Design,  Exterior,  Interior

Gurudwara Kitchen renovation: The Before-After Story

Kitchen Renovation- The Faith & Belief

They say Kitchen is the heart of the home but what do you call a kitchen which is at a place where God resides & serves to hundreds of people!! Isn’t it the most pious place around!! I just can’t thank my stars enough that the task of renovating the Langar Kitchen of Gangtok Gurudwara fell into my laps.

We recently completed the renovation project with an incredible teamwork & was applauded by one & all. So here I am all excited to unfold the story behind the scenes, what all went into it & the challenges we faced through the work.

The Story ………

Sometimes the best results come from working within the boundaries of what is existing & easily available & even better results come when you are empowered by the trust & freedom to execute your creativity. This is exactly what I experienced in this project. The only requirement given was to renovate the existing area to its functional best design with least expenditure & easily available resources. 

Exterior view of Gurudwara Sahib
All set for inauguration on 18 Nov’18

🙏 Let’s begin ……

We were handed over an open verandah with a temporary low roof along with two stores & an open space below the verandah. The requirement given, as I mentioned above, was to convert the area into a functional kitchen with least possible breakage & budget!! Although this space was being used as a kitchen on Langar days, it lacked the required hygiene & functionality.  Frankly speaking, at the first meeting I was not sure how I will go ahead with the spatial arrangement of the areabut could sketch out a rough plan of the cycle of activities that should be followed.

I began with a simple concept of keeping functionality & hygiene as the baseline & hence worked out a flow chart of placement of activities.

To begin with I sorted out the areas & divided them as –

Storage ▶️ Cutting-Chopping ▶️ Cooking ▶️Chapati making ▶️Serving  ▶️ Washing


▶️ Low budget ▶️ Existing poor quality temporary construction ▶️ Rainy weather ▶️ Unavailability of updated construction material

The site being on a hillside & Gangtok experiencing rain for almost 10 months of the year, it was a daunting task. Another constraint was the budget & the main source was the donation by the devotees. Though the situation was fluid, the faith & belief in the task which had a pious backdrop to it, overtook our commercial minds & I along with the team & project incharge started the job.

The beginning ……..

The Roof……

The major task that cropped up first of all was the existing roof height. In order to incorporate burners with chimney & false ceiling, we decided to raise the roof hence extend the existing columns by 1’ 6”.

The roof construction under process

Space Management ……

Parallel to the roof construction,  we went ahead discussing the inflow of people & divide the whole area into semi-public & public activities. Hence the partition between the cooking area & the serving area was envisioned. In a Gurudwara though the major cooking is done by the langar cooks employed for the task, general public & devotees offer their service by helping in serving. Thus, it was essential to mark the area where the public can enter to maintain the hygiene of the cooking space.

From this column, the partition was envisioned in the open verandah
The partition now divides the area into public & semi public

The entrance end of the area had an existing window between the verandah & the langar hall which we decided to convert into an openable Serving window by adding a serving counter to it. The serving counter now holds all the cooked meal which can be easily served by the servers & devotees who want to serve.

The existing window between verandah & langar hall
The refurbished window now with sliding shutter & Serving Counter

The Wash area

Another most important area was the Utensil Washing area. Earlier there existed a small Wash area alongside the Verandah which was being used both by the in house servers & the public for washing utensils. This area is now given a makeover & is exclusively  kept as a pantry wash area for the cooks. The main wash area for the public is shifted in the open area below the verandah which also has a direct access from the second langar hall below.

The old Wash Area
The open area below
The open area which had an existing Handwash counter
The new Wash area with the Hand wash counter clad in theme colour tiles 

Material & Palette

When it came to choosing the right material within the constrained budget, the best choice was anti-skid vitrified tiles for floor & glossy tiles for the backsplash. The immediate choice available in the vicinity was Johnson’s range of floor & wall tiles & I must mention they have given the desired uplift.

The palette was a unanimous choice – White. To give it a bold contrast pop of chocolate brown & glimpse of beige were added through the selection of wall tiles.

False ceiling with concealed lights in a simple geometric pattern was laid out. Further, the bare walls were adorned with pictures of the ten Sikh Gurus & the most sacred shrine of the Sikhs – the Golden  Temple.

Latest equipment including the Chapati maker, burners & utensil wash & storage racks were customised & factory made to order from Siliguri.

From before to after, the kitchen stands in stark contrast to the area it used to be & that’s without adding any frills, just relying on the bare minimum to knit it into a functional best space

Myself along with the team of Contractor & the Project Incharge had the most memorable experience.  In today’s hurried lifestyle what could be better when visiting the holy place became a ritual of my work routine & I encountered  unmatched power & faith on the site.

Here, I sign off with more stories of my everyday experiences to follow but this one is etched forever in my heart. I maybe sounding too emotional but let me be honest,  in this project I’ve gone through the most satisfying feeling which I’ve ever undergone after completion of a task.

Good luck! Stay bright & beautiful!

All the images are clicked @Design.Decor.Travel.

More Before After Pics



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