The Golden Journey

Capturing the timeless spirituality and beauty of the Golden Temple through the centuries is The Golden Temple of Amrits...

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Mon Nov 19 2012: A shrine, monument and a space of faith, the Golden Temple in Amritsar is one of the world’s most popular heritage sites, with over five million pilgrims and tourists visiting it every year. Capturing the timeless spirituality and beauty of the Golden Temple through the centuries is The Golden Temple of Amritsar, Reflections of the Past (1808-1959), which was released at the Capitol Book Depot on Friday evening. The 303-page coffee table book has been put together by Amandeep Singh Madra and his co-author Parmjit Singh. Published by Kashi House, the publishing wing of the UK Punjab Heritage Association, it explores the temple’s golden era of peace, prosperity and patronage and captures the richness and unique nature of the Sikh cultural inheritance.

For this book, designed in the colours white and gold, the authors have unearthed hundreds of the rarest, earliest and stunning images of the shrine, city and inhabitants of Amritsar and combined them with two centuries of eyewitness accounts and travellers’ tales from the past.

The book, which was ten years in the making, focuses on the rich cultural heritage of the Sikhs and Punjab and includes nearly 500 artists’ and photographers’ impressions, including the earliest known painting — an Indian miniature dated 1825 — and photograph (dated 1856) of the shrine. The vast collection of paintings, sketches, lithographs and photographs have been painstakingly unearthed by the authors from archives around the world. The book gives readers a rare chance to look at one of the most recognised buildings in the world, from its origins in the 16th century until now. There are revealing insights into the iconic building and its tumultuous history, as well as the majestic palaces and gardens of Amritsar.

The images are complemented by intriguing excerpts from 70 written accounts, ranging from the earliest discovered, from 1808 by a one-legged British spy, right up to the Hollywood heartthrob Lew Ayres, in search of the exotic and esoteric in 1959. Starting with a detailed introduction that records pre-Sikh mythology, including tracing the temple’s history, there are stories of the Pandavas and the visit of Buddha. The past acts of destruction, re-building of the temple, quotes from the Gurus and observations of visitors makes it a visual and wordy treat. The temple’s story is also inextricably linked to the rise of Sikh power and turning of the tide on successive Mughal and Afghan incursions on the holy shrine, which the authors brilliantly chronicle.

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The Golden Temple of Amritsar:
Reflections of the Past (1808 - 1959)

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The Golden Temple of Amritsar:
Reflections of the Past (1808 - 1959)
{Special Edition}

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Amongst many remarkable stories from its history, the book highlights the shocking story of an aborted attempt by the British to auction the temple in 1877. The unique volume highlights the temple’s beauty, architecture and changing fortunes and according to Madra, the temple encapsulates every aspect of Sikh heritage including art, architecture, history, literature, music, spiritual philosophy and the warrior tradition, all of which are represented in the book.

Prints (309K) Golden Temple Prints 1 to 5 -
Size A3 (297mm x 420mm)

A set of 5 prints, all based on the Golden Temple theme. Although available individually, this set offers excellent value for money.

Golden Temple Print No 3: Serenity
Looking across the Pool of Immortality towards the Golden Temple, c. 1868-70.
Albumen print by James Craddock. Toor Collection.

Golden Temple Print No 2: Architectural Visionary
Guru Arjan oversees the construction of the original Harimandir Sahib, c. 1890-95.
Gouache, Sikh School. Toor Collection.

Golden Temple Print No 4: The Gorgeous East
Pilgrims at the Golden Temple, January 1906.
Photograph by Herbert G. Ponting. Toor Collection.

Golden Temple Print No 1: Best of British Poster Art
'Visit India' poster, c. 1935-40
Colour lithograph by Fred Taylor. Toor Collection.

Golden Temple Print No 5: 'Mool Mantar'
A fresh look at Guru Nanak's fundamental creed that opens with 'Ik Oankar' in Guru Gobind Singh's own handwriting, as preserved in an Adi Granth manuscript (late 17th to early 18th century) located in Patna, his place of birth.
Designed by Juga Singh.


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Available online from or from all good bookshops in major cities including:

Amritsar: Singh Brothers (exclusive distributor)
Chandigarh: Capital Book Depot (Sector 17)
Delhi: Timeless Books

For UK, America, Canada and the rest of the world, order securely with international shipping via

- Amandeep Madra ~

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