As the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak also known as Gurupurab kick-starts in Sultanpur Lodhi, a large group of women gather in the small city in the Kapurthala district of Punjab to serve in different Langars (community kitchens). These women have come from various states including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Uttarakhand to prepare meals for the lakhs of devotees coming to the town to pay their respect.

“Being from the surrounding area, it is our duty to host the pilgrims in a better way. Secondly, it’s a lifetime opportunity,” says Sandeep Kaur, a resident of Sherpur Sadda village of Kapurthala district, HT quotes her saying. She serves in the ‘Bebe Nanaki Langar’ and comes with 10 other women to serve in the community kitchen where they come around 10 in the morning and work till evening.

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Another woman, Gurmeet Kaur, who came with a group of 10 women from Bilaspur in UP on November 1, says, “We all belong to Bilaspur. It’s all about devotion to Guru Nanak.”

Baba Nidhan Singh ‘Hazur Sahib Wale’ is running the largest Langar in the town and has over 500 women offering sewa there.

Over 70 langars have propped up in the city to feed the streaming devotees and for the women who serve in these langars, the organisers have arranged for free transportation service so women don’t have to fret over how to go to and fro from their village to the langar area. Other than the overflowing langars spread across Sultanpur Lodhi, another highlight is the elaborate platters being served in these langars.

Women have been trained in using large machines set up in these langars for cutting and chopping vegetables as other women bake chapatis. “The big kitchens are serving over a hundred items through the day. The langars begin by serving breakfast and devotees get to relish pakoras, tea and a wide range of desserts. There is a langar every few steps and there is no dearth of good food for devotees coming to Sultanpur Lodhi. It is a city that has several places associated with the first Guru,” local Congress councillor Tejwant Singh said, TOI reported.

The 75-year-old Veer Kaur has come along with five other women from Uttarkhand to offer sewa in these langars. She says, “It was like dream come true to attend the celebrations and contribute to the same by performing sewa.”

“Being from the surrounding area, it is our duty to host the pilgrims in a better way. Secondly, it’s a lifetime opportunity,”

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Baba Nidhan Singh ‘Hazur Sahib Wale’ is running the largest Langar in the town and has over 500 women offering sewa there.

Punjab’s tourism and culture ministry has also deployed 1500 buses to provide free bus service to the devotees visiting the holy town from November 5-12. Thousands of devotees are coming to Sultanpur Lodhi every day to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Ber Sahib and other Sikh temples. It is a big occasion for the Sikh community as Guru Nanak Dev spent the first 14 years of his life in Sultanpur Lodhi. Punjab CM Amarinder Singh also visited the town recently to personally supervise all the arrangements made to accommodate the expansive in-flow of devotees coming from not just other parts of the country, but the whole world.

Picture credit: Indian Express

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