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Langar - The Free Kitchen - A simple overview

Discussion in 'New to Gurdwara' started by spnadmin, Jul 16, 2009.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    This thread is dedicated to newcomers to Sikhism or anyone else who may want to know more about the tradition of langar. The first post is again from the About.com blog of Sukhmander Khalsa.

    If you click on the pictures you will see a larger version of the photograph and a brief description of what is happening at each stage or preparation of langar and the langar itself.

    Langar is pronounced lun' ger.

    Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. :thumbup:

    __________________________________________________________


    History of Langar :

    When the first Sikh guru, Nanak Dev, attained manhood, his father gave him 20 rupees and sent him on a trading expedition, impressing upon him that a good bargain makes for a good profit. On his way to buy merchandise, he met a group of sadhus living in a jungle. Nanak noticed the emaciated condition of the naked holy men and decided that the most profitable transaction he could make with his father's money would be to feed and clothe them. When he returned home empty handed, his father punished him. Insisting that true profit is to be had in selfless service, Guru Nanak established the principal of langar.Tradition of Langar:

    Where ever the gurus traveled or held court, people gathered for divine discourse. Mata Khivi, wife of Angad Dev, the second guru, made sure to provide langar, and participated in the service of distribution. Communal contributions and combined efforts of the people helped to organize the guru’s free kitchen based on the principals of:

    • Kirat karo – Earning by means of earnest, honest efforts and endeavors.
    • Vand chakko – Sharing of earnings and resources such as foodstuffs or other goods, and by serving others.
    • Naam japna – Remembering the name of God at all times whether cooking, distributing langar, or doing cleanup.
    Institution of Langar:

    Amar Das the third guru formalized the institution of langar, the guru’s free kitchen, uniting the Sikhs by establishing two key concepts:

    • Pangat – One family compiled of all of humanity, regardless of caste, color, or creed, sitting together cross legged in lines, forming rows without discrimination or consideration of rank or position.
    • Sangat – The ennobling influence of people, who aspire to truthful living, and congregate with like-minded company for the purpose of uttering the name of one God in the presence of the Guru Granth.
    The Langar Hall:

    Every gurdwara no matter how humble, or how lavishly elegant, has a langar institution. Any Sikh service, whether held indoors or out, has an area set aside for the preparation and service of langar which is either screened or detached from the place of worship. Whether prepared in an open air kitchen, a partitioned area of a home, or the facility of an elaborate gurdwara complex set up to serve thousands, langar has distinctly separate areas for:

    • Storage of provisions.
    • Storage of service utensils.
    • Preparation and cooking.
    • Service of prepared food.
    • Sitting place to dine.
    • Washing of used utensils.
    • Disposal of waste.
    Example of Langar and Seva (Voluntary Service):

    The guru's free kitchen profits in feeding both the body and the spirit of the soul. Seva is the Sikh word for voluntary, selfless service, done without compensation. Every day tens of thousands of people visit Harmandir Sahib, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India. Each and every visitor is welcome to dine in the guru’s free kitchen. The food available is always completely vegetarian, no eggs, fish, or meat of any kind is served. All expenses are covered completely by voluntary contributions from the the members of the congregation.

    Volunteers take responsibility for all food preparation and clean up such as:

    • Mix dough in machines needed every day for an estimated 50,000 roti, a kind of flat bread.
    • Roll out the flat bread by hand and cook it on hot iron plates.
    • Cut and fry onions, spices, and vegetables.
    • Boil a variety of lentil soups.
    • Distribute food to worshipers who dine sitting side by side in rows.
    • Wash thousands of steel plates and spoons, take care of the disposal of all waste, and clean up of the kitchen and dining hall.
     
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  3. spnadmin

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    Sikh Gurdwara Langar Kitchen and Dining Hall Illustrated

    Nurturing Body and Soul in the Guru's Free Kitchen From Sukhmandir Khalsa, About.com



    Every Sikh gurdwara has a Langar facility for feeding both body and soul of sangat, the gurdwara congregation. Langar is a traditonal concept which includes cooking, serving, eating, kitchen and dining hall.



    The voluntary contributions and donations of sangat supply all equipment, other provisions, and food necessary for providing sustenance to the body.



    Seva, the preparation and distribution of food, and all clean up done, is voluntarily performed by sangat. Seva, selfless service, and the practice of sitting side by side with out regard to cast, color, creed, or rank, in a common dining area both serve to nourish the soul cleansing it from the effects of ego, .


    Dont forget to click on each picture to get a better description and a bigger image.




    [​IMG]
    Sikh Gurdwara Langar Kitchen and Dining Hall Illustrated

    Nurturing Body and Soul in the Guru's Free Kitchen

    From Sukhmandir Khalsa, About.com

    See More About:



    Every Sikh gurdwara has a Langar facility for feeding both body and soul of sangat, the gurdwara congregation. Langar is a traditonal concept which includes cooking, serving, eating, kitchen and dining hall.



    The voluntary contributions and donations of sangat supply all equipment, other provisions, and food necessary for providing sustenance to the body.
    Seva, the preparation and distribution of food, and all clean up done, is voluntarily performed by sangat. Seva, selfless service, and the practice of sitting side by side with out regard to cast, color, creed, or rank, in a common dining area both serve to nourish the soul cleansing it from the effects of ego, .


    Don't forget to click on the links or double click the pictures to see the larger image and the explanation. Images 1-12 of 18

    [​IMG]
    Sikh Women Prepare Atta and Boil Dhal for Langar


    [​IMG]
    Sikh Woman Mixing Atta for Roti
    [​IMG]
    Sikh Youth Help Prepare Roti for Langa
    r[​IMG]
    Cookware in the Langar Kitchen
    [​IMG]
    Langar Preparations
    [​IMG]
    Langar Utensils
    [​IMG]
    Langar Sevada
    r[​IMG]
    Langar Sign Up
    [​IMG]
    Langar Storage Racks
    [​IMG]
    Langar Tea Seva
    [​IMG]
    Langar Sevadars
    [​IMG]
    Langar Line-up
     
  4. spnadmin

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  5. spnadmin

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    The Establishment of Langar by Mata Khivi

    Tuesday February 17, 2009
    Bhai Lehna became the disciple of Guru Nanak as a young man. He had a wife and two young children when he left the worship of goddess Durga to follow the newly founded faith of Sikhism. Khivi had become the mother of four when Nanak Dev later entrusted the care of the budding Sikh religion to her husband Lehna, who had became known as Guru Angad. Mata Khivi took charge of organizing langar, the community free kitchen. She made certain fresh food would always be available, and personally served meals to the Guru’s followers.


    In her 45th year of life, when Amar Das became the third Guru, Khivi took an active role in helping to permanently establish the Guru's free kitchen, and the tradition of langar, which today coexists with every gurdwara.


    Mata Khivi continued her langar activities with the fourth guru, Raam Das. She lived to the age of 75, continually serving the Sikh community until the reign of fifth guru, Arjan Dev. Her exemplary service set a standard which is carried on in present times by many outstanding Sikh men and women.
    [​IMG]
    Photo © [S Khalsa]
    A Devout Young Girl Serves Langar​

    Source: The Establishment of Langar by Mata Khivi
     
  6. spnadmin

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    More history from Wikipedia


    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Langar service at the Gurdwara at Forum 2004 in Spain


    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Volunteers preparing langar at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India.




    Langar (Punjabi: ਲੰਗਰ) is the term used in the Sikh religion for the free, vegetarian-only food served in a Gurudwara. At the Langar, only vegetarian food is served to ensure that all people, regardless of their dietary restrictions, can eat as equals. Langar is open to Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike.

    The exception to vegetarian langar is when Nihangs (in India) serve meat[1] on the occasion of Holla Mohalla, and call it Mahaprashad. There are also variation on the Vegetarian Langar, for example at Hazur Sahib[2][3]. Langar is also a common term used across various units in the Indian Army, when referring to a mess[citation needed], especially when there is no building and the food is served in open air (or through temporary arrangements like tents).

    History

    The Sikh Langar or free kitchen was started by the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak. It is designed to uphold the principle of equality between all people of the world regardless of religion, caste, colour, creed, age, gender or social status. In addition to the ideals of equality, the tradition of Langar expresses the ethics of sharing, community, inclusiveness and oneness of all humankind. "..the Light of God is in all hearts."[4]

    Etiquette

    The institution of Guru ka Langar has served the community in many ways. It has ensured the participation of Sikhs in a task of service for mankind, even Sikh children help in serving food to the people (Pangat). Langar also teaches the etiquette of sitting and eating in a community situation, which has played a great part in upholding the virtue of equality of all human beings and provides a welcome, secure and protected sanctuary.


    People from all classes of society are welcome at the Gurudwara. Food is normally served twice a day, on every day of the year. Recent reports say some of the largest Sikh community dining halls in Delhi prepare between 50,000 and 70,000 meals per day.[5] Each week one or more families volunteer to provide and prepare the Langar. This is very generous, as there may be several hundred people to feed, and caterers are not allowed. All the preparation, the cooking and the washing-up is also done by voluntary helpers, known as Sewadars.

    Open-air Langars

    Besides the Langars attachment to gurdwaras, there are improvised open-air Langars during festivals and gurpurbs. These langars are among the best attended community meals anywhere in the world; upwards of 125,000 people may attend a given meal during these langars. Wherever Sikhs are, they have established their Langars. In their prayers, the Sikhs seek from the Almighty the favour: “Loh langar tapde rahin—may the hot plates of the langars remain ever in service.”

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langar_(Sikhism)
     
  7. Randip Singh

    Randip Singh
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    Great posts, covering Langaar from all angles.
     
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  8. spnadmin

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    randip ji

    I hope you get to take a look at the companion threads on Gurdwara Basics and also the Grudwara Prayers.
     

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