The Golden Temple of Amritsar: Reflections of the Past

Key information

10:30 am to 5:00 pm
Brunei Gallery
Brunei Gallery Exhibition Rooms
Event type

About this event

The Golden Temple of Amritsar: Reflections of the Past will be the first major exhibition on one of the world’s most beautiful and iconic buildings, one which is both the epicentre of the Sikh faith and a place of pilgrimage for followers of other traditions. It is also the first major Sikh exhibition since the V&A Museum's 1999 'The Arts of the Sikh Kingdoms'.

Organised by a leading voluntary heritage organisation, the UK Punjab Heritage Association (UKPHA), this groundbreaking show will trace the temple's history, beginning with its origins as a place where the Buddha once meditated, to its role as the inspiration behind a guerrilla insurgency against foreign invasion that eventually led to the establishment of a Sikh empire in the 18th century.

Spies & Raconteurs, Diamonds & Destruction

The exhibition will bring to life a bygone era when the Sikhs vied with the Mughals, Afghans and British for control of the land in and around present day Afghanistan, Pakistan and North-West India. On show will be a range of beautiful artefacts, photographs, paintings and engravings enhanced with extracts from fascinating eyewitness accounts from, among others, European spies, travellers, artists, memsahibs and raconteurs who visited the shrine in the 19th century.

Historically important objects from this period that will be on show include stunning battlefield weapons, jewellery worn by Rani Jindan, mother of Maharaja Duleep Singh (1838-1893), the last Sikh king of Lahore, and a receipt for the Koh-i-Noor, the world's largest diamond which now has pride of place in the Crown Jewels, but whose own ancient legend prophesied the rise and fall of every empire in whose hands it fell, from the Afghans to the Sikhs through to the British Empire.

Organisers' Exhibition Website

Swordplay & Scholarship

Five one-day symposia will feature a range of international expert speakers who will explore themes of development and history, art and architecture, hospitality and classical learning, martial traditions and classical music.

A lavish book accompanying the exhibition will feature approximately 500 of the earliest images of the Golden Temple dating from the 1820s to 1959 along with extracts from over 70 eyewitness accounts.

Symposium ticket bookings.