin), surrounded by a veranda overhanging the surface of the pond, there is a hall for guests and visitors, the interiors are made in the style of aristocracy villas;
- on the second, reminiscent of the samurai’s dwelling and called “The Grotto of the Surf” (Theonhor), richly decorated Japanese painting, there is a hall of music and poetry;
- the third floor is a cell of a Zen monk of Zen Buddhism and is called the “Top of the Beautiful” (Kukyoto), it has two beautiful arched window openings built in the style of Buddhist architecture of the 14th century, it hosts religious ceremonies, from the inside and outside this hall is covered with leaves from gold on a black background;
- on the roof is a statue of a Chinese phoenix.
In the garden there is a spring Gingasen (Milky Way), from which the shogun Yoshimitsu drank. The most valuable treasure is the Fudodo Hall, which houses the Buddhist deity Fudo Myo.
Book of Yukio Mishima "Golden Temple"
This book, Kinkaku-ji, translated into many languages of the world, including Russian (translated by B. Akunin), was written in 1956 and tells about the real events of the fire in the temple, when in 1950 the novice of the monastery set fire to this beautiful building. The author of the novel is the Japanese writer Yukio Mishima, recognized in the country as a famous and significant creator of the second half of the 20th century.
Thanks to this novel and its popularity, many learned about the country in which the Golden Temple is located and how the terrible event occurred, as a result of which the temple was burned and destroyed.
The protagonist of the novel is the son of a poor priest Mizoguchi, who was captivated by his father’s stories about the beauty of the Golden Temple since childhood. After his death, he went to his friend Dosen, who served as the head of this temple, and went to school at the Buddhist Academy. Being himself ugly in appearance and having a defect in the form of stuttering, he often came to the sacred building, worshiping his beauty and begging to reveal his secret.
Over time, the protagonist enters the university and dreams of becoming the successor to the abbot, but his unseemly and cruel deeds forced Dosen to change his mind.
Gradually, the internal torment and mental hesitation of Mizoguchi acquire a strange goal: out of love for the beauty and grandeur of the temple, he decides to burn it and then commit suicide. Having chosen the right moment, he sets fire and runs away.
Mishima interprets the Golden Temple as the embodiment of the ideal beauty of the world, which, according to the protagonist, has no place in our ugly world.
The fate of Yukio Mishima
The fate of the writer of the "Golden Temple" Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) was also tragic. Being one of the most famous Japanese writers of the post-war period, Mishima was nominated 3 times for the Nobel Prize, he wrote several novels that became popular and famous around the world: Kyoko’s House, Shield Society, Sea of Plenty, etc. His literary activity and the orientation of works changed throughout life: the first novels were devoted to the problems of homosexuality, then aesthetic trends in literature influenced him. Mishima’s novel “The Golden Temple” was written just during this period. It describes a deep analysis of the lonely person’s inner world and his mental suffering.
Then the Kyoko House was published, which was a reflection of the very essence of the era, causing opposing critical assessments: some called it a masterpiece, others called complete failure. This was the beginning of a turning point and a deep disappointment in my life.
Since 1966, the author of the Golden Temple, Yukio Mishima, has become ultra-right; he is creating a militarized group, the Shield Society, which aims to proclaim the restoration of imperial rule. With 4 of his associates, he is trying to make a coup, which he came up with in order to effectively arrange his suicide. Having captured a military base, he makes a speech for the emperor, and then makes himself hara-kiri, his comrades-in-arms complete the ritual by chopping off his head. Such was the tragic finale of the life of the famous Japanese writer.
So how many golden temples are there in the world?
Existing in different countries, Golden Churches, built in ancient times, are religious buildings, each of which has become a place where many pilgrims and travelers seek. They want to plunge not only into history, but also into the world of religious ideas that preach the desire for an immaculate and sinless life, for the harmony of the environment and the inner world of every person of any faith.
The history of these temples is full of controversial and controversial events, sometimes incredibly tragic. Some of them are reflected in famous literary works: one of them is the novel "The Golden Temple"
by Y. Misima.