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BHANDARA from bhandar (Skt. bhandara = bhanda, vessel, implement, + agara, house, meaning storehouse, depository, treasure house) has been used in this literal sense in Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Book of the Sikhs. In extended connotation the term stands for a feast given especially for yogis and sannyasins, or to invoke divine favour for a private or public cause. Bhandara in current usage means any feast under religious auspices by individuals or institutions open to laymen as well as to devotees. In this sense it would be like guru ka langar, a typically Sikh institution, except that the latter is not aimed at any specific object, nor is it restricted in duration.

As an adjunct of the gurdwara the langar is always open for pilgrims, wayfarers and the needy. Periodically on festive occasions sadhus ofUdasi, Nirmala and other denominations hold their ritual bhandaras at famous places of pilgrimage with great fanfare. Bhandaras fall into two varieties pakka and kachcha. The former comprises rich viands with most of the eatables fried in ghee while the latter offers a simpler fare, closer to the workaday repast. M.G.S.

More in this category: « BHANGARNATH, BHAGAUTI »


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