Golden Temple Langar

By Sanjeev Nayyar [email protected] | 2012

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Heard so much about the Golden Temple langar that it was a must see for me. The person u see on right of picture was nice enough to allow me to click pictures of the langar and kitchen. Washed plates are kept on the trolley. As you enter the langar area u are given a plate. I have also shown some pics of Sringeri Mutt langar for you to see what is common and different between the two.

U see a huge vessel on a gas in which dal (lentins) is being cooked. There were many huge vessels like these.

Given the height at which vessels are a person had to stand on a wooden platform to stir it as you see. The thali had chapatis, dal and some sweet. Next pic we show u the Sringeri Mutt kitchen.

This is the Sringeri Mutt kitchen. How does it compare with Golden Temple? Mutt serves rice, sambar, curry dish and butter-milk. Temples serve chaptis, dal, sweet. Mutt uses mainly steam cookers while Temple uses gas. Mutt kitchen is very clean. Temple kitchen needs improvement for eg I could walk barefoot in Mutt kitchen but could not in Temple.

Since making chapatis is laborious as compared to rice was keen to see how the temple managed that. There are two groups making chapatis. U see group one. First the dhow is made, then round pedas which are made into chapatis using a belan. Two ladies in front are making round pedas while about six/eight women made round chapatis (u see three women on left of pic).

The uncooked chapatis are then placed on the gas that you see in the picture. Right of pic u see a man sitting on the stool and a lady in front who manage this part. After that the chapatis are kept in a hot case as you shall see later. Most of the ladies making chapatis seemed to be above 50. Admire the spirit of sewa, service.

A smaller group making chapatis. Also a number of Karnatka temples serve food in leaves so no need to wash plates.

Sweet rice with coconut kept in this huge container. Behind you can see chapatis being kept in a hot case.

This vessel contained dal (lentin). It is being stirred by a sewak (devotee). The server puts a big jar into the vessel (that you see in picture) and then transfers to smaller vessels.

In comparison see the two vessels that serve sambar and curry dish in Sringeri Mutt. I missed asking how many devotees eat at the temple langar everyday. About 20-25000 devotees eat at the Mutt daily.

There are two halls in the langar where devotees are served, on ground and first floor. They are well lit. There is a cloth matt on which devotees sit. Next pic has Sringeri Mutt hall.

In the temple servers wear a shirt or kurta. In the mutt men wear a dhoti only. In the Mutt they use huge buckets to serve sambar unlike the temple. Whilst eating, devotees sit on a raised platform in the mutt unlike sitting on a matt in the temple. The platform is cleaned after a group of devotees eat. Due to its inherent nature the matt can only get dirty with time.

In the Mutt the entire eating area is swept after a group of devotees finished their meals like what you see (this pic is Subramanya Temple but concept is same). I did not see that in the Temple because of which there is scope for improvement in cleanliless.

After every devotee completes his food in the temple, he has to give the utensil to this group of devotees. Food leftovers are removed into a large container that you see after which the utensil is thrown into another container. In the Mutt there is a separate group of cleaners who pick up the dirty plates and clean them.

The dirty utensils are then washed by devotees, rich and poor alike. There are 3 or 4 rows of washing happening like what you see in the pic. Really admired and appreciate this. Dry plates are kept in the trolley like you saw in pic one. I really hope and wish that all other temples and mutts in India follow the Golden Temple example. Washing anothers utensils makes you humble, realize the dignity of labor and breaks all barriers. To see pictures of Langars in Karnatka temples Click here