Part of every Sikh religious ceremony that takes place at the gurdwara is followed by the distribution of prashad. Prashad is made of flour, sugar and butter that has been blessed and is shared as a sign of community. If you make a donation to the Temple, you will be given prashad on in a plate to offer as a blessing once you enter the Golden Temple.
The Golden Temple is a symbol of the magnificence and strength of the Sikh people all over the world. In the evolution of the Darbar Sahib, is entwined the history and ideology of Sikhism. In its architecture are included, symbols associated with other places of worship. This is an example of the spirit of tolerance and acceptance that the Sikh philosophy propounds.
I personally like this place more than the Taj Mahal. There's no entrance fee. You need to take off your shoes and cover your head. If you visit the temple during daytime, be aware that the floor is freaking hot. There's a tourist information office at the entrance, you might wanna get in and ask for a booklet which contains a history of this place and a map.
It costed 10 Rupees to take a rickshaw from Amritsar Railway Station to the Golden Temple.
Buildings/Shrines of the Golden Temple Complex
The Golden Temple is without a doubt the most beautiful building within the temple complex. However, there are several other important - and beautiful - buildings and shrines within the complex.
Guru Ram Das Langar - The building under the 2 minarets is the temple's communal dining hall and kitchen. Langar is both the name of the place (all Sikh temples have one) as well as the free meal that is served here. The kitchen can feed 10,000 people a day, 3,000 people at a time. The simple meal consists of chapatis/rotis (bread) and dal (lentils). Everyone is welcome. Lunch is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 7:00 p.m. onwards.
Sixty Eight-In-One Sacred Place - This sacred place - also known as Athsath Tirath - is located at the water's edge near the dining hall. This 68 Holy Places represents 68 Hindu pilgrimage sites. Since the actual sites are located around the country, Guru Arjan Dev told devotees that is was enough to bathe here rather than go to each site.
Akal Takht - The Akal Takht is a 5 storied building that is directly opposite to the causeway entrance to the Golden Temple. The name Akal Takht means "timeless throne". This is the seat of the Sikh's religious committee where the Sikh Parliament meet and day to day administration is done. It is an interesting and pretty building with a gilt dome that houses the guru's swords and flagstaffs. It is also where the Guru Granth Sahib (holy book) is kept at night. Each morning (at 4 or 5 a.m.) the holy book is moved to the Golden Temple in a special procession. When it is returned at 9 or 10 p.m. at night, a Palki Sahib (night ceremony) takes place. If you would like to see either, confirm the times (they change by season). The Akal Takht is also the building that in 1984 was destroyed by heavy fighting/fire with the Indian Army. It has been rebuilt to what it is today.
Central Sikh Museum - The museum is located upstairs in the clock tower entrance. There are coins, paintings, arms, etc. on display create a vivid picture of the Sikh's struggles against the Mughals, the British, and the Indian Army. (No charge for entry, closes around 7 p.m.)
Jubi Tree - Near the clock tower entrance is a 400+ year old jubi tree. It is believed to be the shaded resting place of the first priest of the temple. Today it is a favorite spot for marriages. Women hoping to be blessed with a son also tie colorful threads to the branches.
Photos of the various buildings and shrines can be viewed in my Golden Temple Complex travelogues.
Not allowed in the Golden Temple
The visitors to the temple are not allowed to carry umbrelas and walkingsticks. They are not to wear the shoes and socks.These items can be kept at the cloakroom, in front of the temple, free of charges. Before entering the temple they have to keep their heads covered.
Sri Durgiana Temple - marblework
Just like the Taj Mahal, the Sri Durgiana Temple has some beautiful inlaid marblework. This is called Pietra Dura and designs shown are of flowers, elephants and other animals. Some of the marblework has writing on it which I presume is important religious Hindi text and there's also lines outlining donations and the sums given towards the upkeep of the temple.