The timetable followed inside the Harmandir Sahib recreates the traditional understanding of the period of Sikh history when the Gurus resided in Amritsar. The morning Kirtan begins in the sanctum of the Harimandir Sahib in the early morning with the singing of the lengthy composition Asa di Var, which is interrupted by the arrival of a procession from the Akal Takhat of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib being carried on a palanquin on the shoulders of Sevadars (volunteers).
The Sangat (congregation), those who have begun their day early enough to be among those to be first to fill the Temple, rises as the holy Granth is placed on the Singhasan (throne) in the centre of the sanctum and attendants then read verses from the Granth in praise of the Sikh Gurus, written by the Gurus' court poets, the Bhatts. The holy Granth is then ceremoniously opened and a Hukam (command) is taken by opening the text at random and reading the first composition on the open page.
This process is intended to recreate the daily routine followed during the time of the Gurus: the arrival of the Guru Granth at the Harmandar Sahib from the Akal Takhat, the praises sung in honour of the Gurus by court poets and others, and his first discourse of the day in the shrine. The Guru Granth Sahib then remains on its throne in the sanctum until the early evening, when it is again taken in procession on a palanquin to the Akal Takhat for its traditional night-time rest.
The contours of the day as enacted in the sanctum of the Harimandir Sahib therefore reflect and recreate, on a daily basis, the nexus between the Gurus and Amritsar, embodying in praxis the historical memory of the presence of three of the human Gurus in Amritsar. For modern Sikhs, the daily routine of the Harmandir Sahib also literally reflects the Sikh doctrine of the SGGS as the physical embodiment of the ten Human Gurus.