Based on the char dhaam, Lord Vishnu bathes at Rameswaram, gets dressed and anointed at Dwarka, dines at Puri and meditates at Badrinath. Therefore, a great deal of significance is given to food at Lord Jagannath temple Puri. Lord Jagannath permits his devotees to partake the 56 items or prasad that are offered to him; which are popularly known as 56 Bhoga (Chhapan Bhoga) or Mahaprasad, as a means of redemption and spiritual advancement.
As the 56 bhoga in the temple kitchen must be prepared for the Lord in such a pure way and devotion, a great divine impact is felt; both by the cookers and the eaters. No man can prepare so many items daily for so many. So there is a belief that, this 56 bhoga or Mahaprasad is cooked by no one but Maa Laxmi herself with utmost care and devotion. All chefs working there are felt to be her helpers. The cooked 56 bhoga is first offered to the three deities and then to Goddess bimala, after that it becomes Mahaprasad (popularly known as Abadha). Therefore in Padma Purana, it is mentioned that:
“Tatranna Pachaka Lakshmi, Swayam Votka Janaijana, Tasmatta dana bipasha Daivataurapi durlabham.”
“ Let me be freed from all the sins. Eating this sacred Mahaprasad cooked by Maha Lakshmi herself, rare even or the Gods to eat.”
The temple’s kitchen fire is called as Vaishnava Agni as it is the fire in the kitchen of Lord Jagannath, who is considered a form of Lord Vishnu. In Jagannath temple, spices like Cardamom and cloves are included only after offering to the Lord. Then the 56 bhoga is brought to Ananda Bazzar. The meaning of Ananda is ‘happiness’ and Bazzar is ‘Market Place’. By eating Mahaprasad at this place gives great pleasure and happiness.
Here is a complete list of the main 56 dishes of Mahaprasad or Chhapan Bhoga (56 Bhoga):
1. Sadha Anna- Simple Rice
2. Ghee Anna- Rice mixed with pure ghee
3. Khechudi- Rice mixed with lentils
4. Thali Khechudi- A dish made with rice, lentil, ghee and sugar
5. Kanika- A combination of Rice, Ghee and Sugar
6. Dahi Pakhala- Rice mixed with Curd and water
7. Ada Pakhala- Rice mixed with rice, ginger and water
8. Mitha Pakhala- Rice mixed with sugar and water
9. Odia Pakhala- Rice mixed with ghee, lemon and salt
10. Gaja- A simple, sweet and fried dish made of wheat and soaked in sugar syrup
11. Khaja- A sweet dish, prepared from basic ingredients like maida, is essentially the layered fritters soaked in sugar syrup.
12. Ladoo- A delicious sweet dish made with flour, ghee and sugar
13. Magaja Ladoo- An extremely delicious ladoo made with gram flour, ghee, milk and sugar
14. Jeera Ladoo- A ladoo prepared with some basic ingredients like cumin seeds, lemon juice, sugar and salt
15. Marichi Ladoo- A type of ladoo made with some key ingredients like wheat and sugar
16. Jagannath Ballav- An item made of wheat, sugar and more ghee which is black in color
17. Khuruma- A dish made with wheat and ghee
18. Luni Khuruma- A type of salty biscuit made of wheat, ghee and salt
19. Mathapuli- A special dish made of ghee, ginger and a kind of bean ground into a thick paste
20. Kakara- An Odia cuisine made of ghee and wheat
CAKES, PANCAKES AND PATTIES ITEMS:
21. Poda Pitha- A baked cake made of rice, urad dal, coconut, jaggery and ghee
22. Chittau- A type of steam cake made with rice, coconut, sugar and ghee
23. Manda- A type of cake made of rice, coconut, jaggery, cheese and ghee
24. Arisa- A flat cake prepared with rice flour, ghee, jaggery
25. Tripuri- Another flat cake made of rice flour and ghee
26. Puri- A deep fried item (like a small thin pancake) made of flour and ghee
27. Luchi- A pancake like item made with maida and ghee
28. Rosapaik- A cake made with wheat and ghee
29. Jhili- A delicious sweet cuisine made of rice flour, sugar and ghee
30. Kanti- A dish made with rice flour and ghee
31. Amalu- An item made of wheat, sugar and ghee
32. Bara- A fried item made with Biri/ Urad dal and ghee
33. Dahi Bara- A dish made of Biri/ Urad dal and Curd
34. Khiri- A dessert recipe made with milk, rice and sugar
35. Papudi- An item prepared only from the cream of milk
36. Khua- A dessert item prepared out of pure milk slowly boiled over many hours to a soft custard-like consistency
37. khira- A tasty dish made of milk, cheese, ghee and sugar
38. Sarapuli- The most famous yet difficult milk dish prepared from cream, milk and sugar
39. Rasabali- A sweet odia dish made of milk, cheese and sugar
40. Malpua- Another dessert dish made of maida, sugar, milk and ghee
41. Tadia- A traditional odia cuisine made of fresh cheese, sugar and ghee
42. Chhena Khai- A dish made with fresh cheese, milk and sugar
DAL AND OTHER SIDE ITEMS:
43. Mitha Dal(Sweet Dal): A thick dal made from Arhar dal (Pigeon pea/Legume) which is sweet in taste.
44. Biri Dal- A dal made with Biri/ Urad
45. Chana Dal- Another type of dal made with chana dal
46. Dalma- It is a typical Odia dish which is a combination of dal and vegetables such as: Baigana (Eggplant), Kakharu (Pumpkin), Bean, Kanda Mula (sweet potato), Coconut, Bodhi (a dried root vegetable that looks like a mushroom having rich proteins) with hing (asafoetida). Tomatoes (Bilati Baigana in Odia) are not used in Puri Abhada as it’s a foreign vegetable.
47. Muga Dalma- It is a type of odia dish prepared with lentil dal and other vegetables
48. Besara- It’s a mixed vegetable curry with plenty of coconut and black mustard seeds.
49. Mahura- Another type of mixed vegetable curry that uses very basic ingredients like Kakharu (Pumpkin), Saru (Arbi/ Taro) Kanda Mula (Sweet potato).
50. Saga- A dish made with leafy green plants like Spinach, Leutia, Koshala etc.
51. Khata- A sour side item made with cooked mango, apple and grape mixed and cooked together
52. Potala rasa- It’s spicy gravy based odia dish in which the main ingredients are Potala (Pointed gourd) and coconut milk
53. Raita- A dish made with yogurt, cucumber, radish and salt
54. Pita- An item made with fried flowers of Neem tree
55. Goti Baigana- A dish prepared with small eggplants with a shredded coconut sauce
56. Baigana- A fried item made of eggplants
Dahi Pana is a cool refreshing drink made with Curd and water. During Anasara period, when the three deities are said to be sick they don’t take any food, but only this sweet curd drink. For other festival days, a special pana prepared with curd, water, sugar, bananas and raisins are served to the temple deities.
Everyone, who has visited Puri Jagannath temple, must have tasted this lip smacking Tanka Torani in small earthen pots. This is probably the most popular drink of Odisha.
The rice used in 56 bhoga and served as Prasad to the Lord Jagannath is the key ingredient for making Tanka Torani. The rice Prasad after it is cooled down completely put into water and curd or butter milk is added to it. To make it more sour some lemon juice are added and for a unique aroma lemon leaves are also squeezed and added to it. Then a special type of ginger that tastes like raw mango cut into small pieces and salt as per requirement are added to this mixture. Seasoning materials such as cumin seeds powder, few cumin seed fried in pure ghee, dry chili powder are also added to enhance the taste. This drink not only satisfies your thirst, but also calms down your stress and soothes your soul.