The Akal Takht means The Throne of the Timeless One is the highest seat of temporal authority of the Khalsa and an important symbol of Sikhism. The Akal Takht is located in the Harmandir Sahib complex in Amritsar
. It was built by the Guru Hargobind Sahib, stands witness to the Sikh idea of sovereignty. It symbolizes the interlocking of the temporal with the spiritual in Sikhism.
On the original plot of land of the Akal Takhat, there only existed a high mound of earth across a wide open space, where Guru Hargobind as a child used to play.The Gurus original Takhat is said to have been a simple platform, 3.5 metres high, on which the Guru would sit like a king at court, surrounded by insignia of royalty such as the parasol and the flywhisk, and perform kingly tasks of receiving petitions and administrating justice.
Today’s Akal Takhat is a large 5-storey modern structure (3 storeys were added by Maharaja Ranjit Singh) with inlaid marble and a gold-leafed dome, that does not convey the design of Guru Hargobind’s simple Takht or plinth. However, recent restoration work has uncovered a layer of lime plaster, with painted decoration, that may have been part of the original Takhat. That plinth was far higher than the plinth of the Harimandir; yet the absence of a superstructure kept the original Akal Takhat at a level lower than the shrine.
The elaboration of the structure on marble pillars, as a semi-circular platform with an open view to the courtyard, reminiscent of an air-house, must have grown from the use to which the Durbar hall was put.The gilding of the ceiling with ornamentations like those in the interior of the Hari Mandir Sahib is perhaps later than in the holy of holies. The wall paintings apparently belong to a later period, as there are panels showing Europeans.The total effect of the Akal Takhat and the open courtyard, in front of the Darshani Deori and the viewa of the Amritsar beyond, is of a unique and noble structure.