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The Shri Sai Baba temple in Shirdi, Maharashtra, India, has one of the most massive kitchens in all of Asia. It cooks as many as 40,000 meals per day, every day, all year long—and for free.
The Hindu temple has been fully functional since 2008 thanks to 600 people working the two daily shifts in the kitchen who all believe in spiritual master Sai Baba’s philosophy.
“Baba always said that each and every person should get food to eat and water to drink,” says Sanjay Laxman Kumbar, the temple’s dining hall and kitchen supervisor.
India is home to the largest undernourished population in the world. Of the over 1.33 billion people in India, 194.4 million are undernourished, according to the 2019 food security and nutrition report. The Shri Sai Baba temple’s mega kitchen alone can’t feed all the hungry in the country, but it’s certainly a significant effort that likely helps temper those numbers. Whereas most restaurants serve several hundreds of dishes daily to 45-60 people at a time, the Shri Sai Baba temple is often feeding a crowd of 3,500.
The gigantic soup kitchen serves a different meal every day, but it always consists of a portion of green vegetables, a portion of beans of some sort, lentils, bread and rice. These dish components seem simple enough, but the amount of food the kitchen requires in order to feed the masses is no joke. For 40,000 people, the kitchen needs to produce 3.3 tons of bread, 2 tons of vegetables, about a ton of lentils, and half a ton of dessert.
Making that much food requires a lot of manpower—and electricity. The temple is also the second-largest solar project in Asia, with solar panels covering just about every corner of the roof.
Shirdi, Maharashtra, IndiaFull Map
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