With the summer vacations bringing in extra rush to the Golden Temple, consumption in the round-the-clock langar (community kitchen) has doubled as compared to the average.
“We have seen wheat consumption cross 135 quintals one of these days. It had not crossed 125 quintals on a particular day before,” said Avtar Singh, secretary to the president of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which manages Sikh shrines.
“It’s been over 400 years that this langar tradition is on. This being among the world’s biggest community kitchens, we now have plans to expand it,” he added. More halls are under construction, and there is also a project for solar-powered, steam-based cooking. At present the halls can accommodate 8,500 people at a time — though they are not filled to capacity — which will go up to 11,500.
According to SGPC data, in May the cost to the committee was Rs 2.3 crore, which went up to Rs 2.6 crore in June; but the larger portion is borne by donations, which have not yet been taken into account.
DATA SPEAKS: AVERAGE DAILY
Pilgrims partaking of langar: 2 lakh, up from 70,000
LPG cylinders: 150, up from 100
Wheat: 120 quintals, up from 60
Rice: 2,500 kg, op from 1,200 kg
Lentils (dal): 2,500 kg, up from 1,300
Tea leaves/powder: 100 kg, up from 60 kg
HOW DO THEY MANAGE?
“Management and functioning are never a problem here. There are more than 500 employees besides volunteers who assist with peeling garlic or rolling chapatis,” said kitchen manager at Guru Ram Das Langar Hall Raghbir Singh. “Nowadays there is an addition, of a group that applies desi ghee on every chapati being served.”
WHAT”S THE PROCESS?
For operational efficiency, 6,000 people are adjusted at a time, and after each 30 minutes a new lot is brought in. In every langar, it is mandatory to serve lentils along with one vegetable dish and a sweet dish. Everything is cooked in desi ghee. Devotees send truckloads of goods, thus there is no shortage.