View Full Version : 80,000 nourishes soul n body per day

10 September 2010, 06:15 AM

The New York Times
Published: August 29, 2010

AMRITSAR, India — The groaning, clattering machines never stop, transforming 12 tons of whole wheat flour every day into nearly a quarter-million discs of flatbread called roti. These purpose-built contraptions, each 20 feet long, extrude the dough, roll it flat, then send it down a gas-fired conveyor belt, spitting out a never-ending stream of hot, floppy, perfectly round bread.

Soupy lentils, three and a third tons of them, bubble away in vast cauldrons, stirred by bearded, barefoot men wielding wooden spoons the size of canoe paddles. The pungent, savory bite wafting through the air comes from 1,700 pounds of onions and 132 pounds of garlic, sprinkled with 330 pounds of fiery red chilies.

It is lunchtime at what may be the world’s largest free eatery, the langar, or community kitchen at this city’s glimmering Golden Temple, the holiest shrine of the Sikh religion. Everything is ready for the big rush. Thousands of volunteers have scrubbed the floors, chopped onions, shelled peas and peeled garlic. At least 40,000 metal plates, bowls and spoons have been washed, stacked and are ready to go.

Anyone can eat for free here, and many, many people do. On a weekday, about 80,000 come. On weekends, almost twice as many people visit. Each visitor gets a wholesome vegetarian meal, served by volunteers who embody India’s religious and ethnic mosaic.

“This is our tradition,” said Harpinder Singh, the 45-year-old manager of this huge operation. “Anyone who wants can come and eat.”

Sikhism, which emerged in the Punjab region of India in the 15th century, strongly rejects the notion of caste, which lies at the core of Hinduism.

The Golden Temple, a giant complex of marble and glittering gold that sits at the heart of this sprawling, hectic city near the border with Pakistan, seeks to embody this principle. Nowhere is it more evident than in the community kitchen, where everyone, no matter his religion, wealth or social status, is considered equal.

Guru Amar Das created the community kitchen during his time as the third Sikh guru in the 16th century. Its purpose, he said, was to place all of humanity on the same plane. At the temple’s museum, one painting shows the wife of one of the gurus serving common people, “working day and night in the kitchen like an ordinary worker,” the caption says.

Volunteerism and community support are other central tenets of Sikhism expressed in the langar. When the Mughal emperor Akbar tried to give Guru Amar Das a platter of gold coins to support the kitchen, he refused to accept them, saying the kitchen “is always run with the blessings of the Almighty.”

Ashok Kumar, a Hindu with a scraggly beard, has been coming to the kitchen for the past five years — all day, almost every day — to work as a volunteer. “It is my service,” he explained, after reluctantly taking a very brief break from his syncopated tray sorting.


10 September 2010, 10:57 AM
Very beautiful. It always makes me feel good to see man in service of man. Cheers to them.

Eastern Mind
10 September 2010, 06:19 PM
Vannakkam karakara2:

Welcome to these forums. One of the best first posts yet for anyone who has arrived here to HDF.

The feeding is incredible although the article errors in saying that caste lies at the core of Hinduism. I would argue that God lies at the core. The other thing is that the same routine is followed in lesser ways throughout India in Hindu temples, other Gurdwaras, backs of many restaurants, and probably at Christian churches. It isn't a concept unique to Sikhism, although by sheer volume alone at the Golden temple, it is impressive. Pilgrims at many temples can pick up free lunches. You have to admire the true spirit of volunteerism not just here, but anywhere.

I remember a story of a lady being asked to give a talk on volunteerism at a school here, but refusing because she was too busy that day volunteering.

Aum Namasivaya

10 September 2010, 11:09 PM
Thanks for your Comments

Gate of Langar /eating Hall reads


11 September 2010, 12:06 PM

Premier of South Australia Mike Rann (L), his wife Sasha Carruozzo (C) and Australian High Commissioner in India Peter Vaghese (R) prepare chappati (flatbread) for a communal vegetarian meal, known as 'langar', at a community kitchen at the Golden temple sikh shrine in Amritsar on September 10,2010

16 September 2010, 09:05 AM
A very exciting News

Obama to visit Golden Temple in Nov

A team of US officials visited the shrine on Wednesday and met government and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) authorities to take stock of security issues ahead of the visit.



below few images of US Ambassador ;s visit to Darbar sahib

Wahe guru ji ki fateh

20 September 2010, 03:32 AM
>> 1,700 pounds of onions and 132 pounds of garlic

i wish they cook without them

20 September 2010, 09:55 AM
>> 1,700 pounds of onions and 132 pounds of garlic

i wish they cook without them

Nah, that is how they keep the Vaishanavas out of the dining area. ;)

21 September 2010, 01:21 AM
>> how they keep the Vaishanavas out of the dining area

Buddhists as well

Who's else ?

24 September 2010, 09:17 AM
Nah, that is how they keep the Vaishanavas out of the dining area. ;)

No one is Kept out from Langar , Langar is for Equality and Unity of Humanity ,Everyone is Welcome ,.

as there is nothing against Onion/Garlic in Sikhi so its not possible to discontinue Onion Garlic from Langar . A Vaishnav can avoid Onion /Garlicin langar hall ,can taste other stuff" Kheer , parshad ,rice ,roti " etc .

27 September 2010, 12:58 PM
its good ... i like it when i visited golden temple in jan 2010 ...but only one thing i don't like it..that there was pics/small stickers of that terrorist bhinderwala in golden temple langer halls....which sucks..and now i decided not to go in that place again..
sorry baba nanakji maaf kareyoo..as i hate that ugly looking guy