The Sikh people serve free hot meals in their temples around the world to anyone who comes, regardless of religion. When we visited Amritsar in the Indian state of Punjab, we ate the communal meal at the Golden Temple with hundreds of other fellow travelers. The langar hall at the temple is the largest free kitchen in the world. Dozens of volunteers work continuously to prepare the food in a gigantic kitchen. The photo below shows volunteers preparing the freshly baked roti just prior to serving.
Diners sit cross-legged on the floor in long rows. Each row contains more than 100 diners and there are rows and rows in the hall. The meal was simple but very good. We felt a deep sense of kindness and caring from the Sikh people who serve these meals as a labor of love.
Feeding the Multitude
These photos were taken on October 25, 2014. Specs are:
First photo: Olympus TG-3, ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/160 sec, 4.8mm
Second photo: Olympus TG-3, ISO 800, f/2, 1/25 sec, 4.5mm
In October 2014, we visited Amritsar in the Indian state of Punjab. Amritsar is a city inhabited 70% by Sikhs, a friendly and accepting people. Sikhism is a newer religion, founded in the 15th century by Guru Nanak, rejecting caste and idolatry, and promoting the sameness of all human beings. Amritsar is home to the Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh gurdwara (place of worship); built in the 16th century, the Golden Temple houses the holy book, the Granth Sahib, which was designated as the 11th guru by the 10th (and last human) guru.
During our visit to the Golden Temple, we also ate in the community kitchen (langar), which feeds over a thousand people continuously. Each person fed can receive a vegetarian meal of water, chapattis, dal (lentil soup), and a thin rice pudding. This huge operation is staffed by hundreds of volunteers and permanent staff, men and women alike, who prepare each part of the meal and wash the metal trays used. The smooth and efficient operation of the langar depends on the collaboration of the workers (sewadars) in each area of preparation. This photo shows women and men engaged in cleaning garlic cloves.
This photo was taken on October 25, 2014. Specs are: