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Friday, February 9, 2018

Guru Ka Langar @ The Golden Temple

The Golden Temple Illuminated at Night
As one steps into the huge complex of the sanctum sanctorum, The Golden Temple in Amritsar the never-ending crowds is something that remains a constant. Notwithstanding the rush, the pious air of reverence greets each visitor alike. It is no surprise that people of all faiths, religions, regardless of caste and creed flock to this shrine every day. The cleanliness of the place is to be seen to believe!
Volunteers cleaning the vegetables
The temple opens the gates at 3 am for the 'Prabhat Vela' to have a glimpse of the bringing in of the Guru Granth Sahib from the adjacent Akal Takht at around 5 am every day. A small ceremony follows in which the first 'Hukumnama' ( Order of the Day) is read. Throughout the day, the hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib is read, and the crowds continue to flock to pay the respect and make offerings. Around 10 pm the Guru Granth Sahib is taken back to the Akal Takht in a palki. The devotees are served piping hot 'Kada Prasad'( Halwa made in pure ghee). A few startling facts about the world's largest community kitchen called the Guru Ka Langar where all the food including the ' Kada Prasad' is prepared, follow.
The Wheat Dough preparation machine
The ' Langar' can serve from 75000 to 100000 people every day for 24 hours of hot meals with utmost cleanliness. The entire operation is managed by volunteers and the mechanised kitchen. Almost 2500 kg of  Dal(Lentils),12000Kg of flour(atta) to prepare 200000 bread(rotis),5000 litres of milk,1000 kg of rice, 1000kg of sugar, 500kg pure ghee, 100 LPG gas cylinders, 5000 kg firewood are used every day to prepare the food by hundreds of volunteers. The Automated Roti Maker can churn out almost 25000 perfectly circular bread(rotis) per hour. The entire process of kneading the dough, rolling of bread(roti), cooking over heat on Tawas is done without a human touch of hands! There are special huge cauldrons that can prepare hundreds of kilos of Dal, Vegetable, and Kheer. The aroma of the cooking of onions, preparation of Dal fills the air. Earlier, the raw vegetables are cleaned, peeled, and chopped by volunteers before the preparation of the vegetable.
The Bread( Roti) Preparation in progress
Once the food is ready, an ongoing process, up to 5000 devotees in each of the two halls are ushered in with clean plates, spoons and a cup for water. The volunteers serve the food to the devotees, in a very brisk operation within minutes. The bread( roti) has to be taken by spreading hands to accept in humility while the dal, vegetable and kheer are served on the plate. After the meal, the devotee makes the place for other people to come while they handover the used plates to the volunteer for cleaning. Each plate is cleaned 5 times to ensure the highest standard of hygiene is maintained.
Those who wish to have tea can collect separate cups and fill them on their own just outside the 'Langar Hall'.
Vegetable under preparation
The food is vegetarian and prepared with highest standards of cleanliness.Everyone is welcome to share the 'Langar'and no one is ever turned away.No pilgrim will ever miss a meal at any time of the day when visiting the Golden Temple. Sharing a common meal sitting in a Pangat(line) is for a Sikh an act of piety. So is the act of preparation of food and cleaning the used dishes.On return from the 'Langar', the pilgrim can collect the shoes deposited earlier before entering the temple. The shoes are cleaned by volunteers before returning to the owner.
The Sikhs consider the service to humanity as the highest form of service and those 'well to do' share a part off wealth by way of charities to alleviate the suffering of poor.Maharaja Ranjit Singh gave jagirs to maintenance of gurudwaras and the tradition is being carried on to date in every gurudwara around the world.

8 comments:

  1. The Gurudwara Management Committee gives Six Sigma goals to the corporate and industry giants. Their management is efficient and flawless. So much cleanliness and quality in spite of a huge crowd to feed, is incredible and praiseworthy.

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    1. Very true Shilpi!It feels so good to see such meticulous execution :)

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  2. We had been to the Golden temple, but on a Sunday with a tourist group. It was too crowded and couldn't have food in their langar. But had food at the langars during our Amarnath trip. Really, I admire the dedication of the people who serve food there. They really follow the 'Athithi devo bhava' words...we, guests are treated with utmost respect. Food is served with a smile always. Great people.

    Thanks for the lovely pictures and explanation.

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    1. Do attend the langar when you visit the place next time! Agree with your comment !

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  3. This is an amazing post, wonderful level of detailing. Mouth watering information post :).

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    1. Many thanks Ramya for the kind comment ! Now is your turn to visit after Ranjana😊

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  4. Amazing facts from the Golden Temple. Thank you.
    The next time I go that side, there'll be no missing it.

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    1. Thanks Dee!You must visit the Golden Temple next time when you are here:)

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