The Temple Kitchen Of Lord Jagannatha

The temple kitchen of Lord Jagannatha is situated in the east south corner of Meghnad Pracheri. In old days, this kitchen was situated on the back side of Satyanarayana temple. At that time, the quantity was small. The present kitchen is built during the period of Sri Dibyasimha Deba(1682–1713). A roof from temple kitchen to Bhogo mandapa was built during the time of King Harekrushna Deba(1720–25). There are 750 numbers of stoves in the kitchen. The kitchen is divided in to three types:

  1. kitchen for Kotha Bhoga(Government Bhoga) 
  2. Kitchen for common bhoga 
  3. Kitchen specially meant for cakes

The kitchens are of special types. They are placed in 6 to 7 feet high from ground level. It would be intresting to note here that the process of cooking as done in the kitchen has some pecularities. In the same oven nine earthen pots are placed and cooking is done simulataneously. According to tantric texts the number nine and multiplication of nine constitute the glorious features of Mahaprasada. The Vaishnavagni formula is applied and nine earthen pots are placed on the fire. The diagram of Vaishnavagni chakra or formula is given below.

The cooking is started just after the Vaishnavagni Homa(fire sacrifice).

The six deities shown above are the Avarana(encloser) deities of Agni. The oven is lighted according to Vaishnavagni rites. Here Laxmi is imagined as Ritumati and narayana is imagined as having united with her. By this the fire is generated and with this fire cooking is performed.

As per the nine divisions of diagram, nine erathen pots are placed on an oven having nine mouths. When all the procedures are completedthe cooked rice and other things are taken to deities to be offered as bhogas. This bhoga is then offered to Bimala. Then only it is called as Mahaprasada.

This system is tantric in nature and is unique in character. Here the three Brahmas namely, Anna Brahma, Daru Brahma and Nama Brahma united. Near about 500 people work daily in the temple kitchen. They engage 1500 people as helpers. 56 types of Bhogas are prepared in the kitchen to offer to deities. The types are as follows:

  1. Rice preparations — 9 types 
  2. Sweets — 11 types 
  3. Cakes — 13 types 
  4. Milk preparations — 9 types 
  5. Curry — 14 types

So there are total 56 types. Rice preparations:

  1. Sadha anna — Simple rice
  2. Ghee anna — rice mixed with ghee
  3. Kanika — Rice, ghee and sugar
  4. Khechedi -rice mixed with lantils
  5. Dahi pakhala-Curd rice and water
  6. Mitha pakhala-Rice sugar and water
  7. Ada pakhala — Rice ginger and water
  8. Arua pakhala- rice, ghee, lemon and salt
  9. Thali khechedi- Lentil, rice sugar and ghee
  10. Sweets(usually shaped in small balls and deep fried):
  11. Khaja — made of wheat
  12. Gaja — made of wheat and sugar
  13. Ladu — made of wheat, sugar and ghee
  14. Magaja ladu
  15. Jira ladu
  16. Jagannath ballava — made of wheat, sugar and ghee
  17. Khuruma — made of wheat, ghee and salt
  18. Mathupuli — made of ghee, ginger and a kind of beans ground in a thick paste
  19. Kakara — made of ghee, wheat and molasses
  20. Marichi ladu — made of wheat and sugar
  21. Luni khuruma — made of wheat, ghee and salt
  22. Cakes, pancakes and patties:
  23. Suara pitha — made of wheat and ghee
  24. Chadei lada — made of wheat, ghee and sugar
  25. Jhilli — rice, flour, ghee and sugar
  26. Kanti — rice, flour and ghee
  27. Amalu — wheat, ghee and sugar
  28. Puri — wheat and ghee and deeply fried like a small thin pancake
  29. Luchi — rice, flour and ghee
  30. Bara — made from ghee and gram beans
  31. Dahi bara — gram, ghee and curd
  32. Arisa — a flat cake made of rice, flour and ghee
  33. Tripuri — another flat cake made of rice, flour and ghee
  34. Rosapaik — cake made from wheat and ghee
  35. One more not remember right now.
  36. Milk preparations:
  37. Khiri — rice, milk and sugar
  38. Papudi — prepared from cream of milk
  39. Khua — prepared out of pure milk, slowly boiled over many hours to a soft custard
  40. Rasabali — milk, sugar and flour
  41. Tadia — cheese, sugar and ghee
  42. Chena khai — fresh cheese, milk and sugar
  43. Papudi khaja — cream of milk, sugar and ghee
  44. Khua manda — milk, wheat and ghee
  45. Sarapuli — pure milk boiled slowly for hours and spread in to a large pizza
  46. Curries with and without vegetables:
  47. Dali (sweet dali)
  48. Biri dali
  49. Urada dali
  50. Muga dali
  51. Dalama
  52. Mahura
  53. Besara
  54. Saga
  55. Potala rasa
  56. Goti baigana
  57. Khata
  58. Raita
  59. Pita
  60. Baigani

The preaparation of bhoga(pakas) are of four kinds.

  1. bhima paka
  2. Nandi paka
  3. Sauri paka
  4. Gouri paka

The prasada offered in kothabhog are distributed among sevayats (as khei) for their respective functions in the temple.

Prasada offered in bhogomandapa is available to pilgrims and local public.

Cooks collect the materials for bhoga from Mahalaxmi Bhandara (a store inside the temple) by paying the requisite costs. Water is collected from a well inside the temple especially designed for this purpose.

Different kinds of earthen pots are used for cooking are as follows:

  1. Bhata kudia
  2. Dali kudia
  3. Numbari kudia
  4. Badamatha kudia
  5. Sanamatha kudia
  6. Adhaseria handi
  7. Dasia handi
  8. Samadhi handi
  9. Bai handi.

The prasada is prepared in small earthen pots and the are kept in big earthen pots which are called as Bai handi.

Mahaprasada prepared inside the temple is too much hygenic. They are free from oils and spices. They are mostly prepared from the vegetables which are produced locally. Potato, tomato and cabbages are not allowed in temple.

Mahaprasada is prepared by undergoing three processes:

  1. Everyday before mahaprasada is cooked, fire sacrifice is performed in the kitchen to purify the place.
  2. It is believed that Mahalaxmi preapred the food for Lord Jagannatha in the kitchen. After the dishes cooked and prepared inside the kitchen, they are brought before the deities by the suaras and mahasuaras. While carrying the bhoga, the closely wrap their mouth so that no spit or saliva or even the direct breath can contaminate the dishes. They almost move in a line from the kitchen to the sanctum,the bhoga is placed at the Pokharia in-front of deities within the three rectangles drawn with colored powders called as Muruja. A small portion of the bhoga placed at pokharia in earthen pots is taken in a metallic plate and placed on the Ratnavedi along with the required upachara (16 upachara in sakala dhoopa, madhyana dhoopa and sandhya dhoopa) offered to deities. It is in fact the actually bhoga offered to deities as Naivedya where the rest is considered to be symbolically sanctified.
  3. After puja, the prasad of the metallic plate is again taken to the sanctum of Goddess Bimala and is offered to her. Only after this it is termed as Mahaprasada. Hence, Mahaprasada is prepared in Jajna Agni jantra (three rectangles drawn in muruja). It is purified in Nrasimha mantra and offered to Jagannath and then reoffered to Bimala, then after it is called Mahaprasada.
  4. As per the custom, people of different caste high or low including the lowest ones can take Mahaprasada with the higher ones.

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