There are many memorable aspects of a Sikh Gurdwara program, but most first-time visitors are surprised and delighted by the wonderful food that is freely served to the congregation at the conclusion of every gurdwara program. This serving of food is a long-standing tradition called, Guru ka Langar the Guru’s Kitchen and originated with the first Sikh guru, Guru Nanak around 1521. Perhaps it began when, as a boy, young Nanak would feed groups of traveling mystics as they traveled through the area around his home.
Established at a time in India when separation by caste was of the highest importance, the act of sitting together Pangat in the Guru ka Langar was a revolutionary idea. “That is the maryaadaa discipline of langar – that even a king and a beggar can sit together, serve and eat the same food, in the same way” .
This tradition of offering free food to anyone is grounded in the altruism and egalitarianism at the heart of Sikh beliefs.