If you think that eating at the restaurants and street food is getting boring, you can try one more category. Quite a lot of religious places offer some really good food, almost always free ! Although it’s not meant as a place for eating out, it’s still a good experience to soak in the peaceful vibes of the place while enjoying a meal prepared with complete selflessness and devotion. It’s one of a kind experience to see so many people from all sections of society, even different religions working together just for the joy of giving. There are no restrictions or discrimination based upon race, religion, economic status etc, at least we haven’t seen any.
What’s more, you can also contribute in your own way. These places accept help from volunteers in form of labour, raw materials and money. So, in case you feel guilty about “misusing the service” or if you just want to help, you do have plenty of options.
One of the most accessible places for such work is a Sikh Temple or Gurudwara and there are plenty in Delhi. Some of the famous ones are Bangla Sahib and Shishganj Sahib Gurudwara near Connaught Place and in Chandani Chowk respectively. Food is always vegetarian except a few rare exceptions in order to serve everyone regardless of his/her dietary preference.
Another such place is International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) Temple in East Kailash Colony. Their free food service is based upon the dictum issued by the founder Prabhupada: “No one within ten miles radius of an Iskcon temple should go hungry.” The same organisation also runs Akshaya Patra Foundation which provides free food to lakhs of poor children all over India. Food here too is vegetarian but has an amazing amount of variety. Ever heard of Papite ka Halwa, Seb ki Sabzi ( papaya pudding, apple curry ) ? If it’s your lucky day, you may have the chance to taste some exotic but really delicious food.
Another religious place serving some really good food is Akshardham Mandir. Although it’s not free, quality of food exceeds the cost by a long margin. The temple itself is one of the star attractions of the city and considered by many to be one of the best modern temples anywhere. You can spend the whole day observing what the place has to offer without completing all of it. Apart from the temple complex which is full of very beautiful and highly detailed paintings and sculptures, visitors can learn about history and philosophy of the mission as well as India from museum and multi-media shows. Needless to say that your trip to Delhi is incomplete without visiting Akshardham.