SULTANPUR LODHI (PUNJAB): Devotees who have come from far and near to participate in the celebrations to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak get to relish delicacies which are not just the traditional dal and roti but also a wide range of other cuisines. Pizzas, burgers, noodles, samosas, you name it and it is there in almost all of the 66 langars (community kitchens) which are set up in and around the town of Sultanpur Lodhi.
The footfall of the devotees is expected to reach up to 60 lakh in the coming days.
The district administration has allocated 66 sites to set up langars. These sites are huge in space (2 to 8 acres) and their allocation is done keeping in mind the security of people to avoid any kind of rush or waiting for the pilgrims. More than 20000 people can have food in one go. The state government has declared this town as the first 'single-use plastic-free' town of Punjab. The organizers have been requested to use only biodegradable plates and glasses for serving food in the langar.
Since October 13, Baba Nidhan Singh who has come along with 1,000 trained sewadars from Hazoor Sahib, Nanded in Maharashtra says, "Earlier we were serving tea, pakora, jalebi, dal and roti. But for the past few days, we have introduced burgers, pizzas, sandwiches and noodles too. We can serve langar up to one lakh devotees and cook around 200 pizzas in just five to ten minutes. We changed the menu as per the demand of the pilgrims as nowadays they like to have junk food. We have served this on three earlier occasions in Kota and Fatehgarh Sahib."
Baba Nihal Singh who generally serves makki di roti, lassi and sweets in his langars says, "This time as the crowds are in lakhs so besides serving makki di roti, we will also serve dal and roti with various vegetables and channa-puri. In sweets, we will have balushai, barfi, jalebis and of course lassi.’’
Also, Baba Ghola Singh from Sirhali in Tarn Taran who is represented by Avtar Singh says, "We will serve langar up to November 15 as we have hundreds of sewadars and can serve langar to lakhs of pilgrims per day as we have sufficient arrangements.’’
All these babas along with their sewadars have come to this small town with their huge utensils, ovens and started the langar sewa which are going around the clock. They complain of defunct toilets which are put up by the authorities.
Deputy Commissioner of Kapurthala, DPS Kharbanda said that the security of the people has been given top priority as small fire control units are established at all langar sites. Apart from this, special walls are set up to store the LPG cylinders in bulk. Vehicles carrying raw material to cook food are issued special passes to enter langar sites.