There are a few architectural styles in the world, where a detailed study of the attributes of the architecture, helps us understand our existence in a better way. The Sikh architecture forms a critical element of Sikhism, that gave birth to a unique school of thought that needs to be studied through a minute analysis of its various attributes to understand the vastness of its messages. The Harmandir Saheb, is clearly the most prominent representation of the Sikh architecture, that has its own elements in various gurudwaras and other structures spread across the world.
There are many life lessons that Sikh architecture teaches us, as it is considered to be is a mute harbinger of holistic humanism based on pragmatic spirituality. Its ability to personify the ancient India culture and all the other cultures that have influenced the shaping of Asian societies as we see today, is what makes the Sikh architecture unique. Just like Guru Nanak was known to have experienced and studied various aspects of different religions and philosophies, the Sikh architecture is able to show that it has been created out of a combination of thoughts across religions and culture.
Hence, one of the greatest lessons Sikh Architecture teaches us is to be able to bring together all cultures and varying schools of thought, accept and embrace the same, by understanding what they wish to say. It is important that we look at the uniquely Sikh form of expression given by its architecture, through the lens of a student trying to learn the lessons of life from a master, and we will find how the architecture speaks back to us.
The most respected Sikh Shrine, the Golden Temple, is placed lower to other structures in its vicinity, effectively making sure that even the humblest of worshippers have to go down to enter the shrine. This particular aspect of the architecture is again reflective of acceptance for all, irrespective of any societal demographics that define them.
One of the most significant aspects of Sikh architecture is the use of nature in its forms as well as art. An analysis shows the abundance of trees, flowers and fruits reflected through the art, much more than the use of human forms, effectively showing the close relationship between nature and human beings, and subliminally taking us closer to the significance of nature in our existence. Such appreciation of nature is one of the reasons that has made people in the agrarian region of Punjab truly appreciate and love their contribution to the society as farmers.
Mural paintings, inlay work, and gold work are seen in abundance at the Harmandar Sahib. And, an analysis of the same in individual forms as well as collective manner show us a lot about the Sikh Architecture is able to teach us humility, love for nature, and acceptance and care for all, just by being in close proximity to these structures that need to preserved for eternity and made accessible to every person in the world.
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