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As we had a free day with no pre-booked tours, our driver, Mr Singh, invited us to visit his Sikh Temple and Kitchen. Here is some information taken from an interesting pamphlet titled “What is Sikhism"
Sangat and Pangat
The two important features of a Gurdwara are Sangat - congregations and Pangat - Community Kitchen also known as Guru-Ka-Langar.
This community kitchen is meant for providing food to all devotees, pilgrims and visitors. It is a symbol of equality, fraternity and brotherhood. It is there that the high and the low, the rich and the poor, the learned and the ignorant, the kings and paupers, all share the same food sitting together in one row.
This kitchen is run by the common contributions of the Sikhs. The institution of Langar (Common Kitchen) is instrumental in creating social equality among the whole mankind.
The Sikh Temple is called Gurdwara. In every Gurdwara the Sikh Holy scripture is installed in the main hall, which is used for prayer and daily service. Every person irrespective of caste, creed, culture or nationality can visit it. Before entering the Gurdwara one must take off his shoes and cover his head. On entering the main hall every one approaches the Holy Book and bows before it in reverence and takes his place.
Any Sikh male or female may conduct the prayer or perform the services. Services begin with the singing of hymns with the musical instruments. On special occasions, singing is intercepted with lectures, poems or other compositions highlighting events from Sikh history.
The services are concluded with Arda s — the prayer, which invokes God’s blessings in granting peace, prosperity and protection to all mankind.
A Sikh has a distinctive personality. This distinction is represented by five symbols, popularly known as the give K's
Kesha - Long and unshorn hair
Kangha - A comb
Kara - A steel bracelet
Kachha - A pair of shorts (underware)
Kirpan - A sword
A Sikh without these symbols is a nonentity
Those who cut their hair are considered as 'Apostates"
© Photographs by Steve & Jill Moorey