What is Sikhism?
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded in India over 500 years ago by Guru Nanak. He preached that people of all religions follow the same God and a message of love, equality, and understanding. He criticized the teachings of Hindusim and Islam. Guru Nanak passed on his leadership to nine successive Gurus. Today, Sikhism has over 20 million followers worldwide who practice their religion in homes or Gurudwaras, one of which we visited in Delhi.
Visiting Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Sikh Temple
The Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Sikh temple is one of the most renowned religious sites in Delhi, and for good reason. It hosts a community kitchen run by Sikhs and volunteers to feed between 25,000 and 30,000 people daily — of all races and religions. Anyone can volunteer–no questions asked. Even as some of the few Caucasian people, we were welcomed warmly. The only requirements: to be barefoot and wear a head covering, which are available to those who are without one.
The community kitchen
Upon entering the building I was shocked to view how many people were being fed. However, the temple was eerily peaceful given the thousands of people eating and waiting. We explored to the depths of the kitchen to see the processes of how the food is made. With an assembly line system, the food is made at rapid speed and in massive quantities.
We even got the chance to help prepare the food! There was no volunteer orientation or hygiene training. We simply plopped down wherever we saw an empty spot and jumped right in.
Volunteering at the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Sikh temple
If you visit Delhi, the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Sikh temple is not to be missed. It is open 24/7, while food is served tentatively between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM, and again between 7:00 PM and 10:00 PM. Only vegetarian food is served.
If you have a few hours, consider volunteering at this Sikh temple’s community kitchen. Don’t worry if you don’t speak the language. People will eagerly show you what to do.
Because volunteering is a universal language that we could all use a little practice speaking.