Golden temple or Harmandir sahib being the holiest Sikh shrine welcomes a lot of travellers every day. Being home to the world's biggest kitchen known as Langar, it feeds anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 people depending on the day of the week. The reason behind this free community kitchen is something called ‘SEVA’ which means selfless service for others.
You would be surprised to know that this kitchen is run majorly by volunteers. Hundreds of people from the local community as well as national and international travellers come together and volunteer in different activities from washing off the vegetables, cooking, serving and cleaning utensils everyday. The efficiency with which they work will put any fortune 500 corporate to shame.
Who can volunteer ?
The magic which you feel when you witness hundreds of strangers coming together and working like clogs in a clock makes you wanna be part of this incredible service. The good news is that anyone can volunteer at golden temple, irrespective of if you are a sikh or not. The tradition of Langar recognises the human race as one so there is not discrimination whatsoever. Everyone sits on the same floor and serves food from the same kitchen, there is absolutely no VIP treatment for anyone. You can walk in and start washing the dishes and no one will bat an eye. It is however always advisable to ask for instructions or a demo on the task you are about to do from fellow volunteers. When you volunteer you will notice that most of the people there would be from different religions, backgrounds and geographical areas.
Things to keep in mind.
Anyone can volunteer at Golden temple but it is always a great idea to learn something about the traditions and rules which are to be followed in the kitchen.
- Start with something easy like washing utensils where no special expertise is required nor any tradition to be followed.
- It is always a good idea to ask for a volunteer who is already doing the task to show you how it is supposed to be done.
- Langer kitchen doesn't allow any juvenile food to be served to anyone. So make sure that when you are distributing food your hands don’t touch your face or lips.
- Working in the kitchen with the chef requires a lot of experience, and even then they may not allow you to work there. So it is advised to keep kitchen work a little further down the lane from when you first start volunteering in the Langer.
- Volunteers are served with hot beverages and eatables quite often so make sure you eat accordingly, remember you don't have to eat every time somebody offers you something, it is perfectly okay to say no if you think you are full.
- Always keep your head covered even when doing any physical work.
- You can volunteer in a lot of other places than the kitchen, the temple is huge and a lot of volunteers are required in other tasks from cleaning the outer complex to adjusting the matting that runs along the holy lake.
How can Planet Amritsar Inc. help you with volunteering.
Even though anyone can volunteer at Golden temple, it is advised to take someone as a guide when it is your first time and you are not familiar with sikhism or its traditions. But worry not, we are here to help you along the way. We can help you in the ways below.
- We can introduce you to consistent volunteers or the supervisors who can help you if you are unable to understand or complete a task.
- We can advise you on the best suitable task according to your abilities and work capacity.
- We can get you access to areas like cooking which is usually not open for fresh volunteers
- We can provide with the stories and reasons behind the traditions with which the things are done at the Langer.
- We can be your first time buddy to tag along with you until you are comfortable enough to work on your own.
- We can act as a translator if you are not familiar with Punjabi language and will have trouble understanding the instructions given to you.
In a nutshell if this is your first visit to the Golden Temple and you would like to volunteer but are not sure from where to start, we will help you get accustomed to the working of the temples and do’s and don’ts that volunteers must follow. You can contact us here.
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