The word Jagannath is made up of two words Jaga which means Universe and Nath means Lord that is ‘Lord of Universe’. In fact, the Lord Jagannath is considered as 10th reincarnations of avatars of Lord Vishnu. Every year, the Rath Yatra is celebrated by the devotees. Idols are taken out on a chariot and the three chariots are pulled by the devotees through the streets of Puri to the Gundicha temple a few kilometres away. There is a belief that pulling the chariots of their God during the procession is a way of engaging in the pure devotion of Lord and it also destroys the sins which might be committed either knowingly or unknowingly.
Jagannath Rath Jatra is celebrated by millions of devotees that came from across the world to seeks the blessings of God’s and fulfil their wishes. The atmosphere at the time of Rath Yatra is so pure and beautiful. Devotees with the chariots keep singing songs, mantras with the sound of drum beatings. Jagannath Rath Yatra is also famous as Gundicha Jaatra, Chariot Festival, Ghosha Jaatra and Navadina Jaatra.
Temple & it’s Kitchen
The world famous Puri Jagannath temple’s kitchen is said to be the largest kitchen in the world because the temple’s kitchen is capable of cooking for a lakh devotees on a day. Thousands of Chefs are working on 752 wood-burning clay chulas (hearths) to feed more than 20,000 devotees daily.In most temples of India, the holy food that has been served to the deities is called as ‘PRASAD’.But only here in Jagannath temple this blessed food Abadha is called as ‘MAHAPRASAD’. ‘Maha’ means Great.Therefore,the word ‘MAHAPRASAD’ itself gives us the sensation of something great.
Generally, there are two types of Prasad that are served to the dark Lord Jagannath. One is Sankhudi bhoga (popularly known as Abadha/ Abhada) and another is Nisankhudi bhoga/ Sukhila bhoga (Dry). Puri Abhada comprises Sadha Anna (rice),Ghee Anna, Mitha Dali (Dal),Dahi Pakhal, Besara, Mahura, Dalma, Saga, Kanika, khechudi, Pita etc while Nisankhudi bhoga comprises all types of sweets, deserts and pithas (cakes) like Khaja, Gaja, Feni, Nadi, Manohara, Jhili, Puli, Mathapuli, Arisha, Chakuli, Ballabha, Malpua etc. All the vegetables and ingredients used in the cooking of Abadha are local to the region.
What does ABADHA (ABHADA) mean?
The term ‘BADHA’ means to serve and it is ‘A-BADHA’ which is not served. Abadha is that type of Prasad which is not served for anyone. Everyone eat this Puri Abhada as a blessed food and it is never regarded as a false food (Aintha, in Odia). Whenever you’ll visit Puri Jagannath temple you’ll notice a group of people eating in the same pot or on the same banana leaf. There is nothing such as rich, poor, religion or any racist thing.
Mythological and Historical Evidences:
As per the myth, this Abadha or Mahaprasad started in the remote past when Lord Jagannath was in his aboriginal form of Neela Madhaba. The tribal head Biswabasu offered fruits to the deity at the time of worship inside the Nilagiri Mountains of Odisha. As it was a forest area, there were no rice paddies and vegetable fields. But when Biswabasu opened the temple door in the morning, he would find huge amount of rice dishes and mouth watering curries near the deity daily. The legend says that, Gods and Goddesses would come at night from the heaven for having a DARSHAN of the deity, Neela Madhaba. At the time of worship they would offer the heavenly dishes of rice, dal and sweets to the Lord and the spiritual aroma of this holy Prasad was so overpowering that all came to know it had to be of godly origin.
In Madalapanji, it is mentioned that the Sankhudi bhoga or Abadha was in place during the ruling of King Jajati Keshari, although King Ananga Bhimadeva added many other dishes in the Lord’s ashet. During the Mughal invasion (1568 AD – 1575 AD), this Abadha or Mahaprasad could not be served to the three deities. But, Mahaprasad is being served without any fail with all allegiance and custom since 1751 AD.
Kaakara – Chhapana Bhoga of Lord Jagannath
- Suji – 200 gm
- Grated coconut 1 cup
- Chhena 1 cup
- Jaggery 50 gm
- Refined Oil or Ghee for frying
In a non stick pan caramelize jaggery,add chhena and grated coconut.Add cardamon powder and mix well.Roast for 10 minutes till jaggery mixes well.
Take water in a deep pan.Add,sugar and salt as per the taste.Boil it.Stir it properly to avoid forming lumps.Keep it on the flame for 2 min.Remove from flame and keep aside.
Cool down to room temperature,knead the dough to make it soft.Make small balls of the dough.Make it flat like puri,in between your palms.Put some coconut mixture in centre and cover with another flat puri and seal.
Heat oil in a wok and fry the above flatten balls in a lower flame till it turns golden brown from each side.Kakara pitha is ready and serve it cool.
NB : FOR HEALTHY OPTION HEAT ONE TEASPOON OIL IN A TAWA. SHALLOW FRY ON BOTH SIDES TILL BROWN.
Article by Radharani Panda