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Home Art & Culture Hindu temples are giving Annadana. It cannot be seen anywhere else in the world.

Hindu temples are giving Annadana. It cannot be seen anywhere else in the world.

by admin

The greatest charity is food. Food donation has great importance in our Indian Sanatana Dharma and heritage. Lord Krishna says that wealth will not follow you on your journey after death, but the food you have donated during your life will keep you away from hunger during the journey. Several references in Hindu scriptures emphasize the provision of food to the hungry in our scriptures. Hindu temples all over the world are famous for their prasad mandirs, where food is consumed without questioning caste, creed, race, etc. They say that they have no greater duty than to feed the hungry. A good example is the Golden Temple in Amritsar, which has been doing this continuously for ages. The Golden Temple houses the world’s largest free kitchen or community kitchen also known as ‘Langar’, which serves 50,000 to 100,000 hot meals to the hungry every day. Even in the past, kings used to donate food. During the famine, kings set up shops called kanji on street corners. Temples with spacious enclosures are considered suitable places for feeding people. Even today many Hindu temples offer free food or annadana to devotees. Hindu scriptures say 10% of our earnings should be spent on alms, charity, and temples. Most temples in India serve food to lakhs of people every day and many small and medium temples serve it on special days and some at specific times. However, several temples in India offer free food to thousands of people every day, earning international recognition for their massive food production. Hindus believe that serving food to the poor is a service to God. Our temples are doing a great service which no church or mosque can do. Today, exciting churches and mosques may have started in every corner of the world, but nowhere do we find the almsgiving offered by our Hindu temples.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Hindu temples have opened their kitchens to feed the poor and hungry. Temples are not only generous with food but also with the monetary donations they give to state and PM Cares funds.

Annadaanam, offering free meals to devotees and visitors, has been a long-standing tradition in Hindu temples. Providing food to those in need is deeply rooted in Hindu philosophy, which emphasizes the importance of selfless service and charity. Historically, many Hindu temples have had facilities to provide annadaanam to pilgrims and the local community. This practice is considered a form of seva (selfless service) and is often funded through donations and contributions from devotees. The idea is to ensure that everyone, irrespective of their social or economic status, has access to a nutritious meal when they visit the temple. The practice of annadaanam aligns with the Hindu principle of “Atithi Devo Bhava,” which means “The guest is God.” It reflects the hospitality and inclusiveness that are integral to Hindu culture. Temples may have dedicated dining halls or facilities where volunteers and temple staff prepare and serve food to the visitors. The provision of free meals in temples is not limited to a specific period but has been a part of Hindu temple culture for centuries. It is seen as a way to promote community bonding, express compassion, and fulfill the needs of those who may be less fortunate.

The Venkateswara Temple in Tirumala is one of the richest and most visited temples in the world. TTD runs a massive annadaanam program where free meals are provided to thousands of pilgrims every day. The Shirdi Sai Baba Temple is famous for its charitable activities, including the distribution of free meals to devotees. The Prasadalaya (dining hall) serves meals to a large number of visitors daily. The Akshardham Temple complex in Delhi is known for its Akshayapatra program, where free meals are offered to visitors. The temple focuses on providing nutritious food to pilgrims. Located in Madurai, this temple is dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar. The temple runs an annadaanam program, serving free meals to devotees and visitors. The Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai is popular for its philanthropic activities, including the distribution of free meals to devotees.

Temples affiliated with the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) are known for their food distribution programs, often called “prasad distribution.” ISKCON temples around the world serve free, sanctified vegetarian meals to visitors and the community. The Puri Jagannath Temple is famous for the Ananda Bazaar, where a variety of vegetarian dishes are offered to devotees. The temple serves meals on a large scale during festivals and special occasions. The Mookambika Temple in Kollur is known for its prasadam distribution, where free meals are provided to devotees. The temple attracts a large number of pilgrims, especially during festivals.The Kukke Subramanya Temple is dedicated to Lord Subramanya. The temple provides free meals to devotees, and the annadaanam facility is well-organized to accommodate a large number of visitors. The Kadri Manjunatha Temple in Mangalore is one of the ancient temples in Karnataka. The temple serves free meals to devotees, and the annadaanam program is an integral part of its service to the community. Annadaanam is considered a form of selfless service (seva) and an expression of compassion. Providing food to those in need reflects the ethos of caring for others and serving the community without any expectation of personal gain. Temples see annadaanam as a means to fulfill this duty by providing sustenance to individuals, regardless of their background or social status.

In Hindu philosophy, performing charitable acts is believed to accumulate positive karma or spiritual merit (punya). By contributing to annadaanam, individuals and communities believe they are earning spiritual merit and advancing on their spiritual path. Many temples have a long-standing tradition of offering food as part of their cultural practices. This tradition has been passed down through generations and is deeply ingrained in the fabric of temple activities. During festivals and special occasions, temples often increase the scale of annadaanam to celebrate and share joy with the community.

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