Indian Kitchen that feeds 100,000 daily

Amritsar, 19 May-2014, Showkat Shafi: Two hundred thousand rotis (Indian flat bread), 1.5 tonnes of dal (lentil soup) and free food served to 100,000 people everyday are what makes the free kitchen run at the Golden Temple in the western Indian city of Amritsar stand apart.

Indian Kitchen that feeds 100,000 daily

Indian Kitchen that feeds 100,000 daily

By all measures, the kitchen (called langar in Punjabi ) is one of the largest free kitchens to be run anywhere in the world.

The concept of langars was initiated centuries ago by Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion.

Sunday, November 17, is his 545th birth anniversary.

At the Langar, no one goes hungry – and everybody gets a hot meal regardless of caste, creed and religion.

All Sikh Gurudwaras (places of worship) have langars, but the one at Golden Temple – Sikhs’ holiest shrine – has little parallel.

“Anyone can eat for free here and on an average we serve food to 100,000 people. On weekends and special occasions double the numbers of people visit the langar. The langar never stops and on an average 7,000 kg of wheat flour, 1,200 kg of rice, 1,300 kg of lentils, 500 kg of ghee (clarified butter) is used in preparing the meal every day,” says Harpreet Singh, manager of this huge kitchen.

“The free kitchen uses firewood, LPG gas and electronic bread makers for the cooking and we use around 100 LPG cylinders and 5,000 kilograms of firewood every day,” he adds.

The kitchen is run by 450 staff, helped by hundreds of other volunteers.

Sanjay Arora, 46, from New Delhi, comes to volunteer at the langar two days a month. “This is seva (service) for me. I feel happy after doing this service. This is not just free food because here you forget all the differences that separate humans from each other,” he says.

Volunteers also wash the 300,000 plates, spoons and bowls used in feeding the people. The food is vegetarian and the expenses are managed through donations from all over the world.

The yearly budget of the langar runs into hundreds of millions.

People from all over the world especially ” Sikhs” visit Golden temple at least once in their life time.

People sit on the floor together as equals and eat the same simple food at the eating hall of the Golden Temple langar.

Langar teaches the etiquette of sitting and eating in a community situation.

People from any community and faith can serve as volunteers.

The utensils are washed in three rounds to ensure that the plates are perfectly clean to be again used.

Running the kitchen also means washing and cleaning thousands of plates, bowls and spoons.

Some 450 staff and hundreds of volunteers help to run the kitchen.

Five thousand kilograms of fire wood is used every day for preparing the meals at this langar, that runs 24/7.

Wheat flour being put in a contraption that acts like a dough maker. The dough will be used for making rotis (Indian flat bread).

Women play an important role in the preparation of meals. Volunteers make stacks of rotis that will be served at the free kitchen.

(Input source: Aljazeera)