The Golden Temple located in Amritsar India is opened to all who are hungry and people are served here free of charges. The Sikh gurus ensure that the place is always opened to all and it had been recorded that up to 100,000 meals get served here every year, making this place the largest free kitchen the world had ever seen. There is no day of the year that the place is not opened for free meals. They do not place any restriction on people as practically everyone is welcome to take a meal here. The foods served here never finish and no one is ever turned down or sent back. The gold and marble Golden Temple itself tends to promote appetite.
At the Golden Temple, there is no hidden fee of any kind; no one ever pays the tiniest rupee to get fed here. This place is always filled to capacity, especially on holy days when the number of people here sometimes number up to 150,000. In comparison with the TajMahal, which is the most popular tourist attraction in India, the Golden Temple record more crowd on such holy days.
One thing still in force in India is the idea of class system, where a particular group of people is considered higher than others and the Sikh gurus are making effort to challenge that by making sure everyone coming for meals at the temple share from the same pot of food and also eat in the same room with both the high class and the low class sitting side by side with their legs crossed. As far as the Sikh gurus are concerned, everyone is equal. Sikh Coalition in the US’s senior religion fellow, Samran Jeet Singh stated that “Sikh gurus worked very intentionally to challenge social distinctions in various forms”.
In an attempt to curb social discrimination, the Sikh gurus asked all males coming to the Golden Temple to put on turbans, which is traditionally an attire identified with only the high class in the Indian society and this had helped to remove the idea of social inequality at the temple.
Photo Credit: Hán Zhang and Jenna Belhumeur