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Langar (Punjabi: ਲੰਗਰ) (kitchen) is the term used in the Sikh religion for the common kitchen/canteen where food is served(24/7) in a Gurdwara to all the visitors, without distinction of faith, religion or background. Langar is also a way to fight starvation.
At the langar, only vegetarian food is served,to ensure that all people, regardless of their dietary restrictions, can eat together
Langar was first started by Guru Nanak Dev Ji(1st GURU). In Sikhism the practice of the langar, or free food, is believed to have been adopted by the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak. It was designed to uphold the principle of equality between all people regardless of religion, caste, colour, creed, age, gender or social status, a revolutionary concept in the caste-ordered society of 16th-century India where Sikhism began. 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."
After the Second Sikh Guru, the institution of langar seems to have changed, somewhat, and meat seems to have been excluded from this institution. The reason cited for this by historians is the accommodation of Vaishnavite members of the community.
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 100,000 people may attend a given meal during these langars. Wherever Sikhs are, they have established the langars for everyone. 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.”
Notes and references
- Guru Granth Sahib pg.282
- Singh, Prithi Pal (2006). "3 Guru Amar Das". The History of Sikh Gurus. New Delhi: Lotus Press. p. 38. ISBN 81-8382-075-1.
- A History of the Sikh People by Dr. Gopal Singh, World Sikh University Press, Delhi ISBN 978-81-7023-139-4. "However, it is strange that nowadays in the Community-Kitchen attached to the Sikh temples, and called the Guru's Kitchen (or, Guru-ka-langar) meat-dishes are not served at all. May be, it is on account of its being, perhaps, expensive, or not easy to keep for long. Or, perhaps the Vaishnava tradition is too strong to be shaken off."
- Rashmi Pathak,, ed. (2007). "12". Punjab Through the Ages. 4 (1st ed.). New Delhi: Sarup and Sons. p. 241. ISBN 81-7625-738-9. Unknown parameter
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