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Amritsar is dominated by the history of Hindus and Sikhs; many of their sacred shrines are found in and around the city. It is home to the Harmandir Sahib, known as the Golden Temple, the spiritual and cultural center of the Sikh religion. The temple is surrounded by a large lake, known as the Sarovar, which consists of Amrit ("holy water" or "immortal nectar"). There are four entrances to the temple, signifying the importance of acceptance and openness. Inside the temple complex there are many shrines to past Sikh gurus, saints and martyrs. There are three holy trees, each signifying a historical event or Sikh saint. Inside the temple there are memorial plaques that commemorate past Sikh historical events, saints, martyrs and include commemorative inscriptions of all the Sikh soldiers who died fighting in World Wars I and II. Much of the present decorative gilding and marble work dates from the early 19th century. The gold plating on the Harmandir Sahib was begun by Emperor Ranjit Singh and was finished in 1830.


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