King Charles Sits on Floor at Gurdwara in England, Lauds ‘Langar’, Sikh Community Service for Covid

Britain’s King Charles III hailed the pop-up Covid-19 vaccine clinic and the langar services by the Sikh community during his visit to a gurdwara during his first tour as monarch of the eastern England region of Bedfordshire.

The 74-year-old covered his head with a kerchief, offered his prayers and sat on the floor with Sikh devotees in the prayer hall, according to pictures released following his visit. He inaugurated the Guru Nanak Gurdwara (GNG) Luton and spoke to the local volunteers about its langar service, associated soup kitchen for the needy and Covid vaccine clinics during the pandemic.

The Luton Sikh Soup Kitchen Stand provides vegetarian hot meals seven days a week, throughout the year. “During the pandemic, the Gurdwara also ran a pop-up Covid vaccine clinic, which was one of the first of its kind in the UK. The Gurdwara encouraged other places of worship to tackle misinformation regarding vaccine hesitancy,” the Twitter handle of the British royal family said in a Tweet along with videos and pictures of the visit.

Charles, who is now the reigning monarch of the UK following the death of his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, was greeted by Professor Gurch Randhawa, member of the Sikh Congregation and Deputy Lieutenant and Director of the Institute for Health Research at the University of Bedfordshire. The King also interacted with children who are learning Punjabi and traditional music. He also met local doctors who ran the Vaisakhi Vaccine Clinic during the pandemic and volunteers who operate the 24-hour kitchen and feed members of the local community.

Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Susan Lousada, and the mayor of Luton, Councillor Sameera Saleem also attended the event.

According to a statement issued by the Guru Nanak Gurdwara Luton ahead of the event, building work for the new gurdwara commenced in 2020 and is described as an impressive 37 by 32 metres wide, three storeys high construction, built with the support of local donations.

The gurdwara langar serves around 500 meals a day and the local community also runs the Luton Sikh Soup Kitchen every Sunday outside the Town Hall, serving around 150 meals.

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