Akal Takhat (Punjabi: ਅਕਾਲ ਤਖ਼ਤ, Akāl Taḵẖt) means the Throne of the Immortal and is the highest political institution of the Sikhs. “Akal” means “The Timeless One” – another term for God. “Takhat” means “throne” in Persian. The Akal Takhat is an impressive building that sits directly in front of the causeway leading to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, about 290 miles (470 km) northwest of New Delhi. The Akal Takhat was founded by Guru Hargobind on June 15, 1606 (now celebrated on 2 July) and was established as the place from which the spiritual and temporal concerns of the Sikh community could be acted upon. The Akal Takht is 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.
It stood as a symbol of political bulwark against the Mughal Emperors in the 17th and 18th century. Various attacks on the Akal Takhat and Harimandir Sahib have been led in past by Ahmed Shah Abdali and Massa Rangar in the 18 century. On June 4, 1984, the Indian Army did more than just damage the outer facade of the Akal Takhat, they destroyed the sancitity of the Akal Takht with tanks and reduced it to rubble, while attempting to take out Sikh militants in a controversial military operation known as Operation Bluestar.
It is the most supreme of all the Takhats. There are four other takhats established by the panth (community) during the last century:
•Keshgarh Sahib (Anandpur)
The Jathedar of the Akal Takhat is the highest spokesperson of the Sikh Panth and is meant to be a spiritual leader without control or influence from any outside, politically motivated sources.
It was a place where Hargobind played as a child. The original takht was a simple platform, 3.5 metres (11 ft) high, on which 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.
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.