The Sultan’s Langar


Sultan Ahmed Shah was a pious and generous ruler who founded Ahmedabad in 1411 as the capital city of Gujarat. He introduced the idea of a langar or community kitchen as he decreed that no on in his city should ever go to sleep hungry.

The man in the pictures  is Yasinbhai Sheikh serving a free dinner nightly next to the Friday Mosque. The men in his family have done this each night for 600 years. People from all walks of life and religions  visit the langar in Manek Chowk to taste the khichdi (porridge) which is said to have healing powers. Today, there is a line item in the budget of Ahmedabad to fund the langar just as mandated by the Sultan.

“The sultan gave orders to open a community kitchen wherein only vegetarian food was prepared and served free to the poor. He had made arrangements to keep  a separate fund for the food at the langarkhana. To date, the langarkhana has never turned down any poor who visits its door. No matter what the situation, it is always open,” said Yasinbhai.

The khichdi made here is known in the community to have healing powers. One son came daily to get some  for his mother who was quite ill.  He was very happy to see marked improvement in her condition after eating the porridge for a week.  An older beggar women said that there are many places in the city where food is served for the poor, but thinks nothing compares to the khichdi served by Yasinbhai because it is  both nutritious and non-spicy.  

Here is a short You Tube video showing the poor of Ahmedabad lining up for the nightly serving. 

Much of the criticism of India  in the world is the numbers of poor people who are there.  There are 1.2 billion people living in this country with the population equal to  the population of North America, Central America, and South America together!  OK, none of those countries can claim no poverty, quite the contrary in some of those places.  Yes, maybe there is a need to have family planning, but that is another topic. India is trying to feel the poor. The Jain temple near our hostel served free meals in the afternoons to all who come. This langar is in operation daily as well as others sponsored by temples,  mosques and the government. Indians  do care for  the least  among them. Remember my post on the Sihks at the Golden Temple where the poor can bathe, sleep and eat 24 hours a day? They feel up to 100,000 people purely with volunteers and donations.

Ahmedabad  is still blessed and blessing others because of the generous, just spirit of  her founder Sultan Ahmed  Shah and his legacy that lives on after 600 years.

Namaste. . . . .  T I I I

About annetbell

I am a retired elementary teacher, well seasoned world traveler,new blogger, grandmother, and a new enthusiastic discoverer of the wonderfully complex country of India. Anne
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11 Responses to The Sultan’s Langar

  1. Awesome Anne.
    Also thanks for bringing the bright sideofthe country. I am tired of India being portrayed as a snake charmer country, poor country, slum country, crime and corruption country by the Oscar winning documentary directors and writers.
    You are awesome and inspiring 🙂


    • annetbell says:

      Thank you Sonal, I am just trying to tell what I experienced in India. It is a wonderful place and the people are what makes it so wonderful. Thanks for your encouragement! Indians could teach the rest of the world patience. I am amazed with the adaptability of the country. With the history, it is pretty amazing how much progress has been made in the last 60 years. I think with the work ethic and determination, India will be a world leader and very soon!
      Namaste. . . .Anne


  2. Namaste Anneji,
    I am overwhelmed after reading your post…..Thank you so much for such a wonderful write-up. It needs a truly good heart to see the good things which you have….Thanks again…….
    best wishes and regards,


    • annetbell says:

      Oh Manisha, thank you so much. Nothing makes me happier than hearing positive comments from Indian people!
      Please keep reading and let me know what you think! Namaste. . . .Anne


  3. Alcor says:

    I’d say if tourists eat more at temples and langars in India instead of running after butter chicken in shady places, they won’t complain of Delhi Belly that often! 😀
    On a more serious note, love your posts. You write about different aspects of India, not just camel rides and crazy autorickshaw drivers.


    • annetbell says:

      LOL…love your sense of humor. I guess it is because we have traveled quite a bit and shy away from touristy places that we really enjoy what the native people enjoy and is what we seek out. Though we did ride on an elephant and visited the Taj! So glad you are enjoying my posts. I adore incredible India! Namaste. . . .Anne


  4. Thank you so much for this wonderful post. I have stayed in Ahmedabad for 4 years, and seen people lining up in front of eateries near Lal Darwaja, but your post was truly a revelation. I love the old city though I stay in the new part of the town and don’t ever miss a chance to visit it for food or for photography!


    • annetbell says:

      I am sure you have to be Manek Chowk for the late dinner? I wrote a post on it and there is an awesome YouTube video. Check it out! Are you a student? My husband is a professor and with us were 11 architecture students who along with my husband were at CEPT for three months, then we traveled for one month. Such a wonderful time was had by all!
      Get this book 101 Ways to Experience Ahmedabad and there are lots of great things to do and see. Thanks so much for the lovely reply! Namaste….Anne It was fun I Ming Rad Ar, too! Anne


      • Wow…I must thank Rad Ar for introducing to me to you and your blog…. I have done my Masters in Environmental Planning from CEPT. Hope you liked it at CEPT. I have been to Manek Chowk will go through your post on that. And thanks for the book advice I am really interested in travel writing! Look forward to more posts on India from you. Do check out my blog..Namaste!


      • annetbell says:

        I loved your blog…. you have so many gifts to share with the world. Are you working in Ahmedabad now? I think it is a great city. We all loved CEPT..and ate in the canteen so cheaply . Also loved the cafe at the Goo Fa…sp…Loved Ahmedabad! Namaste. . .Anne


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