The word Gurdwara is the compilation of the words Guru – for Guru Granth Sahib – and Duwara – Gate – and means "The Gate to the Guru". A Gurdwara is a place of prayer for the Sikhs. Next to having a praying service this is also a place, where everyday warm food is being prepared. This concept of a free kitchen was introduced by the first Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, and is called Langar. This is also another function of a Gurdwara, in which people are encouraged to do volunteer work. These services are not rewarded with a material gain, they are called Sewa. The meaning of Sewa is to tame your ego and transform it into a sense of humility.
Sewa and Langar
Sewa and langar teach us compassion towards other people. Ever since Guru Nanak Dev Ji introduced langar into Sikhi, it has been handed out in every Gurdwara and every place it was needed. All the visitors of a Gurdwara sit on the ground and enjoy a warm meal together, which is prepared and served by volunteers. Guru Nanak Dev ji thought his followers, that a meal is a fundamental human-right and nobody should be robbed of this right. That is why, langar is free of cost and made available for everybody.
The word sewa is a short-form of the word "Karsewa" and means selfless service. This service or work is volunteer work and is also carried out as such, without any reward or personal gain. Somebody doing sewa is called a "Sewadar". Every Sikh is encouraged by the Guru to perform sewa. Not only should sewa serve as a moral uplifting, but also strengthen community relations. Sikhs are therefore obliged to practice sewa in the community by doing volunteer work in retirement homes, hospitals and other community places. Sikhism rests on sewa, since every job in the Sikh community is volunteer work.
Gurdwara in Austria
Gurdwara Nanaksar, Klagenfurt
Tessendorfer Str. 106, 9020 Klagenfurt am Wörthersee
Gurdwara Sri Guru Granth Sahib Niwas
Wiener Str. 313, 4030 Linz
Gurudwara Shri Guru Angad Dev Sahib Ji (Sikh Temple)
Gnigler Str. 30, 5020 Salzburg
Gurudwara Gur-Parkash Sahib Ji
Raiffeisenweg 3, 8101 Gratkorn
Gurdwara Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Wien
Langobardenstraße 47-49, 1220 Wien
Gurudwara Singh Sabha, Wien
Albrechtsbergergasse 3, 1120 Wien
Gurdwara Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib Ji, Wien
Perfektastraße 81, 1230 Wien