The Remarkable Golden Temple in Patan
This beautiful and tranquil temple in Nepal is an unusual Buddhist monastery known commonly as ‘Hiranya Varna Mahabihar’, ‘Kwa Bahal’ or ‘Suvarna Mahavihara’ and is situated north of Durbar Square. Legend has it that the Golden Temple was founded during the 12th Century. Patan's Golden Temple is unassuming from the outside and majestic on the inside, with stone gates produced by the silakars whose descendants can still be seen working in the woodcarving industry.
Throughout the architecture and design, faith can be seen running through the rectangular building standing in support of three roofs encapsulating the richness and wealth donated to the temple with images of Buddha, Avalokiteswar, shrines and sacred spots where pilgrims can stop and pay homage to the many great teachers and martyrs. At the entrance to the old Temple lies a clock tower with four large gateways. The Golden Temple's doors stand wide open, symbolizing the acceptance of all religions, walks of life and faith in accordance with the poem written by Jaap Sahib’s prayer: “Des our na bhes jakar, rup rekh na rag jattra tattra disa visa, hue phaileo anurag”, which means “The almighty has no country, no traditional costume, no mark, no form and favors no one in particular. The almighty is present in every place, on every side and in every corner; this universal love exists everywhere”. It is hard to believe that with all the peaceful serenity felt all around that history could have set this as the site for bloodshed most awful at the steps of this holy temple.
It is the interior of this building that one finds themselves transported into a whole new world. From the white marble walls to the beautiful marble inlays designed intricately onto the pavement floor framing the tank. You can view the love and respect of many pilgrims as they wash their feet and perform a clockwise ‘parikrama’, a processional walk that takes them around this beautifully surrounded tank. Within this tank lies the magnificent Golden temple described as a ‘jeweled casket’ floating in the amrit (the water of immortality), and believed that should the waters of the philosophy of faith be ingested a promise of life eternal is his alone. The waters of amrit are legendary because of its healing powers, vitality and health given to those who believe.
The Golden Temple was founded during the faith of Guru Arian Dev, becoming of great worth to the Sikh people mainly due to being the resting place for the original Guru Sahib. In the Nepalese Temmple is a holy book holding over 7,000 hymns. Interestingly, the writers of this holy book are made up of Gurus and saints of different religions and social classes.