Saturday, April 21, 2012

In search of Good Food-Visit to Amritsar,Part-2(Community Kitchen-Langar)

With these words, we enter the community kitchen(langar) at the Golden temple complex,Amritsar

The Lord himself is the farm Himself is the farmer Himself he grows and grinds the corn
Himself he cooks Himself he places in on a platter And Himself he eats too
Himself is the water Himself the toothpick Himself he offers a handful of water
Himself he calls the men to eat Himself he bids them off  
The Lord is merciful  He makes him walk in his will

Guru Amar Das created the community kitchen during his time as the third Sikh guru in the 16th century. Its purpose, he said, was to place all of humanity on the same plane.

As you enter the complex, you hear the clattering of the vessels is sure to catch your attention. Before you realize, you are passed on the plates and spoon for the meal.

Golden Temple’s langar(Guru ka langar) is the World’s largest free eatery.Each visitor here gets a wholesome vegetarian meal, served by volunteers 24/7
Anyone can eat for free here, and many, many people do. On a weekday, about 100,000 come. On weekends, almost twice as many people visit. 

Each visitor gets a wholesome vegetarian meal, served by volunteers.A regular meal consists of Roti(Flat Indian bread),lentils,vegetable curry and a sweet dish(generally kheer, i.e. dessert made up of milk and rice).
The meal is very simple and tasteful and why not, when hundreds of volunteers gather to prepare the food ,listening to the hyms being recited in the complex.

Tea is also served in bowls.You can sit down and thank God for the grace showered upon.The Tea has unique flavour because of the spices.
Next we visit to the kitchen , where the real action takes place. First we go to the 'roti machine'.
Here they are making Roti/Flat Indian bread from wheat flour. The flour is kneaded with water.

Then its pushed down in the machine.

The machine makes equal sized balls of these and passes them on to the next stage.

There a heavy roller, which rolls them to a flat ,round shape.

These flat round Rotis, when go into an oven, which is heats up the iron surface  on which these rotis are placed.

Straight from the oven, we get the Rotis/flat breads. They fall in as in an assembly unit.

Then a manual intervention is required, where volunteers, sort out the Rotis,remove the half baked ones and stack them together.

There is a one more kitchen in the complex, where they make these Rotis in the old fashioned way.

Some parts of the kitchen are powered in the same ways as done in olders times. they use logs/wood to fire up the stove.

The biggest pot/kadai that I have seen, is used to make the lentils. They say it can make upto to 4 quintals i.e. 400kg of Lentils in each shift and they do this 3 times a day. There is one more kitchen to assist, but not in this much quantity.

Constant churning and churning

This is how the dessert 'kheer' is made.

Also,there is a part of the kitchen, where the Utensils are washed and stacked.. All this is done by Volunteers, who perform 'Sewa' and experience the divine blessing.Its like working for lord himself.
The taste and purity of the food speaks for itself in the atmosphere.

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