The Takht Sri Darbar Sahib Akal Takht literally means The Seat (Throne) of the Timeless One or Seat (Throne) of God is one of the five seats of temporal physical religious authority of the Sikhs. The Akal Takht was initially built by the sixth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Har Gobind as a symbol for political sovereignty of Sikhs.All commandments affecting the community as a whole were and are issued from here. The Akal Takht was used for holding court and Sikh congregations in the days of its builder.
The Akal Takhat was pulled down several times by the Muslim raiders. The ground floor of the present building was constructed in 1874. Three storeys were subsequently added by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. A number of weapons used by Guru Hargobind, Guru Gobind Singh and other Sikh heroes are preserved at Akal Takht. In 1984 during Operation Blue Star Akal Takht was badly damaged by the Indian Army.
Gurdwara Baba Atal Sahib built in memory of Atal Rai (D. 1628), a son of Hargobind, is situated to the south of the Golden Temple, about 185 metres from Sarai Guru Ram Das. The nine-storey octagonal tower, standing 40 metres high, is the tallest building in Amritsar.The tower was built between 1778 and 1784.
The Niwas is a free hostel for the pilgrims maintained by the Temple authorities. It has been built by the Gurdwara Committee. It has 228 rooms and 18 big halls. Unlike the ordinary 'Daramsalas' the Niwas supplies the facilities of free beddings, cots, lights and fans etc. to the lodgers. A lodger is not generally allowed to stay here for more than three days at a time. The doors of the hostels are open to all. The lodgers however must not do anything repugnant to the teachings of Sikhism.
A Sikh temple without a Community Kitchen is inconceivable. Cooked food is serviced in the kitchen of the Golden Temple 24 hours to all visitors irrespective of religion, caste, creed and nationality. The expenses are met out of the Temple funds. Approximately 40,000 visitors share the meals everyday presently.The Langar or free kitchen was started by the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. It is designed to uphold the principle of equality between all people of the world regardless of religion, caste, colour, creed, age, gender or social status.
There are 66 Rooms in Guru Nanak Niwas-22 with attached baths and 4-4 without baths, but on each floor there are 10 bath rooms and ten flush latrines so as to make stay comfortable.
The headquarters of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee are located in the Teja Singh Samundri Hall near the Harmandir Sahib. The Gurdwara Act 1925, transferred the control of the historical Sikh Shrines in the Punjab to the SGPC. It is a representative body of the Sikhs elected by adult franchise.
Among the other objects of interest around the Harmandir Sahib worth mentioning are :
(a) Dukh Bhanjni Ber (Jujube Tree)
(b) Thara Sahib
(c) Ber Baba Budha Ji
(d) Gurdwara llachi Ber
(e) Ath Sath Tirath (Sixty eight holy places condensed into one)
(f) Gurdwara Shaheed Bunga Baba Deep Singh.
The Harmandir Sahib possesses a fine collection of jewellery and valuable articles of considerable artistic and historical importance. The following deserve a special mention :
(a) GOLDEN DOOR PANELS - There are four pairs of them.
(b) GOLDEN CANOPY - The canopy studded with precious jewels, is an object of exquisite workmanship and great artisitic value.
(c) JEWELLED HEAD-BAND- It is a gift from Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It was prepared for the marriage of the son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, at the time of marriage. The Maharaja presented it to the Harmandir Sahib.
Central Sikh Museum has paintings of Sikh Gurus, Saints, Sikh warriors and other prominent Sikh leaders who have in their own way contributed a lot to the enhancement of Sikh Religion.