2:48 AM savcenko
by: Johnny Mangiante
The uniqueness of Canada's provinces makes each one worth visiting. Whether you like to ski or swim, fish or golf, visit national monuments or museums, Canada has it all in one beautiful, thirteen-province country.
One of the most popular travel destinations in Canada is Ontario, a metropolitan centre of industry and culture. With a population of more than 12 million, Ontario is home to about one in three Canadians, eighty per cent of which live in urban centres, largely in cities on the shores of the Great Lakes.
What is Ontario weather like? Ontario weather varies greatly. In the summer, temperatures can soar above 30°C (86°F), while in the winter temperatures vary greatly depending on what part of the province you are in. For example, in the south of Ontario like in Toronto, temperatures often go down to -12°C (10°F) in the winter months (December, January, February) whereas the winters are colder still in a northern city like Timmins, Ontario. All areas of Ontario receive snow in winter yet have warm comfortable summers.
What can we do in Ontario? Every year, Ontario tourism revolves around three major places, Toronto, Ottawa, and Niagara Falls.
Toronto is the largest city in Canada and the fourth largest in North America. Some of the key attractions of the city are the CN Tower, the Harbour Front, the Skydome, the Hockey Hall of Fame, and the Toronto Zoo.
Ottawa, the capital city of Canada, offers a variety of fun activities and museums to fill your day. The Ontario tourist cannot leave Ottawa without visiting Parliament Hill, the Rideau Canal, and the National Gallery.
Known as the honeymoon capital, Niagara Falls is one of Ontario's main tourist attractions. Twelve million tourists flock here every year to witness the wonder of the three major falls--American Falls (1060 feet wide, 176 feet high), Bridal Veil Falls (1060 feet wide, 176 feet high), and Canadian Horseshoe Falls (2600 feet wide, 160 feet high). Niagara Falls is open and active 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Other places of interest for tourists in Ontario are St. Lawrence Market, Ontario Science Centre, Paramount Canada's Wonderland, the Toronto Islands, and the Stratford Festival.
Can we go fishing in Ontario? Of course! Ontario has the largest fresh water lakes in the world and a huge diversity of fish, making it the best place in the country for a fishing trip. However, make sure to familiarize yourself with all the regulations regarding Ontario fishing before planning your trip. Contact the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources for full licensing details.
Are there any Ontario resorts? Ontario resorts are in abundance. Many are beautiful waterfront properties nestled in forests, providing the perfect setting for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a fishing trip.
About the Author
Johnny Mangiante is an online journalist. He is also the editor and webmaster for many websites. For more information see Travel Medical Insurance for Visitors to Canada.
2:44 AM savcenko
Hawaii: beautiful beaches, perfect weather, amazing surf, exquisite cuisine, and one of the world's favorite places to visit on a much-needed vacation. Here's a quick tour of Hawaii with some highlights, hotel information and the key to an amazing Hawaii vacation. Here's the secret: find an inexpensive package that will get you a ticket to the island, a hotel, and a beach tour or restaurant all in one. Tons of places in Hawaii advertise their business by packaging with a hotel or airline. Below you'll find some good picks.
First of all, for the golfing enthusiast, you can find the Unlimited Golfing Package from Prince Resorts Hawaii. On three Hawaiian islands, you can visit any one of 5 breathtakingly beautiful golf courses with a total of 99 holes and golf the day away. With a breakfast buffet included, you can't go wrong with the Prince Resorts Hawaii. Next, you don't want to leave Hawaii without catching one of those famous waves. Pick Ohana Hotels, and you can “Catch a wave in Hawaii” over a five night luxurious stay.
One of the most famous things about a vacation in Hawaii is the delicious Hawaiian cuisine. For example, Tiki's Grill and Bar is one of those restaurants. With the look and feel of a '50s or '60s Hawaiian tiki bar, this restaurant is a great place to go for delicious food and a breathtaking view of the beach. For more information on Hawaii's delicious restaurants and restaurant reviews where visitors talk about their favorite Hawaiian cuisine, visit www.myhonoluluhi.us.
For those more interested in Hawaii's history and archaeology, visit Bishop Museum, home to more that two million Hawaiian artifacts. The museum now has a location at Hilton Hawaii Village Beach Resort, so it is easy to visit and view the amazing history of the beautiful state of Hawaii. With exhibits dating back to 400 AD and leading up to Hawaii's modern history, the museum includes weapons, shark teeth, historic sufboards, and feather lei capes worn by Hawaiian nobility. This is truly a great tourist site for some unique Hawaiian history.
For more information on Hawaii, including restaurants, movie times, camping, shopping, and hotels, visit My Hawaii.
About The Author
Jeff OReilly is an author of several books on many topics and a leader in seo and website production.
2:40 AM savcenko
by: Gary Hill
Live your golfing dreams on an Ireland golf vacation.
The K Club, Ballybunion, Lahinch, Doonbeg, Druids Glen… the names of the courses may not trip off the tongue quite as easily as those of their Scottish cousins but the quality is just as high. An Ireland golf vacation will introduce you to some of the grandest, most charming, most testing and most mystical golf courses in the world. You’ll return home with your putter coated in magic and with memories to fill after dinner tales for decades to come.
An Ireland golf vacation is special – unique even – don’t miss the chance to come.
There is no finer place to play golf in the whole world than in Ireland. You might yearn to feel the Atlantic breeze tugging at your sweater as you wend your way between the high sand dunes on a coastal links. Or you may prefer the lush and rich emerald green of an inland pasture studded with silver bunkers and flower banks. All of this and more is here for you if you care to venture on an Ireland golf vacation.
Ireland has always created great golfers and recent Ryder Cup matches have turned on the skills (and, perhaps, the legendary luck) of the Irish. The next Ryder Cup will be played in Ireland and worldwide interest in visiting this most welcoming of islands has never been greater. The Ryder cup at the K club near Dublin promises to be the best organised and most thrilling event on the golfing calendar.
For many visitors to Ireland or Scotland the chance to play on an ancient seaside links course is a large part of the attraction. But links golf does provide a unique experience and will test both your stamina and your golf game in a way entirely unlike anything you might have previously experienced. The wind has the remarkable knack of always blowing in your face – no matter what direction you’re facing.
Links courses rarely allow electronic golf buggies or golf carts. Walking is the rule. This is partly to protect the courses and partly because the terrain would make it impossible to drive a buggy safely. Some of the larger more prestigious courses may have caddies available and most will allow you to pull a simple club carrying golf cart or trolley.
One of the joys of an Ireland golf vacation is that even the grandest of the courses and clubs will welcome visitors. Book ahead to ensure a tee time and visit the website of the club ahead of your visit. Get a feel for local rules about dress and etiquette. Pick a lucky shamrock, warm yourself with a drop of local whiskey and swing away for the game of your life.
The world is full of golf courses but there is no country can boast as many shining jewels as Ireland. An Ireland golf vacation can make your golfing dream a reality. Grab you clubs and bag – lets go today.
You can discover the possibilities of an Ireland golf vacation in more detail on writer Gary Hill’s website. Read about the skills needed for successful golf on a seaside links course. Use the list of courses and website information to plan your trip. Book an all in one Ireland golf vacation package or take the plunge and do it all yourself.
All the information you need for a successful Ireland Golf Vacation trip is available if you click on the above link.
About The Author
Gary Hill is a travel writer based in Scotland.
Check out http://www.vacation2europe.com for more information
2:36 AM savcenko
by: David Lazzarino
Rail Europe As a Student Passenger
Read Jetsetters Magazine at www.jetsettersmagazine.com
Read this entire feature FREE with photos at
Hitting the Rails —
It has been a time-honoured tradition for the North American university grad to leave his sheltered nest and seek the unknown in a distant land.
Unfortunately, tradition also lends way to cliché.
The early twenties, book smart grad is filled with an ambition to add some life experience to his new set of professional letters. He sits in a dockside café eating hometown food with French provincial names as he writes into a leather-bound booklet some deep insights that he assumes are original. He dreams of having a torrid love affair with some local peasant girl but settles instead for swapping email addresses with some Canadians doing the exact same thing. As entertaining as this prospect seems, it was not my wish. I wanted to carve out my own adventure, and in Europe there is no better way than by train.
The European rail system has been for years second-to-none for accessibility, comfort, and, with Rail Europe, affordability. There are a variety of Rail Europe passes for different prices that can get you anywhere you wish in little time and from city center to city center. North Americans must purchase the Rail Europe tickets before departing Europe (you can't get them in Europe) and well in advance of their trip, and in certain countries the passes are valid on ferries and riverboats. The passes are easy to use and, if taken advantage of fully, are cheaper than most other forms of transportation. Best of all is that trains can get you to remote areas that you would otherwise miss. For the budget-minded the night excursions or hotel trains save you hotel rooms so that you awake the next day in a new country!
I landed in Copenhagen and got immediately roped into the standard tourist sites — Tivoli Gardens , the Royal Palace, etc.
I saw an incredible exhibit of Danish design at the National Art (Kunst) Gallery, and I took a bike ride through an area called Christiania, an area started by a group of Danes in the 1960s looking for free love, free drugs, and free rent, and it hasn’t changed much since. I was here when I was thirteen years old, staying with a cousin. Since, the government has made an attempt to clean up Christiania by taking out most of the drugs but the general atmosphere remains. Old military buildings painted in bright colours are home to all sorts of the local free thinkers from vagrants to artists to very accomplished architects. The tour ended at the National Library, also called the “Diamond” because of it’s seemingly transparently beautiful aesthetics. It is a remarkable example of the old world class of an European city (half of the building is the original building of the National Library) and the clean lines and simple concepts of modern Danish design that act to seemingly tell a story with nothing but light.
As wonderful of a city as Copenhagen is, the tourist route begins to lose its luster and the rails are calling me East. I've been to Germany before so I wasn’t interested in staying for too long, but the food and beer would be a shame to miss — yet another perk of train travel. Local trains can always be caught if you simply feel like ending up in a small town outside Munich, ordering a heaping lunch and a few giant steins of local brew and making your way out the same day. Needless to say, between Frankfurt and the Hungarian border I was full, comfortably brewed-up, and happy as the beautiful sites of central Europe flew by.
As can be expected, this type of life can take it’s toll on a person’s ability to remain conscious. By chance, when my body and mind were screaming for sleep, I happened upon a rather quiet train car. In fact, at one point a person was asked to keep the noise down behind me. I thought there was going to be some sort of movie starting that necessitated such silent attention until I realized that some of the train cars are specifically designated for the lazy kind of traveler that I felt like being. They are quiet cars and I will snore my praises of them for years to come.
A city full of history, incredible architecture, and beautiful women. As you walk around the city you get a definite stench of the former socialist society coupled with an obvious existence of capitalist growth. The city sits on the banks of the Danube. The Pest side is where you would find a much more built-up city center with malls and shopping areas, not to mention the late night venues. You can imagine my desire to visit the other side of the river.
The other side of the river is the Buda part of the city (are you picking up on the basis of the name yet?). A little quieter and lush, Buda contains some beautiful homes and sites. The Gelhert Hill, marked by a statue that can be reached by hiking paths, offers an incredible view of the city. I was lucky enough to meet a lovely local named Janka and I was invited to a dinner party. Hungarians are often seen as slightly less personable than some western European counterparts. This can be chalked up to a very dry sense of humour. I can attest, however, that this is not the case at all. After a great, home-cooked meal and a few cocktails in a quaint apartment in the hills filled with great people, including Zigga (who I knew for a few days and offered me a lift to the train station), and of course the beautiful Janka; I would say that kindness and generosity are staples in the social diet of Hungarians. They also have an uncanny ability to have a good time.
Again, some relaxation is in order after seeing so many sites.
Read this entire feature FREE with photos at:
By David Lazzarion, Canada, Correspondent, Jetsetters Magazine at www.jetsettersmagazine.com
About the Author
David Lazzarino, Canada Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent. Join the Travel Writers Network in the logo at www.jetsettersmagazine.com
2:34 AM savcenko
by: Eric Morris
The usual summertime activities can be enjoyed at many Colorado dude ranches, including swimming, hiking, and fishing. During the winter months, guests may find that sledding, sleigh rides, ice-skating, snowmobiling and cross-county skiing are available. The season shouldn’t be a deterrent in choosing to vacation at a Colorado dude ranch, because there’s always something to do.
Dude ranches in Colorado offer numerous trails for riding or hiking. You can ride your horse over mountain trails, alongside rivers, or through open meadows. Your level of experience and comfort will determine your rides, and friendly staff are there to assist you at every turn.
There are also a number of adventures to be found off of the horse. River-rafting, mountain biking, and hunting trips are available at many ranches. On working ranches in Colorado, guests can help with the cattle alongside the cowboys and cowgirls at work.
Lodging can range from log cabins, to simple rooms, to full suites. Fireplaces are provided in many rooms and cabins, perfect for cold winter nights. Log furniture is commonly found, and the rustic charm is often paired with modern day luxuries.
Whether looking for a romantic retreat, bringing the family on vacation, or traveling as a solo cowboy, a Rocky Mountain adventure awaits you at any one of Colorado’s many dude ranches. Dude Ranch Info provides informatino on dude ranches in Colorado, Texas, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, and California, and information on dude ranch jobs. Dude Ranch Info is the sister site of Mountain Vacations Web.
2:27 AM savcenko
by: Rishi Chandra
London is a very visitor friendly place and traveling around in London is very suitably provided by various forms of transportation. The most common mode of transport is the London Underground http://tube.tfl.gov.uk and it operates through out the day [from early morning to late night]. Other forms include buses, taxis etc. The whole city is divided into 6 zones with zone 1 and 2 referred as 'Central London'.
With London's endless choice of theatres, sports and music venues, you won’t be short of entertainment. This is the place to be if you're looking for world-class art, exhibitions, music and more. More unbiased information can be found at Visit London http://www.visitlondon.com/.
Accommodation in London offers a variety of choices from budget low room rate [starting from £30] and to high-class luxury rooms [greater than £1000]. The best hotel which I have stayed in is The Ritz http://www.theritzlondon.com and the best priced [in terms of location, service and price] is Regent Palace http://www.regentpalacehotel.co.uk/. More information on the choice of the hotels, price comparison, amenities information, photographs of rooms, online booking can be done at London Hotels http://www.2pl.com/London/bs-1250300001.htm.
Finding a place to eat in London is a difficult task not because of scarcity of restaurants but because of such a wide variety and number of places. Chinese, Indian and Italian are the most popular cuisines in London. London Eating http://www.london-eating.co.uk/ provides the easiest way to identify the closest restaurants of the choice of your cuisine. But London is an expensive place in an expensive country. So mind your wallet when going out for dinner. A rough guideline: £5 per person: Sandwich Shop, £10-20 per person: Pub, £15-30 per person: cheap to medium class restaurant, £50-100 per person: very nice restaurant, £100 and above: Savoy or Ritz.
For theatre loving people London offers unmatched opportunities of musicals, plays, comedies. The main theatres are located in Central London and all the information/bookings can be done in Leicester Square area. Online information and booking of theatre tickets can be done here http://www.londontheatredirect.com/.
About the Author
Rishi Chandra is a noted online reviewer of London Hotels and Restaurants. He can be contact on email@example.com
2:22 AM savcenko
by: Rick Chapo
Holland certainly has a reputation with travelers. Known for having a very liberal attitude on social issues such as prostitution and drugs, the reputation is not always deserved. Yes, marijuana and prostitution is legal, but there is so much more to the country. Many look at Amsterdam as Holland, but visitors know there is much more. If you desire to travel to Holland, also known as the Netherlands, don't miss these attractions.
Simply put, Amsterdam has something for everyone. The city is an incredibly beautiful collection of old world European architecture elegantly partitioned by canals. In truth, the city is built on roughly 90 small islands, although you can hardly tell. Transportation is best undertaken on foot or by bicycle. With a cool climate, you'll barely break a sweat.
Contrary to popular opinion, Amsterdam is not just a city of liberal policies. Yes, coffee bars sell things other then just coffee. Yes, there are women in windows that are awfully friendly. Still, there is so much more to experience in the city.
Van Gogh Museum
The Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh houses the world's largest collection of the work of Vincent van Gogh. From his early work, the museum contains 700 artistic works and 850 letters. After moving to Paris in 1886, van Gogh entered an impressionist period, of which the museum contains a large collection. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the collection is the organization. The entire collection is arranged chronologically from the first to last work. As you walk, you can clearly see the evolution of this master's skill.
Anne Frank House
Who hasn't read the intense diary of Anne Frank? Hiding from the Nazis, she and her family lived in an annexed section of an apartment in Amsterdam for two years. In 1957, the house was donated to the Anne Frank Foundation and turned into a museum. A visit will send chills through your spine. The museum contains films, the annexed area and the original notes of Anne Frank. A must see for anyone traveling to Amsterdam.
For those needing a break from Amsterdam, there is much to be seen in Holland. If you are looking for a color explosion, consider taking the bulb cycling tour out of Noordwijk. Windmills your thing? Head to the De Zaan district to see them in action. Prefer to spend a night in a castle? Try the Castle Hotel Engelenburg, which even lets you ruin a good walk by playing golf.
Travel to Holland and you won't regret it. Whether you want to "investigate" the countries liberal policies or simply bike through fields of tulips, Holland will satisfy.
About the Author
Rick Chapo is with Nomad Journals - Preserve the experience with writing journals for your travels. Read more articles and travelogues on NomadJournalTrips.com.
7:27 AM savcenko
It was summer and time for a holiday. What I wanted was to go on one of the many South African safaris available, I wanted to see elephants and I did not want to worry about malaria. This all added up to one place: Addo Elephant
Why so worried about malaria?
Although I have nothing against travelling to areas where tourists are warned against malaria, you usually have to start with medication before hand. There was not enough time for me to start the procedure, so the only option for a safari was to go on a malaria free safari, which happened to be in the Eastern Cape Province where the Addo Elephant National Park is located.
Originally created as a sanctuary for the eleven remaining elephants of this area, the success of Addo Elephant Park became home to more than 450 elephants today. Subsequently the park had to be expanded and now also houses Cape buffalos, the endangered black rhino, lions, spotted hyenas and a number of antelope species. The park lies deep within the dense bushveld of Sundays River region and what is really is striking about this National Park is its unrivalled natural diversity. Of South Africa's seven major vegetation zones, five features in the Addo Elephant Park and to top it all off, instead of the Big 5, they have the Big 7 which includes: elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard, rhino with the two extra being whales and the great white shark!
Amakhala Safari Lodge
All arrangements seemed perfect, except for one small detail, accommodation. I must admit I was little disappointed that I couldn't find accommodation within the park, but booking at such late notice, I had nobody but myself to blame. I was very relieved though when I found accommodation at the Amakhala Safari Lodge, which was located very near to both the Shamwari and Addo Elephant Park.
It never ceases to amaze me just how beautiful South African nature is! I'm sitting on the veranda overlooking a valley that is, as far as the eye can see, covered with lush green bushveld, a clear sunny sky, the weather not too hot and wild birds' creating the ambience for the perfect day. In moments like this you appreciate the finer things in life, a good glass of wine, paired with a platter of cheeses and a good book.
Addo Elephant Park
My first safari trip to the Addo Elephant Park was brilliant! I've never seen a black rhino before so when I had my first encounter, I couldn't believe just how big this animal really is. The tour guide informed us that this was the largest male in the park and that he has quite the reputation as the local Romeo, since he has fathered most of the calves that were born in the park. We saw gemsbok, black wildebeest, buffalos, springboks and of course, my favourite amongst the animal kingdom, elephants. With their majestic strides their troop was slowly moving towards the river banks. I've never seen so many cameras being pulled out of their covers all at once. While the elephants were playing in the water, the tourists and I got trigger happy with our cameras.
I was sure that I got a few keepsakes and I was content to continue on our safari towards the ocean shore. This is the one big thing that sets Addo Elephant Park aside from any other South African park, the fact that they have both marine and land wildlife. Although we did not see a white shark, we were fortunate enough to see whales. During their breeding season the Southern Right Whales swim down to the Cape Town area where they stay for a few weeks before moving on again. In one day I got the chance to see both the biggest land and sea mammals! What more could you ask for on a holiday?
I think that even though this was a holiday that really needed better preparation, everything, from accommodation to the safari trip was well above anything I expected. By the time I was on my way back home I felt well rested and really pleased with the fact that I got to see both elephant and whale in one day. Not many have had the pleasure of such an experience
6:20 AM savcenko
Machu Picchu, whose name means "Old Peak" in the native Quechua language, is regarded as the fabled "Lost City of the Incas". It is the most famous pre-Columbian city of the Inca Empire, and is inscribed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco, which described it as "an absolute masterpiece of architecture and a unique testimony to the Inca civilization".
Machu Picchu is located 2430 m (7,970ft) above sea level, over the Urubamba Valley, in Peru, about 70 km (44 miles) northwest of Cusco. The first Westerner to confirm the existence of Machu Picchu was the archaeologist Hiram Bingham, in 1911. The site of Machu Picchu is certainly unique and breathtaking. The silhouette of the mountain range behind Machu Picchu is said to symbolise the face of the Inca (that is to say, the ruler of the Inca people) looking upwards to the sky, while the largest peak, Huayna Picchu (Young Peak), symbolises his pierced nose. The cliff where Machu Picchu is located makes a 600m vertical drop to the Urubamba River below. Surrounding it are jagged cloud-covered peaks that create a kaleidoscope of light and shadow over the cliffs.
What is visible today at Machu Picchu, apart from the panoramic scenery, are the ruins themselves which can be divided into three precincts, the Sacred District, the Elite District and the Residential District. Within the Sacred District are the important religious structures, such as the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun and the Room of the Three Windows, all dedicated to the sun god, Inti. The Elite District has homes for the priests and nobility, including the residence of wise persons and a zone for princesses. The Residential District has warehouses and homes for the common people.
The Inca perfected their wall-building technique, called ashlar, to such a high degree that their walls are made of blocks of stones that are fit together without the use of mortar. All counted, there are 140 constructions at Machu Picchu, including the houses, parks, and so on. As the site is in the mountains, steps are necessary. A complex irrigation system ensures that the houses receive a continuous supply of running water channeled from a holy spring - the order of flow is dictated by the significance - or holiness - of the recipient.
5:58 AM savcenko
Sydney Opera House must be one of the most recognisable images of the modern world - up there with the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building - and one of the most photographed.
Not only is it recognisable, it has come to represent 'Australia'.
Although only having been open since 1973, it is as representative of Australia as the pyramids are of Egypt and the Colosseum of Rome.
The Opera House is situated on Bennelong Point, which reaches out into the harbour. The skyline of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the blue water of the harbour and the Sydney Opera House, viewed from a ferry or from the air, is dramatic and unforgettable.
Ironic, perhaps, that this Australian icon - the Opera House with a roof evocative of a ship at full sail - was designed by renowned Danish architect - Jorn Utzon.
In the late 1950s the New South Wales (NSW) Government established an appeal fund to finance the construction of the Sydney Opera House, and conducted a competition for its design.
Utzon's design was chosen. The irony was that his design was, arguably, beyond the capabilities of engineering of the time. Utzon spent a couple of years reworking the design and it was 1961 before he had solved the problem of how to build the distinguishing feature - the 'sails' of the roof.
The venture experienced cost blow-outs and there were occasions when the NSW Government was tempted to call a halt. In 1966 the situation - with arguments about cost and the interior design, and the Government withholding progress payments - reached crisis point and Jorn Utzon resigned from the project. The building was eventually completed by others in 1973. After more than 30 years, the Sydney Opera House has its first interior designed by Utzon. The Utzon Room, a transformed reception hall that brings to life Jorn Utzon's original vision for his masterpiece, was officially opened on September 16 2004.
Sydney Opera House facts and figures
The Sydney Opera house:
• Was designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon
• Was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 20 October 1973
• Presented, as its first performance, The Australian Opera's production of War
and Peace by Prokofiev
• Cost $AU 102,000,000 to build
• Conducts 3000 events each year
• Provides guided tours to 200,000 people each year
• Has an annual audience of 2 million for its performances
• Includes 1000 rooms
• Is 185 metres long and 120 metres wide
• Has 2194 pre-cast concrete sections as its roof
• Has roof sections weighing up to 15 tons
• Has roof sections held together by 350 km of tensioned steel cable
• Has over 1 million tiles on the roof
• Uses 6225 square metres of glass and 645 kilometres of electric cable
5:43 AM savcenko
The Golden Temple of Amritsar is the most sacred shrine of Sikhism. It is also called the Sri Harmandir Sahib (meaning Divine Temple) as well as Shri Darbar Shaib (Court of the Lord). It is located in the city of the same name, Amritsar, whose name means "pool of the nectar of immortality". This refers to the pool that surrounds the Golden Temple. The city of Amritsar is the administrative capital of the Amritsar district of Punjab, India. In the middle of the city is the Golden Temple, whose official name is Harimandir Sahib, or "temple of god". The Golden Temple of Amritsar houses the Adi Sranth, the sacred scriptures of the Sikh religion.
The Golden Temple is a two-storey building. The lower building is marble clad, and decorated with flower and animal motifs. The upper storey is gold plated. At the top is the golden dome. It is shaped like an inverted lotus. It is said to be gilded with 100 kg of pure gold. The Golden Temple was built during the term of the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev (1581-1606). It stands in the midst of a water tank that had earlier been escavated by the fourth guru, Guru Ram Das (1574-1581). The site was once a forest. It is believed that the great Indian poet Valmiki wrote the Ramayana here. It was here that Sita was banished, and it was also here that her sons Luv and Kush heard these legends of their forefathers. Gautama Buddha is also believed to have visited this site. Today, however, it is the holiest site for the Sikhs.
The great Sufi of Lahore, Hazrat Mian Mir, officiated in the laying of the foundation stone with his friend, the Guru Arjan Dev Ji. It was completed in 1601. It underwent a reconstruction in 1760 after the attack by Afghans under Ahmad Shah Abdali.
A more recent wave of violence at the Golden Temple took place in 1984, when Government troops under Operation Blue Star under General Kesar Singh Brar stormed the temple to eject the separatist militant leader, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale who was seeking to establish an independent Sikh state through violent means. Bhindranwale had sought refuge in the Golden Temple and had refused to surrender despite police warnings. In the ensuing battle, Bhindranwale was killed, along with casualties on both sides. The Golden Temple also suffered much damage from the fighting. The violence subsequently claimed the life of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, in the hands of her own Sikh bodyguards, Beant Singh and Satwant Singh, directly related to the outrage among the Sikhs over the desecration of their holiest shrine.