Mahaprasad in Jagannath Puri: Biggest Kitchen of World!

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Last Updated on June 1, 2021 by asoulwindow

Mahaprasad in Jagannath Puri Odisha

This blog is the most comprehensive information you will ever find on the Mahaprasad served in Sri Jagannath Temple of Puri and Anant Basuveda Temple in Bhubaneshwar, both located in the state of Odisha in East India. Mahaprasad is the holy temple food cooked in traditional way and sold in Anand bazaar, the world’s largest open air food court. Here is everything you need to know about the ancient tradition of Mahaprasad. Jai Jagannath!

Use of ancient indigenous ingredients in Mahaprasad

Did you know?

Potato is not Indian!

Red Chilli is not Indian!

Tomatoes are not Indian!

Tamarind (Imli) is not Indian!

Custard Apple (Sharifa) is not Indian!

Even Kidney Beans (Rajma) are not Indian!

Processed Sugar crystals (as we know it) is not Indian!

Then what did Indians eat before British, Portuguese, French and Muslims invaded India?

Authentic Indian Food has been corrupted, thanks to the centuries of loot and plunder by the above-mentioned external forces. The brilliant adaptability of Indians makes it hard to separate authentic cuisine from influenced cuisine. How many of you know that the samosa jalebi snacks you can’t live without is Un-Indian as well!

So, are most Indians eating fusion cuisine? Well, yes! But not in Odisha. In the thousands of years old ancient temples of India, life is still lived the traditional way, visible through the storms of dhoti and kurta (authentic dress) flitting in and out of sacred spaces.

Where can I eat authentic Indian Food?

Welcome to the holy temples of Odisha! The priests of Odia temples are not just mantra chanting, saints on a pedestal. They double up as agile climbers (on temples shikhara), event managers (Ratha Yatra) and even don the chef cap on a daily basis. Jagannath Mandir Prasad is an experience in itself!

My Introduction to Mahaprasadam

After gulping down 2 glasses of the most unusual Lassi (Indian Yoghurt shake) at Aviram Misttan Bhandara near Lingraj temple in Bhubaneshwara, I headed to temple trails in Bhubaneshwar. I had not done any research except which places to see in Odisha, earlier called Orissa. Just as I was admiring the architecture of 13th century Anant Basudeva Temple, also spelt as Anant Basudeba Temple, located near a serene lake, an unusual flurry of activity caught my attention. It was akin to the familiar organised chaos I grew up around in India and yet different. This chaos had a divine fragrance and a monotone to it.  

Rath Yatra at Sri jagannath Temple. Pic by Suman Shekhar Hansraj

Ambiance of temple kitchen of Odisha

Young priests, clad uniformly in stark white dhoti-kurtas, some only dhotis, were running around carrying big and small slings of earthen pots, brimming with cooked food I had tried hard to identify and failed anyways. They entered and exited the temple several times, making sure that each and every pot of food is blessed by the Gods.

“The food smells and looks so good! Wish I could eat these!”, I told myself and started exploring the temple, having scant idea that this is the Mahaprasad Odisha is so famous for. After some exploration, I heard commotion in an adjoining walled enclosure. I rushed in and saw scores of people filling their faces with assorted exotic looking dishes on a banana leaf, salt and chillies on the side! There were rows of 30-35 open-air stalls at the Anand Bazaar (The market of joy!), divided by a cemented fence, where priests sold their holy food at subsidized rates. This is also a way to generate money for the priests and rightly so!

My experience of Mahaprasadam

It was lunch time and I just found out that the temple food was for sale at just Rs. 20 a cup or earthen pot. I quickly bought 5-6 different varieties of earthen pots, overflowing with food, The food, made in authentic style, was so delicious and anything like I had eaten before!

The food was simply out of this world! I was heartened to see that there were still so many takers of the old school traditional way of cooking. There was no place to sit, the food was flying off the stalls and it was a weekday afternoon, not a weekend.

Made with no tomatoes, onion, garlic, potatoes, each and every bite tasted of India before Mughals and Europeans. So, this is what uninvaded Indians ate? India never fails to amaze me, whether ancient or modern!

Prasad – The Hindu Temple Food

I have always been a big fan of the varied temple food of Hindu destinations, whether it was the big laddu I had in Nathdwara in Rajasthan, Motichoor laddu at Hanuman Setu in Lucknow, assorted dishes at Iskcon temple everywhere, delicious coconut jaggery stuffed Modaks in Maharashtra or the austere Moong Daal prasad I had in Sri Sri Auniati Satra in the Majuli river Island of Assam. Some of these Prasad (Holy Temple Food) can only be found in these temples.

I have fond childhood memories of waiting for a Satyanarayan Katha at home or neighbour so I can stuff my mouth and hands with divine Panchamrit (5 immortal nectars also called as Charnamrit) and Panjiri, even as the holy fragrant smoke from the Yajna purified the house. We wated as it was served only during family poojas and havans.

Anand Bazaar: Biggest Food Court of The World

I saw similar al fresco food market called Anand Bazaar or the ‘Happiness Mart’ in the campus of Sri Jagannath Temple in the nearby Puri in Odisha. I had never seen a food court as big as this in my entire life. The Anand Bazaar of the Sri Jagannath Mandir in Puri, Odisha is indeed the biggest food court of the world. It is no less than a miracle to see thousands, and even lakhs of Hindu devotees sit together after handpicking their choice of Jagannath Mandir Prasad from the stall owners.

Ananda Bazaar is located towards the North East direction in the outer enclosure of the Grand Temple in Puri and right next to the Anata Basudeva Temple in Bhubaneshwar.

How to eat Mahaprasadam in Puri and Bhubaneshwar

  • Get a banana leaf for free from one of the stalls at Anand Bazaar
  • Buy earthen pots of various curries, rice and chutneys at INR 20 a pot
  • Find a space on the grounds adjacent to the Anand Bazaar
  • Wipe the Banana leaf with water
  • Wait for someone to drop green chillies and extra salt (optional and free) on your leaf plates
  • Start eating
  • Request for refills if required
  • Dispose the used banana leaf at a designated common area
  • Wash hands at common wash basin

This is how you get Mahaprasadam in Puri. Just walk in Anand Bazaar!

Soul Window Tip

Be judicious while ordering the Mahaprasad. Having a company helps in sharing the food. I was on a solo budget trip to Odisha, so I could not order all the dishes.

Jagannath Temple Prasad of Puri

The prasad in Odisha is not just limited to a standard laddu. A total of 56 holy Hindu dishes are cooked on a daily basis in the streets of Bhubaneshwar and Puri, both in Odisha. The Prasāda or Chappan Bhog (56 Bhogas) are offered first to Lord Jagannath followed by Maa Bimala, both in Sri Jagannath Temple.

As per the Hindu beliefs, Lord Vishnu is very fond of the Char Dham or the 4 hallowed shrines, located in North India (Badrinath), South India (Rameshwaram), East India (Sri Jagannath temple) and West India (Dwarka).

Did You know?

The Hindus firmly believe that Bhagwan Vishnu bathes in Rameshwaram, meditates deeply in Badrinath, eats food in Puri and finally retires in Dwarka. This explains why the grand temple of Puri is excellent at kitchen management. No wonder, the Mahaprasad served in Puri holds supreme importance and is much respected.

Jagannath Mahaprasadam Story

The Mahaprasad has been mentioned in 26 Puranas or ancient Hindu scriptures. The Hindu devotees believe that accepting Mahaprasadam is akin to having a darshan of Lord Jagannath. The Mahaprasad doesn’t discriminate. The Mahaprasad can be consumed by people from all genders, caste and creed.

As per the ancient Hindu scripture, Skanda Purana, Bhagwan Jagannath redeems his devotees by allowing them his darshan, performing rituals, worshipping him, accepting his prasad and showering him with gifts.

Not only does having Jagannath Temple Prasad washes away your sins, it also brings you freedom from the cycle of birth and death. It is said that one gets salvation after death upon having Mahaprasad.

Did you know:

As per the legends, it is said that the Mahaprasadam is bereft of any fragrance when it is carried to the temple for blessing from the kitchen. However, when the same Mahaprasad is carried to the Anand bazaar from the temple after the blessing from God, it acquires a special pleasant smell. I did experience the sweet divine smell, standing in Anand Bazaar. The Odias call it ‘Kalia ra leela’, which means the wonders of the God.

Inside the kitchen of Jagannath Temple at Puri

The Hindu devotees firmly believe that it is the Goddess Mahalaxmi herself who supervises and cooks the food herself in disguise. The process of preparation of food is thus considered very sacred. The Jagannath Temple Prasad cooking method dates backs hundreds of years. Tribal touch can also be observed in the Jagannath Temple Prasad.

Also, no one has ever been able to copy the original taste of Jagannath Temple Prasad that is cooked inside the kitchen. It is futile to search for the Jagannath Mahaprasad Recipe. You will never be able to match the taste and aroma. Lord Jagannath Bhog Recipes have been protected since centuries.

Vaisanavagni is the kitchen fire which has never been put out. The holy kitchen fire has continued since hundreds of years. It is the duty of Akhand Mekap to keep the charcoals burning through all days and nights. Since the food is being served to Lord Vishnu as well, it is therefore known as Vaisanavagni.

Why outsiders are not allowed in Kitchen

Some people take offense when they are strictly not allowed inside the holy kitchens of the temples in Puri and Bhubaneshwar. However, there is a valid reason for this. Apart from protecting the sanctity of the place, it helps keep the kitchen hygienic and free of external germs. This explains why despite such heavy cooking every day, there has never been a single case of food poisoning here.

Discipline and strict rules are followed inside these holy temple kitchens. The cook is not allowed inside the kitchen unless he has taken a bath. It’s an all-male kitchen here. I did notice that none of the cooks had facial hair like beards or moustaches either. And everyone was wearing neat and clean stark white clothes, not stained even after cooking.

They also wear masks sometimes while carrying the food from one place to another. Needless to say, it is prohibited to smoke, chew betel or any intoxicating substance before or after entering the kitchen. Jagannath Temple Prasad cooking procedure is very strict.

Did you know?

Prasad for as many as 1 lakh devotees can be cooked within a single day in the kitchen of Jagannath Mandir in Puri. That makes it not only world’s largest kitchen but also the biggest open air food court (Anand Bazaar) of the world. Show me a bigger kitchen and I will show you a live dinosaur!

Scientific Reasons behind Jagannath Temple Prasad cooking

So, what is the scientific fact about the mystery behind the cooking of Mahaprasadam at Jagannath Temple Prasad in Puri?

The west and modern young Indians often dismiss Hindu practices as superstition and regressive, without ever spending a minute trying to find the hidden scientific reasons behind the age-old rituals and practices. But India is too big a nation, and Hindus, too large a community to stop their practices based on the epiphanies of a 21 years old ‘wise’ Instagrammar. Most of the Hindu practices are sustained by well researched scientific facts.

The West has always labelled India as a land of snake charmers and conservative so that they could sell their products, which “we need because our diet is so poor.” At the same time, they steal Indian ideas and patent Neem and sell the magical Indian Haldi Doodh as immunity boosting Turmeric Latte. Thanks to Indian nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar, I am finally seeing the goodness in traditional Hindu vegetarian food.

Mahaprasadam: The ultimate healthy food

The food is cooked as per the Sanatan practices. Sanatan is the Sanskrit word of Hinduism, which means ancient and eternal. And so is the food cooked at Jagannath Mandir, the grand temple. The food cooked as an offering to the God is slow cooked on natural wood fire.

Since the food is not overcooked and rather cooked in steam, most of the nutrients remain intact. Despite being steamed and boiled, I observed that the food tasted heavenly. Also, only indigenous vegetables, spices and condiments are used, ensuring the authenticity of the food.

The Good Energy

All the Hindu ritual, traditional beliefs and customs have a solid scientific ground to it. When you eat the Jagannath Temple Prasad, you are also absorbing a positive energy and vibration which can’t be visually seen but felt. You will only see healthy ingredients such as coconut (Don’t believe those ignorant doctors), raw bananas, leafy greens, chickpeas, brinjals, a variety of rice and lentils and dairy products such as desi ghee, curd, milk etc in preparation.

Why only earthen pots are used for cooking?

Cooking in earthen pots is an age-old Indian tradition in not only Puri and Bhubaneshwar but many places in India. In the kitchens of ancient temples of Odisha, the pots that are used for cooking are not repeated again the next day. Each day, a fresh earthen pot is used for cooking, using fire wood as a fuel.

There are many reasons on why clay pots are preferred over the metallic pots.

They are cheaper than metallic ones.

Clay Pots are biodegradable and naturally environment friendly.

No need to clean and wash the pots since it is a one-time use vessel only.

Since clay is a bad conductor of heat, the food, if cooked in Earthen Pots stays warm for up to 6 hours. Also, the bottom pot remains warm longer than the top pot.

The clay pots impart the food with a pleasant earthy aroma.

It is flexible. In case, there is a surge in influx of people, it is easy to add more pots to make more Mahaprasadam. There is no need to wash any utensil as every time a new clay pot is used.

The wood fired ovens are designed in a scientific way, helping reduce the quantity of fire wood.

As per Ayurveda, the food cooked in earthen pots are way more delicious, satisfying and healthy than the food cooked in metallic vessels. You must have noticed it while eating the native village food, cooked on mud pans and pots.

Not only is the red colour of the clay pots considered pious and auspicious in Hinduism or Sanatan Dharm, but they are also more capable of withstanding the extreme heat of the wood fire. Also, the red colour helps in cooking the food quickly and at uniform time.

Why Cook Mahaprasadam only in Wood Fire?

The wood fired pizza has been catching up off late even in the shopping malls around the globe. It’s a fancy luxury these days! But that has always been the tradition whether it’s the kitchens of Italy or Puri. Each and every 240 hearths inside the kitchen of Jagannath Mandir are made up of traditional brick and mud.

I remember my grandmother cooking in the similar chulha in my native village Baansgaon near Gorakhpur, until the modern stove invaded the mud walls of our family kitchen and we no longer were treated with the Saundhi Sugandh (earthy scent)

While visiting Odisha, I grew curious about the unusual shape of earthen pots used for cooking Jagannath Temple Prasad. The wood fire ovens in Puri temple are shaped in hexagonal patterns so that 9 pots can be placed one atop the another and less wood is required to cook more food.

Also, in Sanatan practises, the number 9 represents 9 planets or Navagrahas or 9 Durgas and 9 grains. The hexagonal shape helps in holding all the pots together unlike the common circular pots which comparatively have a low density.

Balanced Nutrition of Mahaprasadam

The famous Chappan Bhog or the offering of 56 types of dishes to the Gods has a scientific backing to it. If you notice the elaborate divine menu starts with spiced dishes accompanied by curds and followed by sweet dishes.

It has been proven that spices help in aiding the digestion by bringing the digestive juices and acids to action. Curd and dishes like Pakhala Bhat or water rice serve as a natural probiotic which is great for health. I keep seeing people with 6 figure salaries around me popping super expensive probiotic pills while the cheap alternative is right there in their kitchens and makes for a healthy breakfast. But we are more used to the garbage called as the sugary cornflakes and chocos.

Indian sweets contain healthy carbohydrates such as Kheer (Milk + rice + jaggery). These help balance the digestive system by bringing it down.

Why Banana Leaves are used as plates

I had seen more of South India before visiting Odisha. It is a common to see food being served only in banana leaves in South. In my home state Uttar Pradesh, pattals made from dry leaves are common. Both are super eco-friendly but not packages so unlike the West. It’s just there and needs no trumpets to be blown.

Similarly, the Mahaprasadam, is always served on banana leaves and always eaten while people are sitting on the floor and not outdated dining tables (Even my friends from West don’t own it anymore). Sitting on the floor helps in signalling our brain to start preparing the stomach for digestion. The banana leaves, on the other hand have been known to have antibacterial properties which kill off any germs present. The food when served on banana leaves absorbs the polyphenols, thereby helping in the prevention of many diseases.

Strict rules of preparing Mahaprasadam

Strict rules and regulations are followed while preparing the Mahaprasad or the holy temple food in the traditional way.

Food is cooked strictly in woodfire

The Mahaprasad is still cooked as per the centuries old authentic recipe

Only Indian vegetables are used

Only ancient condiments and spices are used for cooking

The temple food is 100 % Sattvic

The temple food is 100% vegetarian and, in some cases, vegan.

The food is prepared only by Brahmins priests

Non-Brahmins are not allowed to enter the temple kitchens, except the stray cats perhaps

The holy Jagannath Temple Mahaprasad is blessed by the Gods before being served.

The food called Bhojan include different preparations of rice, various curries, daal, chutneys and sauces.

What are 4 cooking methods in kitchen of Puri?

In the sacred kitchens of Sri Jagannath Mandir, the 4 types of cooking methods are as below:

Bhimapaka

Nalapaka

Sauripaka

Gauripaka

Types of Mahaprasad: What are the food items used for preparing Lord Jagannath Prasad?

I noticed three different types of prasad served in the Sri Jagannath Mandir. They take their Prasāda very seriously here. The tradition and ingredients of these prasad can be traced back to many centuries ago. All the below mentioned Prasāda are available in the Ananda Bazaar of the Puri Jagannath Mandir. This will also educate you on the difference between prasadam and mahaprasadam.

These Prasāda, whichsacraments and sanctifies, is prepared inside the temple kitchen by people known as Suaras. The best part is that the devotees can buy these Prasāda in the Ananda Bazaar area.In fact,the Mahaprasada is the first thing the Odia Hindu people take during their auspicious family functions such as Nirbandh or wedding ceremony, thread ceremony, mundans etc. It is a part of everyday life in and around Puri. Lets see what are the Jagannath Puri Prasad names?

Sankhudi Mahaprasad

This Prasāda contains mostly wet items such as assorted curries, plain rice, mixed rice, ghee rice, salted asaphoetida-ginger and cumin seed rice, plain daal, dalma with vegetables, saaga bhaja, leafy green vegetables, porridge, khatta etc. It is also spelt as Sankudi.

Sukhuli Mahaprasad

This is mostly dry Prasāda with more shelf life than Sankhudi Mahaprasad. This mahaprasad includesrice flour, desi ghee, wheat laddus, Khaja cakes made from maida, wheat flour Gaja, dry sweetmeats, kanti, sugar etc. It is also called as Sukhila.

Nirmalya

Nirmalaya is a dry prasad with longer shelf life. It is cooked and dried rice prepared in Kaibalya Baikuntha. It is often a substitute of Sukhila or Sankhudi prasad. This dry Mahaprasad is offered on many occasions.

As per the holy Hindu scripture, Skanda Puran, the garlands, fragrant Chandan or sandal paste and even flowers, all of which are offered to the Gods and other deities on the temple throne called Ratnasimhasan, are also known as Nirmalaya, once the offering is done and the same is removed from the deities. Any other divine thing taken from the idols of the Gods is termed as Nirmalaya as well.

Nirmalya is also known by the name of Kaibalya. This meanstheMahaprasad is a facilitator of release from the cycle of life and death. The person who consumes this prasad is made free from rebirths. It is similar to the story of Moksha, liberation or salvation that I heard about in Kashi or Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.

Some also say that when Nirmalaya and holy basil or Tulsi leaf is consumed by a person on his or her death bed, it will bless him/her to a smooth journey to heaven, washing away all the sins committed in their lifetime. The Jagannath Temple Mahaprasad thus grooms the departing soul and eases out their journey to heaven and saving them from ‘Jamadanda’ or punishment.

What does Lord Jagannath like to eat

Starting from the God’s hour in early morning, the food or bhog is offered to the deities during a total of 6 specific times through the day. The offerings are known as Dhupa, when it is offered by Sodasa Upchar and Bhoga, whenthe food is offered to the Godsthrough pancha upacharas.

Naivedhya: I observed, thisprasad is the most popular among devotees as it comprises of a large number of food preparations. It is said that the food cooks by itself in the pots without any specific cooking method employed. The ingredients are just placed in the earthen pots and allowed to cook by itself over the holy fire.

I saw the local supakaras, waiting for the gates to open for darshan, while carrying the earthen pots on their shoulders. At the right time, they carry the food to the Garbhgriha or the Sanctum sanctorum of the Puri Jagannath temple and offer the Naivedhya to Lord Jagannath, Bhagwan Balabhadra and Maa Subhadra Debi. The food is then offered to Maa Bimala Debi, who is a form of Shakti.

It is only now that the Prasad is known as Mahaprasad and is distributed to the devout pilgrims who are patiently waiting for the divine food. The air reverberates with the collective chants of Jai Jagannath (Hail Lord Jagannath).

Did you know: Prabhupāda means‘One who sits at the Feet of the Lord!” It was an honorific meaning made popular by the international body ISKCON. ‘Prabhu’ stands for God and ‘Pada’ stands for feet. Krsnapāda thus stands for “Krsna’s Feet”.

Jagannath Temple Prasad Timing: List of daily offering

Pahili Bhoga: An extra Naivedhya is offered just before the sunrise on occasions when the sun remains in zodiac Dhanu.

Gopal Ballabhaw Bhog: Served as breakfast at8:30 a.m.

Sakala Dhupa: Served at 10 a.m. Contains 13 dishes such as Mantha puli and Enduri cake.

Bhoga Mandapa Bhoga: Served at 11 a.m. Contains mostly Pakhala bhat with dahi and Kanji pyas.

Madhyanna Dhupa: Served as lunch between 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Sandhya Dhupa: Served as evening snack between 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Bada Singhara Bhog: Served as a midnight meal at 11 p.m. This is the last food offering to the deities.

What are 4 types of rice made in kitchen of Puri?

Salianna: Fine Sunakhila rice prepared with orange slices and desi ghee

Khiraana: Basmati rice with desi ghee, salt and cow’s milk

Dadhianna: Plain curd rice

Sitalaanna: Plain rice with salt and lemon juice

Puri Mahaprasad List

Rice dishes

Odia Rice: An aromatic pulao, delicately flavoured with raisins and spices.

Sadha Anna or Arna Rice: (Plain steamed rice)

Thali Khechedi: Sweet rice made with lentil and ghee also called as Prasadam Khichdi

Ghee Anna –Rice with desi ghee aka clarified butter

Odia Pakhal: Rice with ghee, lemon and salt

Meetha Kanika Rice: Yellow Rice sweetened mildly. More like a dessert!

Dahi Pakhal – Fermented curd rice with water aka water rice (Great probiotic)

Meetha Pakhal: Sweet water rice

Ada Pakhal: Rice with ginger and water

Asaphoetida-Ginger rice

Lentils dishes

Daal: Lentils slow cooked on flame.

Mitha Dali: Lentil sweetened mildly

Chana Daal

Muga Dalma or Muga Daal

Dalma – Daal and vegetables in lentil. Most famous dish of Odisha.

Soul Window tip: Jagannath Temple Mahaprasad is not offered between first day and last day of Ratha Yatra, the annual Chariot Festival celebrated on a grand scale.

Curries

In many curries, its common to find mustard sweets. They can be sweet, sour or savoury. Ask before you order.

Besara: Mixed vegetable curry cooked in black mustard seeds

Mahura- Mixed vegetables curry

Goti Baigana- Bringal in coconut sauce

Choley: Chickpeas cooked in spices.

Potala Rasa– Odian curry made with vegetables and coconut

Potolo Channa Masala: Pointed Gourd simmered with chickpeas

Saaga Bhaja: Leafy green curry

Side dishes

Pachidi: Yoghurt mixed with spices or coconut and fruit like cucumber, apple, grape raita

Khata: A sweet and sour chutney made with apple or mangoes and grapes blended together. Tangy Khatta can also be made with dates and tamarind.

Desert

Kheer: Sweet rice made with milk and dry fruits

Dry confectionaries made with jaggery aka gur

Chenna sweets

Khaja

Did you know:

A Mahaprasad is much more than offering to Gods.It is the ultimate unifier which consolidates an unsaid bond between all the devotees of the Gods. An inseparable part of the social fabric of Odisha, the Mahaprasad is a big leveller, which discriminates with none.

Which vegetables are used in Jagannath Temple Mahaprasad?

Tomatoes, onions, red chillies, garlic, processed sugar, potatoes are not used in preparing the Mahaprasad because they are foreign vegetables. Ow I know why the food tasted so different and yet so delicious. Only Indian vegetables are used. Below are some of the indigenous vegetables used in making the Jagannath Temple Mahaprasad.

Brinjals

Yam

Pumpkin

Sweet potatoes

Beans

Bodhi: A dry root vegetable

Coconut

Parval

Pointed gourds

Soul Window Tip

Some vegetables may taste like potatoes, but they are not!

Also, don’t forget to say Jai Jagannath at least once while you are having your meal. For that connection!

You can eat a full meal for under INR 100 or even less.

Puri Mahaprasad Rate Chart

Cost of Mahaprasad in Puri is very low. The Puri Bhog Price List includes everything priced at same value. For example, I was able to choose any dish for INR 20 for a cup of rice/dal/curry/sweet etc. The final cost depends on how many cups you pick. I had picked many cups and still managed to have a filling lunch like Maha prasad for under INR 100. Yes, Puri Mahaprasad price is within everyone’s reach and so is Puri abhada price!

Even if you take more, you can still sample many prasads for a maximum of INR 150. The quantity is huge and not always possible to finish by your own. Having a company helps you sample more prasad. You can get them packed for eating later but I recommend eating at the venue, on a banana leaf and on the grounds. That’s the quintessential Jagannath Temple Mahaprasad, in my opinion!

Soul Window Tip:

You can even request for packed prasad, in not plastic bags but earthen pots. For longer shelf life, most buy Khaja, which lasts up to months. I saw many shops which sold mountains of Khaja around the Golden beach and Srimandir.

What is the Chappan Bhog?

If you are a Hindu and Indian, then like me you must have grown up hearing the word Chappan Bhog time and again. In fact, some halwai (sweetmeat) shops have also named their shops as Chappan Bhog in India.

Very day, without fail, Prabhu Jagannath is offered 56 different Bhogs or prasad (Holy temple food), Hence the term Chappan Bhog has gained popularity across India. This food is cooked inside the temple kitchen and offered to the God during the worship hours. Below the the Puri Mahaprasad items or 56 bhog:

  1. Adapachedi (Simple Ginger Paste)
  2. Amalu (Deep fried Malpua, Sweet Puri)
  3. Anna (Steamed Rice)
  4. Arisha (Sweet fried cake prepared with rice flour)
  5. Bada Arisha (Large size Fried cake)
  6. Bada Kakara (Large Fried sweet cake)
  7. Bada Kanti (Fried Cake)
  8. Bara (Donalds)
  9. Besar (Mixed vegetable curry)
  10. Bhaga Pitha (A type of cake )
  11. Biri Buha (cake made with black gram)
  12. Bundia (Gram flour sweet granules)
  13. Dahi (Plain Yoghurt)
  14. Dahi Pakhal (Curd rice)
  15. Dali (Sweet Daal)
  16. Dalma (Daal with vegetables and spices)
  17. Enduri (steamed Idli)
  18. Ghia Anna (Desi Ghee rice)
  19. Gotai (A kind of salty cake)
  20. Hamsa Keli (Sweet cake)
  21. Jhadai Nadaa (Small ball shaped cakes)
  22. Jhili (Thin pan cake, much like crepes or Dosa)
  23. Kadali Bara (Fried Plantain)
  24. Kadali Bhaja (Also Fried Plantain)
  25. Kadamba (A type of sweet)
  26. Kanika (Delicately Flavoured Rice)
  27. Kanji (Sour Rice)
  28. Khasta Puri (Strong fried cakes)
  29. Khiri (Milk Rice)
  30. Khua (condensed milk)
  31. Luni Khuruma (Savoury biscuits)
  32. Magaja Ladu (A sweet)
  33. Mahur (Vegetable curry with black mustard seeds)
  34. Manohar (Sweet)
  35. Maric Ladu (Chilli Ladu)
  36. Matha Puli (Pan cake)
  37. Mendha Mundia (A kind of cake)
  38. Muga Sijha (Boiled green gram)
  39. Nadia kora (Coconut laddu)
  40. Pachila kadali (Ripe Banana)
  41. Pakhal (Fermented water rice)
  42. Pana (Sweet Drink)
  43. Pat Manohar (Name of a sweet)
  44. Podo Pitha (Pan Cake)
  45. Saga (Green leafy vegetables)
  46. Saga Bhaja (Fried green leafy vegetables)
  47. Sakar (Chutney)
  48. Sakara (Sugar candy)
  49. San Pitha (Small size Cake)
  50. Sana Arisha (Small fried cakes)
  51. Suar Pitha (Poda Pitha, Baked Cake)
  52. Suji Khir (Semolina cooked in milk with dry fruits)
  53. Takuaa (Sweets which are shaped like tongue)
  54. Tata Khechudi (Prasadam Khichdi made with boiling rice and lentils) aka
  55. Tipuri (Three stage fillings)
  56. Ukhuda (Sugar coated puffed rice)

Contact of stall owner in Anant Basudeva Temple, Bhubaneshwar: 9861046013

How to reach Jagannath Temple, Puri,

Puri is well connected with rail and bus service. The nearest airport is in Bhubaneshwar, the capital of Odisha. Distance between Bhubaneshwar and Puri is only 70 kilometres and it takes 1 hour and 30 minutes via Badshahi road/Cuttack-Puri bypass.

Where to stay in Puri?

I stayed in Puri in Yellow hotels which is located on Badadanda or the Grand road, at walking distance from the Sri Jagannath Temple. There are many 5 star, 4 star, 3 star, dharamshalas and low budget hotels in Puri where you can stay.

I stayed at Yellow Hotels. The rooms here are quite cool. The theme of yellow can be seen through the entire property. From my window I could see Jagannath Temple, which was just walking distance from this gem. And they have a nice al fresco dining option which is great because on one hand you can see the green oasis. While on the other hand you have sweeping views of the wide grand road and the ancient Jagannath temple. This is affordable luxury at its best.

Best time to visit Puri for Mahaprasad?

If you want to have a perfect Mahaprasad experience and want to see how food offered to Hare Krishna is distributed to devotees, then avoid the Rath Yatra festival, which falls in June July. That said, do include Rath Yatra in your wish-list as well as it is a once in a lifetime experience and the first and most grand Rath Yatra.

I visited in the month of September and it was very pleasant. There were no massive crowds and I was able to move around without much hassle. I even had amazing darshan of the Gods and didn’t have to line up in a queue for hours. Other months are also good to visit Puri. You will see devotees offering prayers in Jagannath mandir throughout the year!

Conclusion

Unlike the other sattvic food I tasted at other places, the food here was full of flavour and was bursting with tastes I didn’t know. Every morsel of Jagannath Temple Mahaprasad was packed with delight and strong aroma. Some of these are sweet because Lord Jagannath likes sweet dishes. An inseparable part of the daily lives of Hindus, the Mahaprasad is served in occasions as diverse as birth, mundan ceremony, weddings and death of someone.

Praise the lord by saying ‘Jai Jagannath’ with every morsel of the divine Mahaprasad! The joy of eating the food cooked in world’s largest kitchen is unapparelled. Anand Bazaar, the largest open air food court of the world, is a spiritual experience like no other. Beyond you and me. Beyond the material world!

The view from my Soul Window is blessed!


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