The largest free kitchen on the planet

sikh

THIS place feeds up to 100,000 people daily…all for free.

Two hundred thousand rotis (Indian flat bread), 1.5 tonnes of dal (lentil soup) and free food served to 100,000 people everyday are what makes the free kitchen run at the Golden Temple in the western Indian city of Amritsar stand apart.

By all measures, the kitchen (called langar in Punjabi ) is probably the largest free kitchen to be run anywhere in the world.

The concept of langars was initiated centuries ago by Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion.

Sunday, November 17, is his 545th birth anniversary.

At the Langar, no one goes hungry – and everybody gets a hot meal regardless of caste, creed and religion.

All Sikh Gurudwaras (places of worship) have langars, but the one at Golden Temple – Sikhs’ holiest shrine – has little parallel.

“Anyone can eat for free here and on an average we serve food to 100,000 people. On weekends and special occasions double the numbers of people visit the langar. The langar never stops and on an average 7,000 kg of wheat flour, 1,200 kg of rice, 1,300 kg of lentils, 500 kg of ghee (clarified butter) is used in preparing the meal every day,” says Harpreet Singh, manager of this huge kitchen.

“The free kitchen uses firewood, LPG gas and electronic bread makers for the cooking and we use around 100 LPG cylinders and 5,000 kilograms of firewood every day,” he adds.

The kitchen is run by 450 staff, helped by hundreds of other volunteers.

Volunteers also wash the 300,000 plates, spoons and bowls used in feeding the people. The food is vegetarian and the expenses are managed through donations from all over the world.

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32 thoughts on “The largest free kitchen on the planet

  1. Here in Australia we have Centrelink which not only feeds our equivalents but also provides them means to get drugs, tatoos, alcohol, gambling pocket money, etc. Perhaps the Indians have the right idea in only providing them with food, not money.

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      • It’s like this negative, oppressive thick cloud of doom engulfs the blog whenever he has his say here. But that’s because he’s the only true Christian and the rest of us are not. His light repulses us you see—it’s in the Bible don’t ya know? 🙂

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  2. I recently encountered this beggar in Melbourne who wanted some money for food. When I offered to take her into the nearest takeaway shop and buy her whatever she wanted from the menu, she quickly turned abusive. So I tip my hat to the indians for having the foresight of only providing meals not money.

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    • Christians who understand love have an off-kilter view of the world—love your enemies, turn the other cheek, live without anger or lust, be strong in the broken places.

      The late Mike Yaconelli, an unusual Christian, said spirituality is not a formula or a test. It is a relationship.

      He said spirituality is not about competency; it is about intimacy. Spirituality is not about perfection; it is about connection.

      The way of the spiritual life begins where we are now in the mess of our lives. Accepting the reality of our broken, flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws, but because we let go of seeking perfection and, instead, seek God.

      “What landed Jesus on the cross was the preposterous idea that common, ordinary, broken, screwed-up people could be godly.’’ Yaconelli said.

      “What drove Jesus’s enemies crazy were his criticisms of the perfect religious people and his acceptance of the imperfect non-religious people. .’’

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      • What you say is incorrect. Show tell me the Bible passage that says we must provide more to others than the necessities of life. I have no problem taking the homeless person into a supermarket and buying them a bag of groceries. I do have a problem giving them money when they ask for food only to have head long to the nearest poker machine.
        Yaconnelli got it wrong. If common ordinary broken screwed up people could be godly, Jesus need never have died. What landed Jesus on the cross was the preposterous idea that common ordinary broken screwed up people could become godly. See the difference?
        Jaconnelli got it wrong on the second count when he said that his criticism of the perfect religious people and his acceptance of the imperfect non religiou people.
        In fact there were no atheists in Jesus time. Secondly, the only imperfect “non-religious people” that He accepted were those who obeyed the command “go and sin no more”. If Jesus was here today He would rebuke the likes of Yaconelly on the grounds that He never gave people licences to continue persisting in their sins. If you remember your Bible history, Jesus often said to people “go and sin no more”. In one case He said to one “go and sin no more lest something worse come upon thee”.

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      • Again, I’ll as the question of you davinci. What church or group are you aligned to that encourages you to proclaim this sort of nonsense?

        At least have the good manners to reply.

        Also you seemed to have forgotten:
        Matthew 22:36-40
        New International Version (NIV)
        36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
        37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

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      • um…. Does that (““What drove Jesus’s enemies crazy were his criticisms of the perfect religious people and his acceptance of the imperfect non-religious people. .’’)
        ….mean I’m running a serious risk of being crucified?? 😯

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    • Surely God’s desire is for us to show our love for Him in our love for others? Surely to give to those in need must come from a loving heart? Without that true generosity of spirit, how on earth can others get a glimpse of Christ through us? They cannot!

      I wouldn’t want my hard earned giving to be used to feed the beggar’s addictions, but realistically I know that there is a probability that it will be when money is what the beggar wants and not food. But ultimately, shouldn’t my giving be about responding to the need at hand, to give out of a merry heart for the correct reasons? Surely God tells us to give to the needy; not just those needy ones whom we consider to be worthy? We are not to judge these people. Instead we are to give from a generous, loving heart and in so doing we introduce them to Christ who dwells within us.

      This I know, that God is a gracious and compassionate God. There is nothing that we can do or say that will make God love us any more or less than He does at this very moment, and when we treat others as we would like to be treated, when we give from no other motive than the love in our hearts with no strings attached, well then this is what pleases our God.

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      • Monica writes:
         This I know, that God is a gracious and compassionate God. There is nothing that we can do or say that will make God love us any more or less than He does at this very moment, and when we treat others as we would like to be treated, when we give from no other motive than the love in our hearts with no strings attached, well then this is what pleases our God.

        Now let us see what the scripture says:

        Isa 55:2 Wherefore do ye spend money for [that which is] not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye [that which is] good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

        Hmm! Are tobacco, drugs and alcohol things that are not bread?
        Hmm! Is gambling something that people labour “for that which satisfieth not?”

        Ask yourself what God would say to today’s Christians that encourage drugs alcohol and gambling in view of the above verse.

        Now let’s look at 1 Cor 3:9 which says that “we are labourers together with God”.

        If God had a whinge at people labouring for that which satisfies not, or spending money on that which is not bread; how does He regard His alleged servants who work at cross purposes with Him, then implicate Him in their deeds?

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      • How should a Christian respond to beggars?

        There are many opinions on the question of how to respond to beggars and panhandlers, which admittedly is a difficult one. Some people feel comfortable handing out money, believing it is then up to the beggar to determine how to use it, whether to buy food or alcohol/drugs. Others give food/water instead of money, understanding that some beggars would not use the money for the uses the giver intended. What is the right thing to do? Biblically speaking, we are to help the poor. But, does our responsibility end with the giving, or should we give and make sure our gifts are used for the right purposes?

        Rather than giving money or food/water, some prefer to offer transportation to a local shelter and/or provide financial support directly to the shelter. By supporting rescue missions financially, we help the poor who would otherwise be begging on the street. If the local church has a food bank, contributing to it and then directing the beggar there for help may be the best way to address the need without enabling the sin. Church food banks also provide an excellent opportunity to share the gospel with the homeless and needy.

        Other ways to help include giving food or gift cards to local restaurants, handing out energy bars or other non-perishables to the people on the street corners, or if the situation allows, taking the needy person(s) to a restaurant/grocery store and buying him/her a meal. God wants us to help the poor and blesses us when we do. In the words of the psalmist David, we are told, “Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the LORD delivers him in times of trouble. The LORD will protect him and preserve his life; he will bless him in the land and not surrender him to the desire of his foes” (Psalm 41:1-2). It is indeed a worthy cause to help the poor, including the sign-holders on our street corners. Each of us must respond to these people as the Lord guides, not forgetting at the same time to offer prayers for these needy people.

        Got Questions Org

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      • Give to Street People? Freely
        Gary Hoag, the Generosity Monk

        Jesus ministered to social outcasts and the undeserving on numerous occasions, so why don’t we? Three possible hang-ups to serving street people have troubled Christians through the centuries.

        First, we judge them.

        We judge whether or not they are worthy of assistance and what they will do with our aid. Consider this illustration, from C. S. Lewis:

        One day, Lewis and a friend were walking down the road and came upon a street person who reached out to them for help. While his friend kept walking, Lewis stopped and proceeded to empty his wallet. When they resumed their journey, his friend asked, “What are you doing giving him your money like that? Don’t you know he’s just going to go squander all that on ale?” Lewis paused and replied, “That’s all I was going to do with it.”

        Why stop judging those in need? John the Almsgiver (A.D. 550-616) offers an answer. When a person who was not really in need applied for alms and was detected by those administering care, John merely said, “Give unto him; he may be our Lord in disguise.”

        Second, we hesitate to give freely to those who ask because we fear it may leave us as givers without resources.

        I believe many followers of Jesus lack faith to believe that if we empty ourselves of the resources God has provided us, he will fill our cups again.

        Paul reminds us, “Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (2 Cor. 9:10-11).

        To be generous “on every occasion” requires faith to believe that God will, indeed, care for our needs if we show his love by caring for others. As Brennan Manning says, “God’s call for each of us to live a life of unlimited generosity is rooted in his limitless love and care for us.”

        Finally, I believe we fail to give freely to all who ask because we value our possessions more than people.

        We cherish stuff more than souls. In The Shepherd of Hermas, an early church writing, we are urged, “Instead of fields, buy souls that are in trouble according to your ability.”

        What if we adopted this perspective when it came to our asset portfolios? How many street people could we bless in the name of Jesus if we all gave freely? As Jesus sent the first disciples, I believe he is sending us: “Freely you have received; freely give” (Matt. 10:8b).

        May God help us stop judging people; freely give to others, trusting him to provide the resources for our generosity; and stop treasuring stuff over people. In so doing, this postmodern world will see Jesus in our generosity, and we may “rebuild the church” as Francis of Assisi did in his day.

        Christianity Today

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      • Give to Street People? Only as a Last Resort
        Andy Bales, the chief executive of Union Rescue Mission

        Scripture clearly tells us to keep an open hand to our brothers and sisters in need: “You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land” (Deut. 15:11, ESV).

        However, experience has taught me that almost all of the folks standing on corners, sitting at the exits and entrances of freeway ramps, panhandling in public, or even coming to churches to connect with the person in charge of benevolence are not truly homeless or impoverished.

        My dad, Carl Bales, helped develop a news exposé in Des Moines, Iowa, that showed that many panhandlers were making as much as $300 per day. The story also tracked the panhandlers as they spent the money on alcohol and drugs.

        I know by name more than 400 people experiencing homelessness in Pasadena, and more than 1,000 people by name on the streets of Skid Row, and I have never seen one of these truly homeless people panhandling on a street corner.
        I do know folks who panhandle all day, earn about $300, then walk to their car and drive to an apartment or home.

        As the manager of several church benevolent funds over the years, I realized that no matter how many safeguards I put up to make sure the funds were dispensed to people truly in need, I could have spent $1 million and not made a dent in the need.

        People experiencing homelessness and poverty need a caring community. The scriptural basis for this is the story in Acts of Peter and John healing the lame man. The men respond to the beggar’s request for funds not by giving him money but by giving him a better gift: the gift of healing.

        People need permanent help in becoming strong. They need a connection with Jesus Christ and a faith community.

        Giving cash to someone in need is the least helpful and most temporary solution, and should only be a last resort. When someone approaches me and asks for funds to get a place to stay, I connect them with resources, often hand them my card, and ask them to come to our mission. I also work to get them enrolled in a program that will provide not only a roof over their head but also, possibly, a life-transforming experience.

        At rare times, giving funds may be the only option. When an elderly lady on the streets of Shanghai approached me for help, I was unaware of services available, and also aware that there is no Social Security for elderly Chinese without family. I gave her all of the cash I had with me.

        Now I’ve been asked to come back and help Shanghai establish a rescue mission, and I’d say that will be real help.

        Christianity Today

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      • Give to Street People? Don’t
        Ron Sider, president of Evangelicals for Social Action

        Everyone asking for a handout is an immeasurably precious person made in the image of God whom I am called to love. But a quick donation is, at best, cheap love.

        One reason we should not give handouts is that some people are begging for money to support irresponsible behavior. Some want money for alcohol or drugs.

        Some beg because they are lazy. I have heard some amazingly convincing stories—and on occasion been taken in. It is extremely difficult to quickly distinguish such persons from those in real need.

        Love is acting in the best interests of others. Providing money so someone can continue immoral, destructive behavior is simply not a loving act.

        A small, quick handout lets us off the hook from a more thoughtful response to the person’s need. Even the lazy or addicted person is made in God’s image and needs comprehensive assistance from a loving Christian community. That demands time and financial resources.

        We need to change our affluent lifestyles in order to give more generously to effective, holistic programs. Some are desperately poor because of unjust structures that we need to challenge and correct. A handout lets me feel morally righteous while obscuring my obligation to work for sweeping reflection and change.

        Some give because they remember that hundreds of Bible verses talk about God’s special concern for the poor. That is true and important, but the fact that God demands that his people side with the poor does not free us to give irresponsibly.

        Some people toss a little money to a street person to assuage guilty feelings about their affluence in the midst of poverty. The guilt is often warranted. Many rich Christians spend vast sums on themselves even in the midst of desperate poverty. Instead of tossing a few coins to a beggar to assuage their conscience, these people should resolve to live far more simply, give to effective programs that empower poor people, and explore honestly poverty’s structural causes.

        So what should we do? We must give in ways that truly liberate, empower, and transform.

        Rather than hand someone money, we can offer to buy the person a meal and then sit down and listen to the person’s story. People almost always need love even more than money.

        We should be part of Christian congregations that love the whole person the way Jesus did and operate holistic community centers that combine evangelism and a full range of social programs. Then we can direct or take the person to these centers to get groceries if necessary and—more importantly—to find help for deeper socioeconomic problems. There, staff can gently, appropriately share the love of Christ and invite the person to come to church, where Christians throw their arms around hurting persons as God transforms them for a lifetime.

        Christianity Today

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      • That’s all well and good advice, but not every Christian is involved in church life, or has the time to spend actually helping the beggars with their special needs, so for the average Jo walking our city streets, when a beggar comes up to us and asks for money, do we give them a self-righteous lecture on how they should get their lives right, and a sandwich, or do we give the cash they ask for?

        We do not have to give. That’s the beauty of free will. And God has given each a brain and the ablity to reason and discern any given situation and make a judment call. Sometimes I say no! And sometimes I give generously. But ultimately my giving is between me and God as is yours davinci. So stop judging other Christians!

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      • And yes davinci,

        I too “wonder how God regards His alleged servants who work at cross purposes with Him and then implicate Him in their deeds.” Like those self-appointed modern day ‘Inquisitors’, somwhat like yourself for instance, who deliberately misuse God’s Word to throw excrement on their fellow Christians for the sole purpose of denouncing them as disciples of Jesus.

        You have totally misused Isaiah 5:2 against me. Was that pleasurable for you? 😉

        God is not whinging at the people for not making wise choices at all. He is not condemning them—YOU ARE!

        It is a beautiful show of God’s love and His invitation to taste of His goodness instead. “All are welcome to the blessings of salvation and in Christ there is enough for all.”

        Isaiah 5:1-3
        Invitation to the LORD’s Salvation

        1“Is anyone thirsty?
        Come and drink—
        even if you have no money!
        Come, take your choice of wine or milk—
        it’s all free!
        2Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength?
        Why pay for food that does you no good?
        Listen to me, and you will eat what is good.
        You will enjoy the finest food.
        3“Come to me with your ears wide open.
        Listen, and you will find life.
        I will make an everlasting covenant with you.
        I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.

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      • er, Monica…..(“Scripture clearly tells us to keep an open hand to our brothers and sisters in need: “You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land” (Deut. 15:11, ESV).”)

        ..with currencies as degraded as they all are these days you’d need a bloody BIG hand.
        ….that’s why they use ‘collection plates’ ~ and in some optimistic congregations plastic buckets. 🙂

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    • You have a good argument, Davinci. But there are deeper levels. That beggar didn’t want money for food, but for something else, maybe an addiction, maybe not. Maybe her real want was not for money at all, but something missing from her life, and she may even been unaware what. She needed compassion, too, which I hope you gave her.

      Giving money to beggars is like offering a band aid to someone needing proper medical treatment. A bandaid can be of temporary assistance, and the Salvation Army thankfully hands out lots of these. But in the long run we need to find means to address causes, even if just writing to politicians to encourage research.

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      • As I said before, I have no problem taking the person asking for food to the nearest food store and actually buying something for them. But have a look at what I have been attacked for. I have been attacked for not allowing my resources to be used irresponsibly.

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      • The problem is that if we depended on politicians to solve problems nothing would be done. People need a response now and where I live and work is a low socio economic area. Many times I am the first on the scene to respond to a request for help, before even the salvos get there. But the problem is many of these so called needy people are either not genuine or want something totally different. We have asylum seekers who throw away food parcels, because “Halal Certification” is doubtful. We have others who throw away food parcels because the food parcels doesn’t reflect the type of food in their culture. And then we have those who want money for food but when one offers them to buy the food for them they then turn abusive. And then there are the atheists who give nothing at all but rather condemn and abuse me for trying to show Christ by giving. To some people showing Christ by giving is equivalent to ramming religion down someone’s throat.

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      • What nonsense are you alleging I am preaching Bryan? Does your Bible contain the phrase “go and sin no more” or doesn’t it?
        As for your enquiry about my denominational afilliation; have you not read the scriptures which say:

        “…12Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” 13Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” 1 Cor. 1:12-13.

        There is a reason why I stick by the scriptures. Christianity should be defined by what the word of God teaches not what this church leader or that pope or that psycho analyst says. Or even what Davinci says. Scripture is everything – Davinci is nothing. And you haven’t rightly divided the word of truth.

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      • I have never come across a beggar (on our streets) asking for food davinci. They always ask for money.

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  3. Davinci says “And then there are the atheists who give nothing at all but rather condemn and abuse me for trying to show Christ by giving. To some people showing Christ by giving is equivalent to ramming religion down someone’s throat.”

    Giving is in truth showing Christ, but if it is done for that reason and not from compassion, it will probably be accompanied by a sermon, which is equivalent to ramming religion down someone’s throat.

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