The Kitchen that Serves 40k People a Day… For Free?!


via Wikipedia Commons

A depiction of Sai Baba, who the temple was built in honor of

Many today believe that India is a very backward and poverty-stricken country, but in reality, that could be further from the truth. Meet the Shri Saibaba Temple (Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust of Shirdi) in Shirdi, India. The temple is host to a mega kitchen, which can cook enough food to accommodate the 40000 seats in the temple. Food is served from 10 am to 10 pm, each day of every week, of every year, and they regularly get tens of thousands of customers. And the craziest part? It’s all free!

But why would they do all this for no profit? It all started with the birth of a young boy nicknamed Sai Baba. While his real name, birthday, and parents are debated by many, he became an essential part of both Hindu and Muslim culture. He advocated praying and reading religious texts, condemned caste systems, and (most importantly) had a belief that every person on Earth deserved food, water, and shelter. He gained a lot of devotees through his ways, and in 2008 a temple was built after him, 90 years after he had died. In honor of his beliefs, a mega kitchen was created so that every man and woman had the right to eat food and drink water.

To have the capability to serve sufficient amounts of food for the thousands that come in, hundreds of gigantic pots and burners are used for cooking. This requires a lot of energy, obviously, but first, check out these numbers. Amazingly, a kitchen of this size is still able to run quite smoothly, under the direction of Sanjay Kumbar, the head supervisor of the kitchen. 

In total, some 600 people work in two separate shifts, each with different jobs. Some make the bread; some peel the vegetables, some clean the silverware, etc. And, as can be imagined, the kitchen requires tons of food. According to an estimate by CNN, they use 6600 pounds of bread, 4000 pounds of rice and other vegetables, just over 2000 pounds of lentils, and 1000 pounds of dessert every day!  

As stated previously, it requires large amounts of energy to keep both the temple and the kitchen afloat, which is why the temple is completely engulfed in solar panels. The entire roof area is covered with dozens of solar panels, making it the second-largest solar project in all of India. Not only is this temple serving free food to the hungry, but it is also efficient energy-wise and helpful to the planet. If only more people had enough compassion to do what Sanjay Kumbar did, our world would be a better place.