Free Food With 60,000 Friends at the Golden Temple Free Kitchen in Amritsar

Tuk tuk ride from the Amritsar train station [√]
Long walk with heavy backpacks [√]
Free pilgrim’s lodging secured [√]

Time to feast at the Guru-Ka-Langar: aka, the free communal kitchen inside the Golden Temple!

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A Big Room of Feasting Pilgrams

Upon arriving at the front door, Carrie, Lauren, Tara and I are handed a metal plate, bowl and silverware. Then it’s inside, where we quickly sit down on a narrow sliver of track carpeting, directly across from Sikh pilgrims with big smiles.

Chapati Man at the Golden Temple Free Kitchen
Chapati Man at the Golden Temple Free Kitchen

Up and down the aisles, men in turbans carry large metal buckets and take turns dropping food into our plates from waist-level.

Splash, goes the daal, vegetable and raita: some of it onto my lap.

The rice guy bends down a bit further with his spoon to serve us, while the chappati man will only drop his starchy circles into outstretched and palm-up hands.

Fun Fact // On an average day, Guru-Ka-Langar serves 60,000 – 90,000 vegetarian meals: far more during religious holidays.

It’s an eating experience like none-other, as people get seconds and thirds before filing out of the room almost in the same order they came in. Before we know it, half of the room is empty again and we’re ready to head to the Golden Temple. But first…

Hundreds of people in the communal dining hall in Guru-Ka-Langar
Hundreds of people in the communal dining hall in Guru-Ka-Langar

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We Work Hard for de Food. Wash Hard for de Food.

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Washing dishes at the Golden Temple free kitchen in Amritsar
Washing dishes at the Golden Temple free kitchen in Amritsar

Clatter. Crash. Splash.

Rows and rows of plates at the Golden Temple Free Kitchen - Guru-Ka-Langar
Rows and rows of plates at the Golden Temple Free Kitchen – Guru-Ka-Langar

Upon exiting Guru-Ka-Langar (the Golden Temple free kitchen), we saw all of our fellow diners hard at work in front of a collection of five long sinks.

The girls joined a rainbow of moving saris while I headed over to the sea of turbans, washing and laughing alongside pilgrims from all over India and the world.

Every few minutes, someone from the washing station next to ours would toss a new pile of dishes into our sink. As there only were a handful of sponges, most of us just used our hands to get any food off.

From start to finish, each dish was washed five times, which is more than I can say for most of my dishes at home.

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Giant cauldrons are used to cook all the food served at the Golden Temple Free Kitchen in Amritsar
Giant cauldrons are used to cook all the food served at the Golden Temple Free Kitchen in Amritsar

Behind the Scenes of the Golden Temple Free Kitchen

Guru-Ka-Langar is a sprawling building with different kitchens preparing the main course, chapattis, chai and more. While I only got to see a very small part of it, Carrie actually wound up behind the scenes making chapattis and being shown around by a worker who adopted her for the morning. (not the ones in the below photo)

These Workers at the Golden Temple Free Kitchen asked me to take their photograph
These Workers at the Golden Temple Free Kitchen asked me to take their photograph

 

With the dishes done and our bellies full, all that was left to do was finally head into the Golden Temple of Amritsar!

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Or maybe you missed the story of how we found free pilgrim lodging inside the Golden Temple complex

Share the Journey

  • http://www.vickyflipfloptravels.com/ Vjphilpott

    Wow, sounds like a real experience! I hope I get to visit one day. 

    • http://www.AdventuresofaGoodMan.com Greg Goodman

      It truly was! Only thing I can say is, don’t wait… Make one day some day soon. There’s no day like today. :)

  • Pingback: Golden Temple, Golden Kitchen « simplify sustainability

    • http://www.AdventuresofaGoodMan.com Greg Goodman

      Thanks so much for your comment. It really may have been the biggest kitchen I’ve ever seen!