Golden Temple, Amritsar

Golden Temple, Amritsar

The Golden Temple or Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar, India, is the supreme shrine in Sikhism.  Kept within the temple is the Sikh Holy Scripture.

In 1984, the temple complex was the site of a bloody battle between Indian soldiers and Sikh militants hiding inside.  The desecration of the shrine and the deaths of many civilians caused great anger amongst the Sikh community, leading to the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards.  Hundreds of Sikhs lost their lives in revenge killings in the days that followed Gandhi’s death.

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A Nihang Sikh

This man is a Nihang Sikh, a member of a Sikh military sect which in former times formed the backbone of Sikh military action against foreign rule.  They are characterised by their purple and orange attire and the weapons they carry around with them such as spears, daggers or swords.  Fortunately these are now mostly for ceremonial rather than actual military use.