The institution of the Sikh langar, or open community kitchen evolved with the preaching of the first Sikh Guru Guru Nanak Dev Ji. It was conceptualized to uphold the principle of equality between the masses regardless of religion, caste, creed, age, gender or social status. Introduced in India during the time when caste discrimination was much prevalent, langar emerged as a revolutionary concept.
In addition to the embodiment of equality, the tradition of langar represents the values of sharing, community and oneness of all humankind. People would sit on the floor together, to eat the same simple food served with devotion and love.
Langars aren't just attached to gurdwaras, but are conducted outside it's precinct as and when required. During festivals and Gurpurbs it becomes a ubiquitous phenomenon.
Wherever there are Sikhs, they carry out their Langar service.
The major festival of the community is Guru Nanak Jayanti. He was the first of the ten gurus who established the canons of Sikh religion. Last year's Gurupurab was a historical event as it marked Nanak dev ji's 550 th birth centenary.
Being the seat to major gurudwara, Delhi too was the center of such grand gaiety and euphoria. We visited the four major gurudwaras in the capital to cover the festive activities and experience the exuberance surrounding the event. All the four gurudwaras were brimming with ecstatic followers including kids, youth and elderly. They were paying their reverence, listening to holy chants and songs, smiling, chatting, serving and eating langar etc. It was truly an electrifying atmosphere where everyone seemed happy and overwhelmed. The warm and generous vibes all around filled our hearts with a surreal feel.
The activities that we witnessed during these celebrations included nagar kirtan, akhand path, candle lighting, devotional singing, langar seva, traditional martial arts showcasing etc. Our prime focus was to cover the langar. We witnessed the grand scale at which it was being carried out in the gurudwaras and beyond. Families, organizations or collectives had set up stalls on the pavements near these gurudwaras to serve langar on their own terms. These ones too were thronged by visitors and devotees. Come let's take you through the divine experience.