Sunday, 31 December 2017

115 Varieties of Bhog of Shree Jagannath Temple Puri

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The state of Odisha in India has a rich culinary tradition. Odisha boasts of an amazing variety of dishes, most of which are associated with the ancient temple traditions of Odisha from centuries.

The general public is yet to learn about this state's rich culture. Many Odias, even those residing in Odisha, are grossly unaware.

On 24th December, 2017, thanks to Neeladri Adyatmik Trust, we got a novel opportunity to attend a unique event that introduced us to 'Odisha Mandirara Bhoga Parampara' i.e. the 'Bhog tradition of Odisha Temples'. A book by the same name was released on the occasion.
An 800-pages book 'Shree Jagannath Gyana Kosha' was also released in the event.
Chhappan Bhog (56 Bhog) of Lord Jagannath is pretty famous. But, the fact is Lord Jagannath is offered many more dishes and thus, the number of bhog is not just 56 in number. Number of offering vary as per the traditions, and on the festive occasion of Makar Sankranti, there are 84 bhog- the highest number of offerings are given. It is even mentioned in the Record of Rights as "Makara Chaurasi Bhoga".

Some of the dishes like 'Mandua' are unknown even to some Puri city inhabitants!
We had the opportunity to see 115 varieties of bhog exhibited in the event.
You can take a look at this short video that shows some glimpses :
As per the organizers and researchers, they could manage to display only this tiny fraction i.e. 115 of all what Lord Jagannath is offered at Puri. The actual number of bhog is much larger.
They did a commendable job to arrange 115 varieties considering the fact that all these dishes were prepared in the traditional way and transported to Bhubaneswar from Puri Lord Jagannath Temple.
After the exhibition, devotees got to sample the bhog in the premises and some got to carry the same to their homes too!
Rasagolas have had centuries-old history and cultural association with the state of Odisha.
Rasagola has been in existence in Lord Jagannath Temple, having been a part of the rituals ever since bhog has been offered to Maha Lakshmi in the temple during Niladri Bije, the last day of Ratha Jatra.
Did you know that apart from the Rasagola we know, Lord Jagannath is also offered a unique dish - Dahi Rasagola too ?
Apart from Rasagola, did you know there are many sweets in Odisha that start with the word- “Rasa” like Rasabali, Rasabara etc?
Apart from Rasagola, the land of Shree Jagannatha boasts of several mind-boggling sweets, many of which are prepared from Chhena
Odisha has many Chhena sweets and dishes like- Chhena Payes, Chhenapoda, Chhena Bara, Chhena Kakara etc. 
Odisha dishes like 
Chhena Muduki, Chhena BundiaChhena KhaiChhena Tadia, Chhenabadi, Rasabali etc are also prepared from Chhena and they are a part of Mahaprasad.
Those who argue that Chhena dishes are not offered to God as God isn’t offered curdled milk, must see and taste Lord Jagannath's bhog. Many still believe that the Portuguese taught the art of Chhena preparation!
You can read this blog for more info-
Lord Jagannath's 12th Century Temple strictly adheres to its ancient customs, including its elaborate menu and rituals.
As per the Puri Jagannath Temple's traditions, only indigenous vegetables, fruits and grocery items are allowed to be used for cooking. Thus, agricultural produce like Chillies, Potatoes, Tomatoes etc. are not used in any of the dishes as they are not native to our land and have their origin in foreign nations. Had Chhena been of foreign origin and not been Odisha’s product, Rasagola would never have been offered as bhog. Nor would there have been so many Chhena dishes that are offered to Lord Jagannath.

I loved the fact that all visitors were served Puri Mahaprasad.
By Maha Lakshmi and Shree Jagannath's grace, all the visitors had Mahaprasad in the exhibition premises!
As is the tradition, we all sat on the floor and we were served on banana-leaf plates.
Actually, many items were served on our banana-leaf plate, but as I was feeling so blessed and grateful, and was busy eating, I could not click any more photographs!
Lord Jagannath means the Lord of the Universe.
Puri Jagannath Temple's kitchen is one of the largest in the world. Shree Jagannath boasts of such wondrous treats that are simply awesome and fascinating.

Note- This post could not share all the individual pics of all the 115 bhog items that were displayed. I need to write many more posts to be able to share all the photographs and information pertaining to Lord Jagannath! 

Were you aware of so many dishes of Lord Jagannath? Is any other God of the world offered so many items as Bhog? Please share in the comments below.

18 comments:

  1. Bhog of Shree is something I'm seeing for the first time but since it is something really interesting I am going to research about it before sleeping and see what it really is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by. Glad you found this interesting.
      Personally, I feel researching on Lord Jagannath will take several lifetimes as there's so much to find out & learn!

      Delete
  2. The post is a little tempting to the tongue. I will check out the book. During my next visit to Puri, I will also check out some of the dishes I have missed so far. Nice to know so these unique facts.

    Wishing you a great year ahead. Jai Jagannath.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Truly. All the dishes are mouth-watering :)
      As the Lord's menu is specific to occasions/celebrations at the Temple spread over the entire year as per ancient tradition, we won't get all the dishes on a particular day. However, everyday, there are a lot of options to choose from!

      Do let me know when you visit Odisha.
      Thank you for your wishes. Wish you a wonderful new year!
      Jai Jagannath!

      Delete
  3. One hundred and fifteen!!! It's quite interesting and by making offering to God more specific, we confirm that the traditional dishes are prepared and consumed on specified occasions for healthy living, in spite of whatever modernisation takes place. What a science behind customs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And 115 is not a complete list!
      Very well said, Sindhu. I agree with you.
      Seasonal and indigenous fruits and vegetables are used for cooking. Also the menu is prepared as per the tithi/celebration/specific day requirements. What is amazing is that the customs are followed religiously even today.
      Despite so much modernisation, the traditional art of food preparation in pots still thrives in Maha Lakshmi & Shree Jagannath's kitchen!
      Thank you for sharing. Have a wonderful year ahead!

      Delete
  4. This must have been a wonderful experience! I can only imagine the pomp and gaiety of this celebration. And what a massive, mouth watering bhog!! This was a feast for the eyes. Looking forward to more posts on Lord Jagannath.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed Kala! The spread was so lavish and the result of genuine effort and love on the part of the dedicated organizers. I thank them all for arranging this feast for the eyes & mouths for us.
      Such experiences make one feel so blessed. It is said that it's the Lord's will. I consider myself so fortunate!
      I do hope to write more about Shree Jagannath. May He give me strength and expertise to do so. Thank you for your nice words, interest and encouragement.

      Delete
  5. Informative article.Many people are unaware of culinary traditions of Orissa .Can you please let me know if the book is available in english and how can it be bought?is it available on amazon or flipkart

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by and for your interest.
      Most of the books are in Odia language. Thus, many people are not aware of Odisha's rich culinary traditions.
      This particular book is yet to be translated into English. I spoke to the author of the said book and requested him.
      There are some books on Odisha available on Amazon/Flipkart viz.
      1. 'Imaging Odisha' by Hermann Kulke.
      2. 'The Penguin Food Guide To India' by Charmaine O'Brien

      'My Odia Kitchen' and 'A Taste of Odisha' by Usha Rani Tripathy are not available for sale online as yet.
      I will be sharing more info about such books on Odisha cuisines.
      Do keep visiting this site for more.

      Delete
  6. Hello... Very nice article. Are these two books available online or offline?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your appreciation & for your interest.
      The two books are in Odia language.
      Both the books are available in Bhubaneswar in the Soochana Kendra- shop in Jayadeba Bhaban (Auditorium previously called Soochana Bhaban)
      You can find the Shree Jagannath GyanaKosha in AK Mishra Book Shop in Sahid-Nagar near Rupali Chhaka.

      Delete
  7. My mum and I are greedy about bhog.. this post is helpful for us.. have to read again to make some notes and have to look for some more information. Thank you for writing this post

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is so nice to learn.
      Thank you so much for sharing :)
      There are so many varieties of bhoga that this blog post is not enough!
      Please visit Puri, Odisha and earn the experience- of tasting bhoga and then writing :)

      Delete
  8. Can you please atleast share the name of all these varieties of bhog.
    So that atleast we have some idea

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your interest.
      There are so many varieties of bhoga.
      I will request for the entire list that they had showcased and try to share.

      Delete
  9. Please share the book link which is mentioned above. I tried searching actually but didn't found.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your interest to access and learn more.
      Do you stay in Odisha?
      If yes, you can procure physical copies of the Shree Jagannatha sanskruti books from the "Soochana Kendra" just outside the gate of Jayadeba Bhaban in Bhubaneswar.
      Dr. Bhaskar Mishra has written many books. You can order from Amazon- Shree Jagannatha Sanskruti Books- By Dr. Bhaskar Mishra

      Delete

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