Akal Takht

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Akal Takht
Nishan Sahib.svg
Akal takhat amritsar.jpg
Photograph of Akal Takht
Alternative namesAkal Bunga
General information
StatusFirst Takht of the Sikhs [1]
Architectural styleSikh architecture
AddressSri Akal Takht Sahib, Golden Temple Rd, Amritsar, Punjab, India
Town or cityAmritsar
Coordinates31°37′14″N 74°52′31″E / 31.6206°N 74.8753°E / 31.6206; 74.8753

The Akal Takht ("Throne of the Timeless One")[2] is one of five takhts (seats of power) of the Sikhs. It is located in the Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) complex in Amritsar, Punjab, India. The Akal Takht (originally called Akal Bunga) was built by Shri Guru Hargobind Ji as a place of justice and consideration of temporal issues; the highest seat of earthly authority of the Khalsa (the collective body of the Sikhs) and the place of the Jathedar, the highest spokesman of the Sikhs. The current Jathedar of Akal Takht appointed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee is Singh Sahib Giani Harpreet Singh Ji, while the Sarbat Khalsa calls for the reinstitution of Giani Jagtar Singh Hawara.[3]


Akal Takht illuminated on Guru Nanak Gurpurab, Harmandir Sahib complex, Amritsar.
Akal Takht and Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar, Punjab, India.

Originally known as Akal Bunga,[4] the building directly opposite the Harmandir Sahib was founded by sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind, as a symbol of political sovereignty and where spiritual and temporal concerns of the Sikh people could be addressed.[2] Along with Baba Buddha and Bhai Gurdas, the sixth Sikh Guru built a 9-foot-high concrete slab. When Guru Hargobind revealed the platform on 15 June 1606, he put on two swords: one indicated his spiritual authority (piri) and the other, his temporal authority (miri).[5][6]

In the 18th century, Ahmed Shah Abdali and Massa Rangar led a series of attacks on the Akal Takht and Harmandir Sahib.[2] Takht which is on the first floor was rebuilt in brick between 1770 and 1780, under Sultan-ul-Qaum Jassa Singh Ahluwalia (1718–1783) – the leader of the Sikh Confederacy in Punjab.

Hari Singh Nalwa, a general of Ranjit Singh, the maharaja, decorated the Akhal Takht with gold.[7] On 4 June 1984, the Akal Takht was damaged when the Indian Army stormed Harmandir Sahib under the order of Indira Gandhi, then Prime minister of India, during Operation Blue Star.


The Akal Takht was built on a site where there existed only a high mound of earth across a wide-open space. It was a place where Guru Hargobind played as a child. The original Takht was a simple platform, 3.5 metres (11 ft) high, on which Guru Hargobind would sit in court to receive petitions and administer justice. He was surrounded by insignia of royalty such as the parasol and the flywhisk. Later, there was an open-air semi-circular structure built on marble pillars and a gilded interior section. There were also painted wall panels depicting Europeans.[8]

The modern building is a five-story structure with marble inlay and a gold-leafed dome. Three of the stories were added by Ranjit Singh in the 1700s. Contemporary restoration work found a layer of paint decorated lime plaster that might have been part of the original structure but later than the time of Harminder.

Operation Blue Star[edit]

In July 1983, the Sikh political party Akali Dal's President Harcharan Singh Longowal and the jathedar of the Akal Takht invited the fourteenth jathedar of Damdami taksal Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who was on the run for radicalized militancy in Punjab, popular in much of rural Punjab,[9] to hide in the Golden Temple Complex, later moving to the Akal Takht to protect himself from getting arrested.[10] Between 3 June and 8 June 1984, the Indian army conducted a counter-insurgency operation, ordered by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, to arrest Bhindranwale . The Akal Takht was heavily damaged during this operation by the Indian Army. Bhindranwale was killed in action during exchange of fire between the armed Militants and the Indian Army.


Interior of Akal Takht

After Operation Blue Star, the Akal Takht was rebuilt by the Jathedar of Budha Dal, Baba Santa Singh. Many institutions such as the Damdami Taksal felt that the Nihang Singhs should not have taken money from the government to rebuild the Takht.

A few years later, Bhindranwale's successor from Damdami Taksal, Baba Thakur Singh, had the Akal Takht demolished, and rebuilt after resolutions were passed by Sarbat Khalsa 1986.


  1. ^ Nabha, Kahan Singh (13 April 1930). Gur Shabad Ratanakar Mahankosh (1 ed.). Languages Department of Punjab, Patiala. p. ਅਕਾਲਬੁੰਗਾ. Archived from the original on 19 August 2016. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Fahlbusch E. (ed.) "The encyclopedia of Christianity." Archived 7 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2008. ISBN 978-0-8028-2417-2
  3. ^ "Giani Harpreet Singh is acting jathedar of Akal Takht". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 26 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Akal Bunga". The Sikh Encyclopedia. Gateway to Sikhism Foundation. Archived from the original on 13 November 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  5. ^ Singh, Dr Kuldip. Akal Takht Ate Khalsa Panth. Chandigarh. p. 2. Archived from the original on 21 October 2016. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  6. ^ Dilgeer, Harjinder Singh (1980). The Akal Takht. Jalandhar: Sikh University Press.
  7. ^ Sohan Lal Suri. 19th century. Umdat-ut-tawarikh, Daftar III, Part 2, trans. V.S. Suri, (1961) 2002, Amritsar: Guru Nanak Dev University, f. 260
  8. ^ G.S., Randhir (1990). Sikh shrines in India. New Delhi: The Director of Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. pp. 13–14.
  9. ^ "Bhindranwale's rise from a small-time priest was meteoric". India Today. 15 December 2011. Archived from the original on 4 November 2019. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  10. ^ Khushwant Singh, A History of the Sikhs, Volume II: 1839-2004, New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 337.


  • Harjinder Singh Dilgeer The Akal Takht, Sikh University Press, 1980.
  • Harjinder Singh Dilgeer Sikh Twareekh Vich Akal Takht Sahib Da Role, Sikh University Press 2005.
  • Harjinder Singh Dilgeer Akal Takht Sahib, concept and role, Sikh University Press 2005.
  • Harjinder Singh Dilgeer Sikh Twareekh, Sikh University Press 2008.
  • Mohinder Singh Josh Akal Takht Tay is da Jathedar 2005.
  • Darshi A. R. The Gallant Defender
  • Singh P. The Golden Temple. South Asia Books 1989. ISBN 978-962-7375-01-2.
  • Singh K. (ed.) New insights into Sikh art. Marg Publications. 2003. ISBN 978-81-85026-60-2.
  • Nomination of Sri Harimandir Sahib for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List Vol.1 Nomination Dossier, India 2003.
  • Macauliffe, M. A. The Sikh religion: Its gurus sacred writings and authors Low Price Publications, 1903. ISBN 978-81-7536-132-4.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°37′14″N 74°52′31″E / 31.62056°N 74.87528°E / 31.62056; 74.87528