A monotheistic religion which is called Sikhism is believed to have been originated in the region of Punjab during the 15th century. Sikhism is one of the youngest major religions in the entire world. It has over 25-28 million adherents across the globe. Guess this huge number makes Sikhism the ninth-largest religion in the entire world. Today lets discuss one of their age old amazing tradition which is known as Langar.
Langar, Where Food Is Served For Free Without Any Distinction Of Religion, Faith Or Background
Being one of the youngest religions, the Sikhs have become increasingly popular across the globe. They are known for their bravery, kindness and most important their will to serve their country and society without any purpose. And one of the most accurate example which justifies all these traits of the Sikhs is the “Langar”. An age old tradition which is practiced in Sikhism, this amazing tradition was started by the Guru Nanak Dev Ji, he was the first Sikh Guru.
7 Interesting Things About Sikhs Dining Tradition Of Langar
lets go through this interesting tradition, I am sure you will get to learn a lot more new things about the love and spirituality attached with this custom.
1. Understanding What Langar Actually Is
To put it in the simplest form Langar means a free kitchen. When I say “Free” it means – free from anyone, any religion, any gender, any cast, any creed and any social status. Langar invites each and every one to come and have the food for free; this food is prepared and served by the volunteers. These volunteers are known as Sewadars and they work in these mega kitchens for free, or as they call it as doing Sewa. The concept of Langar is free dining for all, which promotes equality amongst people and also the feeling of oneness and sharing. It is believed that anyone who comes in a Langar should not go back empty stomach.
2. The Sewadars Or Volunteers
If we talk about the real foundation of Langar then it is the Sewadars (Volunteers). These volunteers have a very strong urge and unconditional devotion to serve the community. Guess this is the reason why the tradition of Langar is still alive and standing strong. Over time it has been serving more and more people, the numbers have kept on increasing. The Sewadars do each and everything from scratch, like getting the raw materials, cook, serve and even wash the utensils. They are known for their utmost desiccation.
3. Food At Langar
To understand what the food at Langar actually is, you need to visit it for real and experience it. The Food at Langar is purely simple vegetarian food. Only when the Ardas is performed is when the food starts to get served. The devotees recite the Gurbani while they prepare the Langar. Sikhs make sure that the food which is served at the Langar are prepared fresh and all hygiene standards are maintained. The Gurudawaras have a big dining hall where these Langars are organised. Devotees are made to sit down on mats which are organised in a long row. As I said each and every task for the langar is done by the Sewadars, so when the devotees sit down to have food the Sewadars quickly keep the utensils in front of them. This utensil is usually a normal sectioned steel plate along with a bowl, glass and spoon. Once each devotee gets the utensils the Sewadars start serving food. Food is simple here and consists of Dal, Sabzi, Chapati “Parshada”, Pickle and a Desert.
4. Open Air Langars During Festivals And Gurpurab
During festivals and Gurpurbs large number of devotees attends the Langars, to accommodate these large gathering open air langars are arranged. The most interesting part of these Langars during festival time is that more than 1 Lakh people visit it in one single day and each and every one is served food with utmost love and dedication. Sikhs have now reached every corner of the world and it has been seen that wherever they are, Langars have been well established by them there.
5. Contribution By the Devotees
Well donations are quite commonly seen in Indian temples. The same goes with Gurudwara. Many devotees either give money or raw material as donations for the Langar service in the Gurudwara. For the maintainence of Langars, many royals like Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab has made grants of jagirs to the gurdwaras. Many other popular Sikh rulers made similar endowments. If we talk about the current era, then almost every Gurudwara in the country has a Langar which is actively supported by the community in general.
6. Langar in the Golden Temple
The Golden Temple is one of the most sacred places for the Sikhs. And you will be surprised to know that the Golden Temple Community Kitchen on an average serves around 75,000 devotees or tourists every day. And when its any special occasion or festival this number becomes almost double. Each and every day the Guradwara uses 100 Quintal of Wheat Flour, 25 of Quintal Cereals, 10 of Quintal Rice, 5000 Ltr of Milk, 10 of Quintal Sugar and 5 of Quintal Pure Ghee to make the meal for the Langar. To prepare these means around 100 LPG Gas Cylinders are used. There are over hundreds of employees and devotees working together in this mega kitchen.
7. Langar: A Feeling Of Oneness
One of the most amazing part about langar is that the moment you enter and sit down, there are people all over from all walks of life. Each and every person is served same simple, yet immensely delicious food which is cooked with utmost love and devotion. Langar isn’t just about food, but this powerful tradition can teach us those little things which we should always value the most in our lives. And those little things are food, love, sharing and peace.
We all go to expensive hotel and restaurant, but does this hotel give you any learning? Langar does it can teach you the feeling of oneness and satisfaction just with a simple meal. India is about different communities and each and every community is unique and special in its own way. One of the most fascinating things about the Sikhs is that even in their prayers they seek the favor from the Almighty- “Loh Langar Tapde Rahin” which means may the hot plates of the langars always remain in service. Amazing isn’t it?
Featured Photo by PlaneMad