Langar at Vaishno Devi! Yes, you heard it right. A community kitchen has been started by The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) for pilgrims between Katra and Adhkuwari. Langar has situated nearly 3 km from the starting point of the pilgrimage, which is the new Tarakote Route. As the local Dogra food is kept in the menu, it enables everyone across the world to have access to taste this local cuisine.
This facility was inaugurated on 9th May by a group of pilgrims from Mumbai. 280 pilgrims can be catered at one time in the bhojanalaya . The community kitchen has been equipped with utensils, modern kitchenware, and other gadgets to provide hygienic food to the pilgrims. Jagdish Mehra, Dy. CEO told ANI, “the 24×7 langar has been serving since May 9. In order to ensure a safe and clean environment, proper arrangements have been made. Also for the proper hygiene of utensils, sanitization units have been installed.”
The CEO also mentioned that those willing to donate for the ‘Langar’, could put the amount in boxes kept at the site. Donors could also donate online through various digital gateways. The details are uploaded on the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board’s (SMVDSB) website.
Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board also provides the facility of Refreshment units along the route of Vaishno Devi. Refreshments like cold-drinks tea, milk, biscuits, mineral water, coffee, etc are provided. Almost all of these units are located at selected locations. With the refreshment break, one can have a panoramic view of the valley too. Hence these are also known as View Points.
In total there are 12 such view points. 9 of these view points are located on the old track, whereas 3 are located on the alternate track to Bhawan. The larger viewpoints also serve full meals, buns, and loaves of bread also. In addition to it, several other items such as oxygen cylinders, milk for infants is also available at these viewpoints.
Do you know how this term ‘Langar’ originated? Langar is a term used in Sikhism. It is a communal free kitchen in a Gurudwara where all people eat a meal (vegetarian) as equals.