The state is bordered by the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir to the northeast, Chandigarh to the east, Haryana to the south and southeast and Rajasthan to the southwest. Pakistan is located to the west.
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The Harmandir Sahib (or Hari Mandir) in Amritsar, is the holiest shrine to Sikhism. Previously and more commonly referred to as the Golden Temple, it was infact officially renamed Harmandir Sahib in 2005. The temple was completed in 1604 by the fifth Guru, Arjan Dev Ji, but it all began much earlier in 1577 when the fourth Guru of Sikhism, Guru Ram Das, excavated a tank in 1577 which subsequently became known as Amritsar (meaning pool of the nectar of immortality), thus giving its name to the city that grew around it. When visiting the temple it is important that you follow protocol. You will need to leave your shoes in the designated area (you will be given a token in exhange), cover your head and bathe your feet on the way in. The other restrictions are that visitors must not drink alcohol, eat meat or smoke cigarettes or take drugs on the premises. Perhaps unlike many other temples in India, here you feel genuinely welcome and there is no pressure to take out your wallet or pay for a guide and there is no entrance fee. The welcoming information office to the left of the main gate gives helpful advice and information, as well as booklets on Sikhism. The temple (or gurdwara, meaning doorway to god) is a major pilgrimage destination for Sikhs from all over the world, as well as a popular tourist attraction where all faiths are welcome. It also offers food and rest for weary travellers and pilgrims within its complex. When visiting the gurdwara you will notice catering quarters on a grand scale where food is being prepared and delicious smells will make your mouth water. Hundreds of people are fed for free every day here. The Golden Temple almost appears to float in its "pool of nectar"and is reflected beautifully in the still waters. It gleams and sparkles in the sunshine and after dark, when it is illuminated, it is equally beautiful and yes it is clad in real gold!
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