“Tihar Food Court” – A Dining Experience With The Jail Inmates

“Tihar Jail”, the moment we hear these two words we are reminded of the prisoners residing on the jail convicted of committing heinous or small scale crimes. Seldom can we think that it can serve delicious dishes within a Food court filled with an entertaining ambiance. But believe it or not, it is true and real. Within the complex of Tihar Jail, the largest prison in South Asia, resides the Tihar Food Court. It provides exclusive dining facilities inside a well decorated and spacious restaurant.

The Uniqueness of the Tihar Food Court

We often visit restaurants owned by a food major or it being part of a renowned food chain. Deviate from your regular choices and venture out once at the Tihar Food Court. You will be simply amazed to witness the generosity of the staff and the manager coupled with the taste of its delicacies. Thanks to Mr. Vimal Mishra, the Director General of Prisons, who was instrumental in generating the idea to set up the Food Court.

A question may arise as to who runs the Tihar Food Court? Is it the inmates? Well the answer is Yes. Do not worry, even if they are accused of some hate acts their behavior will not reflect any of their past actions. The motive behind opening up the Food Court inside the Jail is to bring about a reformation within the behavior of the prisoners. They have been extensively groomed in hotel management skills so that they can be engaged into a decent work and earn money for their living. A special program called “From Talent to Employment” has been framed for the inmates to learn cooking, serving and baking.

The Food court is essentially present in the semi-open prison premises where the food is served and the cooking is done inside the prison. The inmates are permitted to enter the semi-open prison only during the daytime to serve food and return back inside the prison by evening.

The Décor and the Food of the Tihar Food Court

The restaurant has the capacity of accommodating 50 guests. You will be astonished to see the paintings on the walls of the food court. They have been made by the inmates themselves, which portrays the hidden talent and skills of the convicts. It is a learning to the society that each and every individual possess an inherent capacity which needs to be explored and focused over above all negative qualities.

The tables and chairs are made of wood and colourful jute fabrics. They impart a simplistic look to the overall ambiance. Opened in 2014, the Food court serves dishes from both Indian and Chinese cuisines. Sea foods are a specialty of the restaurant. There are ample vegetarian dishes offered for the guests. The taste and food quality have been highly appreciated by many food lovers. The Indian common snacks samosas, chaats, sandwiches are quite a favourite among the guests. The price is also minimal, about INR 300 for two people.

You will experience lips smacking dishes in a simplistic environment at the Tihar Food court. The etiquette and manners of the inmates are worthy of praise. In fact there is no space for complaints. It is a real good attempt to alter the lives of the convicts by engaging into a noble job. Not only it helps them to showcase their culinary skills and interpersonal habits, but transform them into good human beings.

Location and Timings

The Tihar Food Court is located at the Tihar Jail Complex opposite to the Indraprastha Gas station in Jail Road. The restaurant is open all days from 11 AM to 4:00 PM and from 5:00 PM to 10:30 PM.

The place can be reached by bus or a cab from any part pf Delhi. You must certainly not miss out the dining experience at the Food Court to witness the amazing ambiance with the inmates and the delicious foods cooked by them.

The Jail authorities have certain criteria to select the inmates for the hotel management training. They need to complete 12 years in prison with clean record and the minimum educational qualifications must be high school. After then special training are arranged for them to bring up their competency in culinary skills and serving the guests in the food court.

Tihar Food Court is an example of successful rehabilitation of convicts deployed into a prestigious job. They interact with outsiders which also refreshes and rejuvenates their mind. They are kept engaged in continuous work, ensuring their brains constantly functions on something good. Their minds stay focused on the fact that they are earning money through their hard work and skills. As guests visiting the food court we must ensure to appreciate their talents and attitude which will certainly contribute in improvement of their motivation and will power. A stress free happy mind would never involve in criminal activities in future. Let them lead a path of honesty and purity, an attempt for a better India.

Featured Photo of ‘Kachori chaat’ by Devika under CC BY-SA 2.0

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