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Takht Sahib - seats of Sikh's authority
At the place where Akal Takht is situated was a mound. The Guru used to play here as a child and it was here again that he was ceremoniously installed as the Guru in 1606.
At Akal Takht, the Guru narrated to the people the heroic deeds of historical personalities and prepared them for taking part in the ensuing struggle.
The Guru "rained instructions like a cloud in Savan, and the Sikhs flourished under it like thristy rice-fields." Minstrel Abdulla sang martial songs and inspired the Sikhs with stories of heroic deeds of great persons and dispelled their fears.
Akal Takht is a massive building on a marble-paved platform. The ground floor was ready in 1774 and four storeys were added later by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The main floor is artistically decorated. Where Guru Hargobind used to sit are now kept some of the weapons of the Gurus. In the shrine is also preserved some old and artistic jewellery donated by the Sikh rulers of the Punjab. Akal Takht was pulled down several times by Muslims raiders.
There is great significance in Akal Takht being constructed a few paces away from Hari Mandir. Akal Takht symbolised Sikh politics while Hari Mandir signifiede religion. Each of the two is visible from the other end so that people sitting in Hari Mandir would remember their involvement in politics and vice versa. Religion and politics were thus blended into one by Guru Hargobind. They were considered limbs of the same body. The Guru said that as long as He was in Hari Mandir he should be treated as a saint and in the Akal Takht he should be looked upon as a temporal king. With this in mind, the Sikhs felt independent of the Mughal rulers at Delhi. They believed that they had establised their own kingdom of which Sacha Padshah or the true king was Guru Hargobind.
In the Akal Takht are preserved some of the weapons of Guru Gobind Singh. Although Guru Gobind Singh never visited Amritsar, the sacred weapons of the Guru are shown daily to the sangat after the evening prayer - Rehras. The relics brought from England in 1966 are also displayed here on a beautifully decorated mount. At the back of the mount is a splendid portrait of Guru Gobind Singh. The weapons procured from Lady Edil Brown Lindsay, a descendent of Lord Dalhousie, are: a spear measuring 9 ft 1 inch in length; a spear measuring 5 ft 4 inches in length; a sord 1 ft 10.5 inches long; a axe measuring 2 ft 7.5 inches in length; ring on which Japji is written on both sides, and a shield 1 ft 4.5 inches in diameter.
The other relics are : a sord, two arrowsw with golden points and two daggers of the two elder sons of the Guru. Guru's arrow never missed their mark. His arrows had golden points to that the wounded could use the sale procedds of the gold for treatment, if injred : or if dead, their relatives could sell it to help them perform the last rites of the deceased. These sacred relics are revered by the Sikhs.
A saropa, robe of honour conferred at Akal Takht, is distinction of a high order. It is given for extraordinary service rendered to the community.
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