Visiting the Gurdwara

Removing Shoes

Immediately upon entering the Gurdwara, visitors are asked to remove their shoes in the coat room. Socks are traditionally removed, but can be worn for warmth. Those involved in meal preparation often have flip-flops to wear in the kitchen. 

Head Coverings

All visitors to the Gurdwara wear a head covering out of respect for the Guru Granth Sahib (holy text). Many Sikh men wear turbans in daily life; others tie a square kerchief over their heads while inside the Gurdwara. Similarly, while some women wear turbans in daily life, most cover their heads with scarves while inside the Gurdwara. 

Hand Washing

After removing their shoes and covering their heads, visitors wash their hands in a sink placed near the entrance for this purpose before entering the Divan hall (where the Guru Granth Sahib is located and prayer takes place) or sitting down to eat. 

Tea and Socializing in the Langar Hall

In many religions, worship follows a strict linear structure in which the congregation enters together and stays for the duration of the service. Because devotional activity at the Gurdwara does not follow this same structure, the Langar hall outside the Dival hall is full of activity throughout the service. After removing their shoes and washing their hands, most people serve themselves tea and snacks and sit on the rows of carpets to have tea and visit. When they finish their tea, some move on to worship, cook, or attend Punjabi classes. Others stop in to the library, where there are frequently meetings, or linger in the Langar hall to visit.