The idea of building the Golden Temple was conceived by Sikh Guru Arjan Dev. His aim was to provide a central place of worship for the Sikh community.The fourth Guru of Sikhism, Guru Ram Das, excavated a tank in 1577 which subsequently became known as Amritsar meaning Pool of the Nectar of Immortality giving its name to the city that grew around it. In due course, a splendid Sikh edifice, Harmandir Sahib (Temple of God),was constructed in the middle of this tank which became the supreme centre of Sikhism.
Guru Arjan Dev ji got its foundation laid by a muslim saint Hazrat Mian Mir ji of Lahore on 1st of Magh, 1645 Bikrmi Samvat(December,1588). The construction work was directly supervised by Guru Arjan Dev ji himself and he was assisted by the prominent Sikh personalities like Baba Budha ji, Bhai Gurdas ji, Bhai Sahlo ji and many other devoted Sikhs.
Unlike erecting the structure on the higher level(a tradition in Hindu Temple architecture), Guru Arjan Dev ji got it built on the lower level and unlike Hindu Temples having only one gate for the entrance and exit, Guru Sahib got it open from four sides. Thus he created a symbol of new faith, Sikhism. Guru Sahib made it accessible to every person without any distinction of Caste, creed, sex and religion
The building work completed in 1601 A.D. on Bhadoon Sudi 1st, 1661 Bikrmi Samvat (August/September,1604). Guru Arjan Dev ji installed newly created Guru Granth Sahib, in Sri Harmandir Sahib and appointed Baba Budha ji as its first Granthi (the reader of Guru Granth Sahib). After this event it attained the status of ‘Ath Sath Tirath’. Now the Sikh Nation had their own Tirath, a pilgrimage center