Kitchen of Lord Jagannath at Puri – Biggest in the World


By editor - 6.11 2020




Mahaprasadam of Lord Jagannath

Every day fifty-six variations of Bhog are offered to Lord Jagannath at Puri. The preparations are made conventionally without using onion, garlic, chilies or some vegetables considered alien. After being offered to Lord Jagannath these are again offered to Goddess Vimala Devi. After this the offerings become Mahaprasadam. 

Lord Jagannath’s kitchen is considered to be the largest kitchen in the world. It is to the south-east direction of the outer compound of the Srimandir. The kitchen is 150 feet long, 100 feet wide and about 20 feet high. It comprises 32 rooms and 250 earthen ovens. About 600 Suaras (cooks) and 400 assistants function here every day for cooking the Lord's offerings. The temple kitchen has got the capacity to cook for over a lakh of devotees in a day.

The kitchen of Srimandir has three types of hearths ― Anna Chuli, Pitha Chuli and Ahia Chuli. The measurement of each hearth where rice is cooked is 4' x 2.5' x 2'. The oblong space created between two rice hearths is called Ahia. Every type of Dal and Curry item is cooked in Ahia Chuli. There are only ten Pitha Chulis in the kitchen which are made of cement. The fire in this kitchen is known as Vaishnava Agni; it is used to serve Lord Vishnu Himself. It is never extinguished. 

It is believed that Shree Mahalakshmi cooks in the kitchen Herself; all are felt to be Her servants. As She is not attentive to the cooking on the days when Lord Jagannath is said to be sick before Ratha Yatra, the food is less tasty. During Ratha Yatra when Lord Jagannath is in Sri Gundicha Temple, She is said to have no enthusiasm to cook and so the food is tasteless.

It is also said that if mother Lakshmi is displeased with the preparations by the cooks, a dog will appear mysteriously on the temple grounds. If the dog is spotted, all the food must be buried and prepared again. As no dog is allowed to enter the temple precincts, this dog is said to be Kutama Chandi, a tantric goddess in charge of purification of food.

When the steam cooked preparations are carried to Lord in slings of earthen pots no aroma emanates from the food but when the same is carried back to the sale point after being offered to the Lord, a delicious fragrance spreads along the way. Now the food is blessed.

Visiting devotees (tourists) prefer to take home a particular type of dry Mahaprasad called Khaja (made of maida, sugar and ghee) which stays fresh for days together. Mahaprasad is not offered during the 21 days preceding the Ratha Yatra, as the Lord is said to be having fever in that period.

The Mahaprasadam is considered very valuable for spiritual liberation. One should humbly honor the Mahaprasadam while being seated on the floor.  This is sold outside the shrine area but within the temple grounds. The Mahaprasadam stays hot for a long time as it is kept in the same earthen pot in which it is cooked.

There are four types of cooking in the kitchen of Srimandir. They are Nalapaka, Bhimapaka, Gouripaka and Souripaka. 

Four types of rice are prepared in the kitchen of Srimandir. They are Sitalanna, Salianna, Dadhianna and Khiranna. Sunakhila rice cooks along with ghee and Phalatabha Kharada Lavana to get Salianna. For getting Khiraanna along with Basmati rice; cow milk, ghee and Kharada Lavana are mixed and cooked. By mixing plain rice with curd, Dadhianna is prepared and mixing rice with Tabharasa and Kharada Lavana, Sitalanna is prepared. 

Temple cooks arranging the earthen pots for cooking

The food is prepared in the temple kitchen in a pure manner with deep devotion and great spiritual impact is felt, both by the cooks and those who honor it. The exclusive feature is that clay pots are placed in a special earthen oven, five in number ― one on top of the other. Surprisingly, the one on top is cooked first. 

There are two wells named Ganga and Jamuna and both are near the kitchen itself for supplying water for the cooking of bhog.

The Mahaprasadam of Jagannath is so sacred that anyone can eat from a pot even if someone has already eaten it. 

Khaja Prasadam

Mahaprasadam served on a banana leaf

56 items of Chappan Bhog for Lord Jagannath

1. Sadha Anna – Simple rice water
2. Kanika – Rice, ghee and sugar
3. Dahi Pakhal – Curd rice and water
4. Ada Pakhal – Rice, ginger and water  
5. Thali Khechedi – Lentil, rice with sugar and ghee
6. Ghea Anna – Rice mixed with ghee
7. Khechedi – Rice mixed with lentils
8. Mitha Pakhal – Rice , sugar and water
9. Oria Pakhal – Rice, ghee, lemon and salt


10. Khaja – Made of wheat
11. Gaja – Made of wheat, sugar and ghee
12. Laddu – Made of wheat, sugar and ghee
13. Magaja Ladu
14. Jeera Ladu
15. Jagannath Ballav – Wheat, sugar and ghee
16. Khuruma – Made of wheat, sugar and salt
17. Mathapuli – Made of ghee, ginger and a kind of beans ground in to a thick paste
18. Kakara – Made of ghee and wheat
19. Marichi Ladu – Made of wheat and sugar
20. Luni Khuruma – Made of wheat, ghee and salt
(On Bahuda Yatra during Suna Vesha, Rasagollas are offered as Bhog, but on no other day Rasagollas are allowed for Bhog)

Cakes, Pancakes and Patties
21. Suar Pitha – Made of wheat and ghee
22. Chadai Lada – Made of wheat, ghee and sugar
23. Jhilli – Rice flour, ghee and sugar
24. Kanti – Rice flour and ghee
25. Manda – Made of wheat and ghee
26. Amalu – Made of wheat, ghee and sugar
27. Puri – Made of wheat and ghee and deeply fried like a small thin pan cake
28. Luchi – Made of rice, flour and ghee
29. Bara – Made of curd, ghee and a kind of beans
30. Dahi Bara – Cake made of a kind of a beans and curd
31. Arisa – A flat cake made of rice flour and ghee
32. Tripuri – Another flat cake made of rice flour and ghee
33. Rosapaik – A cake made of wheat

Milk Preparations
34. Khiri – Milk, sugar with rice
35. Papudi – Prepared from only the cream of milk
36. Khua – Prepared out of pure milk slowly boiled over many hours to soft custard like consistency
37. Rasabali – Made of milk, sugar and wheat
38. Tadia – Made of fresh cheese, sugar and ghee
39. Chhena Khai – Made of fresh cheese, milk and sugar
40. Bapudi Khaja – Made out of cream of milk, sugar and ghee
41. Khua Manda – Made of milk, wheat and ghee
42. Sarapulli – This is the most famous and difficult milk dish to prepare. It is made of pure milk boiled slowly for hours and spread in to a large pizza shaped pan.

Curry with Vegetables
43. Dali
44. Biri Dali
45. Urad Dal
46. Muga Dal
47. Dalama – This is one of the typical dishes in Odiya home. It is a combination of dal and vegetables. Usually eggplant, beans, sweet potato and tomatoes (tomatoes are not used in temple preparations) coconut and a dried root vegetable known as Bodhi which looks like a mush room and is high in protein are added.
48. Maur
49. Besar
50. Sag – A spinach dish
51. Potala Rasa
52. Goti Baigana
53. Khata
54. Raita – a yogurt like dish with curd and radish
55. Pita
56. Baigilni