The Golden Temple of Amritsar: Reflections of the Past (1808-1959)

The Golden Temple of Amritsar: Reflections of the Past (1808-1959)


Amandeep Singh Madra & Parmjit Singh


A treasure trove of powerful imagery and compelling history



Hardback, 303 pages, 286 x 256 mm
489 colour and b&w illustrations & 3 maps
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Praise for the Book

'This book is a treasure trove of powerful imagery and compelling history. The Golden Temple becomes the focal point not just for Sikh life but also our view of the changing face of India. In turn moving and instructive, this work will never find itself on a shelf gathering dust.'

'A stunning book that will bring a lifetime of illumination and pleasure. Something you will buy for your friends, and then your friends will buy for their friends in turn...It's the perfect gift'

'Unarguably the most comprehensive, the most fascinating and the most lovingly compiled record of the change during some of the most febrile times in Sikh history'

'a game changer... a joy to hold and behold'

'a treasure-chest of a book!'

'a splendid and evocative representation of a hundred and fifty years history of the Golden Temple and its environs… it undoubtedly deserves a place in the homes of all those who are continuously drawn to the centre of the Sikh faith'
PROFESSOR IAN TALBOT, Journal of Punjab Studies

About the Book

From its founding in 1588, the Golden Temple has come to symbolise the epitome of Sikh architecture as well as the undying love of its devotees. The complex that developed around it was the Sikhs' very own 'Vatican City'. In its heyday in the early 1800s it was also highly regarded as a centre of learning and a beacon for those in search of spiritual and educational enlightenment. Around it developed a bustling multicultural town that became a prominent stop on the Silk Route and a major commercial hub of north western India.

This unique volume highlights the temple's unparalleled beauty and changing fortunes during a golden era of peace, prosperity and patronage. Its vast collection of paintings, sketches, lithographs and photographs have been painstakingly sourced from archives around the world. They are complemented by intriguing quotes from 70 eyewitness accounts, ranging from the earliest discovered in 1808 - a report by a one-legged British spy - right up to that of an awestruck Hollywood heartthrob, Lew Ayres, in search of the exotic and esoteric in 1959.

About the Authors

AMANDEEP SINGH MADRA and PARMJIT SINGH are independent historians and curators who co-founded the UK Punjab Heritage Association (, a charity dedicated to promoting Punjab's rich cultural heritage.

They have co-authored several highly acclaimed books on Sikh history and are leading global players in showcasing the culture, history, art and heritage of the Sikhs and Punjab. They have lectured extensively on the subject as well as having contributed to several television documentaries, radio programmes, exhibitions and publications. Most recently they curated two major exhibitions at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, London, covering the Golden Temple of Amritsar and Sikhs in World War One.

They continue to work as special consultants for various organisations including the BBC, The Discovery Channel, Victoria & Albert Museum, British Museum, British Library and Wallace Collection.

For author events, talks and interviews see our What's On page.

Design: Juga Singh
Publication Date: 16 February 2017 (originally released 25 April 2013)
ISBN: 9780956016812