What is Langar?

What is Langar – Why Gurdwaras serve Free Food

What is Langar

“Guru ka Langar” or simply Langar is the community kitchen in a Gurdwara where free meals are served to all the visitants, without distinction of caste, gender, religion, economic status or ethnicity. The visitors are usually seated on the floor by crossing their legs and are served the dishes, plates and everything else. The meal is always vegetarian. It is served regularly at all gurdwaras, some of them even serve it daily. It comes from a very old concept that is of prime importance in Sikh history. To this day the legacy continues around the world. You can also watch this video on the True meaning of Langar.

What is langar, making food
Making Langar at Gurdwara (source:flickr)

History of Langar

The first seed of the legacy of Langar came from The founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev Ji who founded the concept by his selfless deed of serving food to the needy sadhus. Guru’s father had told him to go do a good business deal by buying goods from a nearby town and selling them here to earn profits. The Guru was given 20 Rupees and told to go make a profit. Guru saw the sadhus and served them food with this money.

What is Langar, Entry at Langar House in Golden Temple
Langar House, Golden (source:wikepedia)

To Guru Nanak Dev Ji, this was truly the biggest profit he could ever come. This is the “Sacha Sauda” that Guru Nanak Dev Ji made which translates into “True Business”. It was indeed one of the biggest profits ever made as thousands of crores of rupees are donated for serving humanity, the profits of which cannot be estimated. Later, Guru Angad Dev Ji, the second Guru of Sikhs set rules, and third Guru of Sikhs, Guru Amar Das Ji established the practice. Guru Amar Das Ji established a rule that whoever comes to his place will first eat-in Langar. He thereby removed discrimination in terms of caste, gender, religion, economic status and encouraged selfless service to humanity. Read the story of Sacha Sauda here. Also, check out this video to know more about the teachings and life of Guru Nanak Dev Ji by Basics of Sikhi.

Rules of Langar

  1. Simple Vegetarian meals are to be served.
  2. Food to be distributed without any discrimination to the Sangat.
  3. Prepared by volunteers who recite Gurbani
  4. While preparing food for Langar, the nose and mouth must be covered by a piece of cloth called ‘parna’.
  5. The head should be covered with cloth or turban while having Langar.
  6. Anyone Sikh/Non-Sikh is allowed to serve the meal to Sangat
  7. Utmost importance is given to hygiene and cleanliness
  8. Meal should be Served after Ardas

Also Read – Oneness – Guru Nanak’s Greatest Message

Where to have Langar

You can have a Langar at any of the gurudwara near you. Almost all Gurdwaras serve Langar on specific days. There are usually Langar’s in gurdwaras on Sundays. You can check this list of Gurdwaras in major Indian cities.

Also Read – Sikh Musical Instruments of Punjab | Traditional Kirtan Instruments of Sikh Heritage

The experience of having Langar

Sitting with Sangat and eating is a magnificent experience. I had Langar day before yesterday at Gurudwara Guru Nanak Darbar, Airoli, Navi Mumbai. With the sewadars ready to serve the Sangat and the Sangat chanting “Satnam Waheguru”, truly makes you appreciate and thank god for the good food we are lucky to get and eat. You will enjoy the food, it is homely and will take you directly to the loving food of Punjab. No matter where you have this expereince of eating a meal with sangat in gurdwara, the food itself is magical and makes you appreciate the life you’ve been blessed to live.

langar meal
Simple meal at Langar (source:flickr)

So when are you visiting a Gurudwara for a peaceful time with god and loving people? Soon I suppose.

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