When Gold spells God

Not just the interiors and decor, but take a look at the gilt-edged idols, when you visit these places of worship

Last Updated: Oct 27, 2014, 13:15 PM IST
When Gold spells God
Pic courtesy: Thinkstock image.

Rama Sreekant 

Not just the interiors and decor, but take a look at the gilt-edged idols, when you visit these places of worship

Golden Temple, Amritsar

The Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar, Punjab, is the holiest shrine in Sikhism. Previously (and still more commonly) known as the Golden Temple, it was officially renamed Harmandir Sahib in March 2005. A major pilgrimage destination for Sikhs from all over the world, as well as an increasingly popular tourist attraction, the construction of the Golden Temple began in 1574 on land donated by the Mughal emperor Akbar and was completed in 1601.

In the early 19th century, 100 kg of gold was plated on to the inverted lotus-shaped dome and decorative marble was added. All this gold and marble work took place under the patronage of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The most famous and sacred part of the Golden Temple complex is the Hari Mandir (Divine Temple) or Darbar Sahib (Court of the Lord), which is the beautiful golden structure at the center of a large body of water. The gold-plated building features copper cupolas and white marble walls encrusted with precious stones arranged in decorative Islamic-style floral patterns. The structure is decorated inside and out with verses from the Granth Sahib (the Sikh holy book). The Golden Temple provides the rarest of artwork to the visitors and art lovers visiting this shrine. All the domes of Harmandir, inner walls, the door panels exhibit gold work. Special designs have been given to the copper sheets and then they have been covered with gold leaves. This work is also on the inner roofs.

Tirumala Venkateswara

Temple At the famous Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, the Lord’s idol inside the sanctum is nothing short of a wonder in all ways. While the legend has it that the eight-feet idol has been installed at the place by no human, but is actually self-manifested. The idol is adorned with a golden crown with a huge emerald, a double tilak on the forehead that also partly covers his eyes and with decorative golden earrings. The Lord’s right fist is embedded with a gem-set chakra, and the left fist holds a shanka (conch shell). And that’s not all! A gold-hued cloth is tied to the idol with a golden string and a gold belt with trinkets. The idol is also adorned with a sacred thread and has Goddess Sri Lakshmi on his right chest and goddess Padmavati on his left chest. And lastly, his feet have a gold frame covering and are adorned with gold-made anklets! The gold on the deity itself weighs 1,000 kg. The second richest temple in India, the per day visitor count here is approximately 60,000.