All Around Britain: Learning about Langar and a lesson in Bhangra

This week on All Around Britain Alex Beresford and Ria Hebden explore a very special building at the heart of a Kent community.

Hosting up to four thousand people, the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara in Gravesend is one of the largest Sikh temples in Europe.

It took 8 years to build at a cost of 18 million, paid for by by local fundraising.

  • What is Langar?

Langar is a tradition at the centre of the Sikh faith.

Every Gurdwara is equipped with a community kitchen which is run entirely by volunteers.

Food is prepared from 4am every day, 365 days a year, for anyone and everyone who visits the Gurdwara - regardless of their background, faith, beliefs or status.

Nin Vraitch helps in the kitchen at least twice a week. She says it’s “benevolence” and an “act of kindness” and that selfless service, known as seva, is “something that’s woven into the DNA of a Sikh”.

To make sure the food gets to those who need it most, many volunteers now also take their work out on the streets, making Langar a community service as well as a religious practice.

The Gravesend Gurdwara delivers food to the homeless every week and during the coronavirus pandemic the number of meals delivered to the vulnerable exceeded 150 thousand - with 64 thousand in the first lockdown alone.

Also on this week’s episode, Alex and Ria meet up with the group Four by Four to be given a special lesson in Bhangra dancing.

Bhangra is a traditional folk dance which was originally used to celebrate during the time of harvest in the Punjab.

It is danced to the dhol - a double sided drum - and the practice is hugely popular at wedding celebrations.

All Around Britain also showcases the best ‘feel good’ stories from the ITV regional newsrooms. This week the show meets the photographer capturing stunning photos of a rare species and tells the story of the teenager with cancer who has recorded a song with singing sensation Ella Henderson.

Watch All Around Britain on ITV on Sunday at 11:55 - Or catch up on ITV Hub.