The aroma of coriander wafted along the verandah as our group headed for the kitchen of the Sikh Temple in Delhi. Ladies in salwar kameez sat cross-legged on the marble floor chatting animatedly, peeling onions, potatoes and radish with piles of fresh coriander beside them.

The ladies are volunteers who daily prepare vegetables, dhal and chapatis for pilgrims visiting the Guru – ka – Langar, the free community dining room, a feature in all Gurdwaras.

The kitchen was a hive of activity as food was prepared for hundreds of diners throughout the day. All ages were helping in the chapati assembly line. Giggling girls rolled the chapatis, transferring them to a hot plate where they were cooked and flipped. Terry, one of my guests, wearing a rather fetching orange headscarf, flipped a chapati or two, with a little help from his new friends. A lady sat at another chapati machine. As they popped out, she stacked them into a huge aluminimum pot lined with red and gold trimmed cloth.

One man was stirring a vast wok, bubbling with dhal. Once cooked it was transferred to a row of smaller cauldrons and dispensed to the dining hall.

There was a tremendous feeling of community spirit and friendliness and definitely worth visiting to learn about Sikhism.

I ate the best dahl ever, at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, prepared in the same way. If you can’t travel there, have lunch in the Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, you know it is freshly prepared!