Press Trust of India

Langars become lifeline for Amarnath pilgrims

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Jammu: The Bhagwati Nagar base camp in Jammu has become a hub of activity as the 62-day Amarnath Yatra gathers momentum. The camp is bustling with thousands of pilgrims embarking on their journey to the cave shrine in the south Kashmir Himalayas. To ensure that no devotee goes hungry, numerous langars are serving as the lifeline for the pilgrims.

With 30 langars (community kitchens) spread across Jammu, the needs of over 4,000 to 5,000 pilgrims arriving daily from various parts of the country are being met. The langars embody the spirit of generosity, offering free vegetarian meals that showcase culinary diversity from different regions.

“Various social and religious organisations have set up a number of langars in Jammu city, the highest number of them located at Bhagwati Nagar base camp. This is the service of God. We express our gratitude to them all,” Corporator Sanjay Baru told PTI.

Pilgrims from different parts of the country, including locals, have come forward to establish langars for the yatra.

“From morning till late at night, we provide simple yet satisfying dishes like dal, chawal and ambal, and other popular delicacies from Jammu to all pilgrims,” said Raj Kumar Gupta, the head of one ‘Bajrang langar’ set up at the base camp.

MP Jugal Kishore Sharma said, “Thousands of people contribute to this greatest act of humanity, providing free langars to pilgrims during the two-month-long yatra.”

Hundreds of volunteers also work tirelessly round the clock for the community kitchens to ensure that every pilgrim’s needs are satisfied.

Rahul Kumar, a volunteer who hails from Madhya Pradesh, expressed his enthusiasm for the work at the langar. “Our dedicated team has eagerly awaited the start of the Amarnath Yatra. Now, we are serving pilgrims day and night, pouring our hearts into this selfless service,” he said.

Pilgrims have also expressed their satisfaction with the food management at the langars, appreciating the wide variety of options available at the base camp.

Narinder Kumar from Pune said, “The langars here have exceeded our expectations. The diverse range of dishes from various langars truly represents the unity of our nation and we are grateful for it.”

Apart from providing nourishing meals, the base camp also offers daily musical shows and cultural performances, providing entertainment and respite for the pilgrims.

“The musical shows and mandalis held here are a wonderful way to unwind after the arduous journey. They bring joy and create a sense of community among the pilgrims,” Sushma Rathore from Jaipur said.

The Baba Amarnath Bavalpuri Seva Mandal from Punjab has been setting up langars in Jammu and Kashmir for the past 23 years. They provide morning tea, lunch, evening tea, and dinner to pilgrims at the Chandanwari base camp.

Vinod Kumar, the head of the community kitchen, said he was honoured to serve the devotees of Lord Shiva and that providing meals and beverages is the langar’s contribution to the sacred pilgrimage.

The langars also strictly adhere to the government’s ban on over 40 food items during the yatra, which was issued following directives of the shrine board.

“We diligently follow the orders of the shrine board, ensuring that no banned items are sold or prepared here,” said Rahul Kumar, the langar’s food in charge.

The 62-day annual pilgrimage to the 3,888-metre-high cave shrine in the south Kashmir Himalayas commenced from the twin tracks of Pahalgam in Anantnag district and Baltal in Ganderbal district on July 1. Over 65,000 pilgrims have paid obeisance at Amarnath, while over 36,000 pilgrims have left the Jammu base camp for the Kashmir Valley in seven batches.

Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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