The temple kitchen of Lord Jagannath
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.
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
Sweets(usually shaped in small balls and deep fried):
10.Khaja — made of wheat
11.Gaja — made of wheat and sugar
12.Ladu — made of wheat, sugar and ghee
15.Jagannath ballava — made of wheat, sugar and ghee
16.Khuruma — made of wheat, ghee and salt
17.Mathupuli — made of ghee, ginger and a kind of beans ground in a thick paste
18.Kakara — made of ghee, wheat and molasses
19.Marichi ladu — made of wheat and sugar
20.Luni khuruma — made of wheat, ghee and salt
Cakes, pancakes and patties:
21.Suara pitha — made of wheat and ghee
22.Chadei lada — made of wheat, ghee and sugar
23.Jhilli — rice, flour, ghee and sugar
24.Kanti — rice, flour and ghee
25.Amalu — wheat, ghee and sugar
26.Puri — wheat and ghee and deeply fried like a small thin pancake
27.Luchi — rice, flour and ghee
28.Bara — made from ghee and gram beans
29.Dahi bara — gram, ghee and curd
30.Arisa — a flat cake made of rice, flour and ghee
31.Tripuri — another flat cake made of rice, flour and ghee
32.Rosapaik — cake made from wheat and ghee
33.One more not remember right now.
34.Khiri — rice, milk and sugar
35.Papudi — prepared from cream of milk
36.Khua — prepared out of pure milk, slowly boiled over many hours to a soft custard
37.Rasabali — milk, sugar and flour
38.Tadia — cheese, sugar and ghee
39.Chena khai — fresh cheese, milk and sugar
40.Papudi khaja — cream of milk, sugar and ghee
41.Khua manda — milk, wheat and ghee
42.Sarapuli — pure milk boiled slowly for hours and spread in to a large pizza
Curries with and without vegetables:
43.Dali (sweet dali)
The preaparation of bhoga(pakas) are of four kinds.
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:
8.Samadhi handi and
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.
As per the custom, people of different caste high or low including the lowest ones can take Mahaprasada with the higher ones.