Yoga in Golden Temple: Balancing Personal Practice and Sacred Space

By Divya Jun 23, 2024 #Controversy #Golden Temple #Yoga
Yoga in Golden Temple

Yoga in Golden Temple: A Controversy Between Sacred Space and Personal Practice

Genesis of the Controversy

The serene precincts of Golden Temple, the holiest shrine of Sikhism in Amritsar, were recently roiled by a controversy stemming from a young woman’s yoga practice within its hallowed grounds. Archanna Makwana, a yoga enthusiast, performed asanas on the temple premises to mark International Yoga Day on June 21, 2023, and shared photos and videos of her session on social media.

Outrage and Condemnation

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the apex body managing Sikh gurdwaras, took strong exception to Makwana’s actions, deeming it disrespectful to the temple’s sanctity and sentiments of the Sikh community. SGPC President Harjinder Singh Dhami expressed outrage, stating that the woman’s behavior “demeaned” the sacred space and sought action against her.

Disciplinary Measures and Apology

The SGPC swiftly filed a police complaint against Makwana and initiated disciplinary proceedings against three of its employees for alleged negligence in duty. The three employees were dismissed from their positions and fined Rs. 5000 each.

In the face of mounting criticism, Makwana responded by deleting the offending posts and issuing a public apology via Instagram. She stated that she had no intention of causing offense and deeply regretted her actions.

Clash of Perspectives

The controversy reflects the inherent tension between the personal practice of yoga and the reverence accorded to sacred spaces in different cultures. While yoga is widely practiced and recognized for its physical and mental benefits, some religious communities view it as incongruous within their holiest shrines.

Importance of Respect

The Golden Temple incident underscores the importance of respecting the customs and beliefs of different faiths. While respecting personal choices and preferences is crucial, it is equally imperative to be mindful of the conventions and boundaries of sacred spaces.

Open Dialogue and Understanding

Engaging in open dialogue between stakeholders is essential to foster greater understanding and prevent such controversies. Religious leaders, cultural experts, and public figures can play a pivotal role in bridging gaps and promoting mutual respect.


The Golden Temple yoga controversy serves as a reminder that maintaining the sanctity of sacred spaces requires the cooperation and understanding of both practitioners and visitors. While personal practices and beliefs should be respected, they must be exercised with the utmost sensitivity to the cultural and religious context in which they are performed.

By Divya

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