This is the largest free
kitchen in the world. Open 24 hours year-round, this food hall feeds 100,000
people for free each day. And on religious holidays,
that number can double. Just one of these huge bowls is enough to feed
around 10,000 people. We visited Amritsar
in India to find out everything that goes into
feeding such a large crowd and to see just what it takes
to make such big batches. This is Harmandir Sahib, often referred to as the Golden Temple. It's the largest Sikh shrine in the world. But despite being part of the holy site, this kitchen doesn't discriminate. The food is completely free to anyone regardless of religion,
gender, or ethnicity. Narrator: Community kitchens, or langar, have been popular across South Asia since the birth of Sikhism.
And the langar at the Golden Temple has been serving meals since 1577. Each dish is cooked in giant metal vats. Over 100 gas cylinders
and huge piles of wood are burned through every day
to keep things running 24/7. And there's only one
short 30-minute break in the cooking, from 4:30 to 5 a.m. Thousands of vegetables have
to be peeled and prepared by volunteers before
they're taken to be cooked. And while the menu can vary
depending on availability or the donated vegetables
that the kitchen may receive, it is always vegetarian. But keeping this many people fed takes a lot of ingredients. Narrator: If you've never heard
the term "quintal" before, it's 100 kilograms. So that's a total of 2,000 kilos, or 2 tonnes, of dal per day.
Narrator: That's over 375 kilos of onions and 100 kilos of spices every 24 hours, just for the dal. To make it, chana dal, or split chickpeas, and urad dal, or black
lentils, are mixed together and repeatedly washed. They're then moved into even larger vats and mixed with the onions, spices, salt, and ghee, a clarified butter, and cooked together. The kitchen spends over
$5,000 a day on ghee alone. And it's not just the dal. Each day, the kitchen offers the lentils, a vegetable dish, bread, kheer, rice, pickle, water, and tea. Kheer is a sweet pudding
made of rice, milk, sugar, and almonds boiled together. But one of the biggest demands
on the kitchen is bread. Unlike the huge vats
that can be made in bulk, each chapati needs to be rolled out separately before cooking. Once rolled, each one
is hand coated in ghee to add flavor and keep
it from drying out. To keep up with
demand, the work is split between machines and
people cooking by hand.
Producing the bread alone
takes 10 tonnes of flour a day. [machines buzzing] Narrator: And to keep this
operation running smoothly, it takes a lot of volunteers. Narrator: This selfless service is an important part of Sikhism. Sewadars, or religious volunteers, are key to keeping this
operation running daily. From peeling and chopping vegetables and even donating food to serving and cleaning, almost everything is volunteer run. Narrator: Using metal trays
keeps waste to a minimum, but it makes a lot of noise. [metal plates clanging] The scale of the kitchen has
been constantly expanding to accommodate more and
more visitors each year. 20 years ago, the kitchen would use 3,500 kilos of flour per day. But now that number has tripled. It now costs over $4 million a year to keep the kitchen running. But with a constant stream
of donations and support, the langar has kept up with demand no matter the number of visitors.
If you liked "Big
Batches," please subscribe. It's the best way to let us know that you want more of the series. And if you want more from me, please check out
my show, "Regional Eats." We have five machines here, The number of devotees may increase
further in the coming years. Sachkhand Sri Harmandir Sahib, Sri Durbar Sahib,
Sri Amritsar in Punjab receives one-and-a-half to two lakh devotees daily, and almost all of the devotees enjoy
the langar at Sri Guru Ramdas Langar. We have about 400 employees
working in the Langar Hall, and thousands of devotees
also offer their services here.
There is no limit to the number of pilgrims, Each and every devotee
always gets to eat the langar, be it in day or at night..