Thali plan to serve Jaganath's mahaprasad

The mahaprasad, which is offered to the devotees, at the Puri Jagannath temple. Picture by Ashwinee Pati 

Bhubaneswar: The Puri Jagannath temple is planning to introduce a thali system serving items of mahaprasad, the cooked food offered to the deities.

The plan was discussed at a meeting in Puri on Tuesday between temple administration officials and the Suar-Mahasuar Niyog, whose members cook the mahaprasad .

The temple kitchen with 240 ovens cooks mahaprasad for around 50,000 devotees daily. The offerings made to Lord Jagannath and his siblings - Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra - are called chhapan bhog (56 dishes) though the kitchen prepares 110 items. The demand for these items goes up on festive occasions.

Sources said once the temple management committee approves the plan, the devotees may get three types of thali s with rates varying between Rs 70 and Rs 120 depending upon the items served. The temple administration would also put up rate charts at strategic points on the shrine premises.

"The effort is to ensure that devotees get quality food at reasonable rates and without any hassle. Rate charts will be displayed in the Anand Bazar where the mahaprasad is sold," said Suar sevayat Madhusudan Pratihari.

Mahasuar Niyog secretary Krushna Chandra Samantara said mahaprasad would be served according to the size of the kudua (the earthen pot in which mahaprasad items are traditionally sold). "Nothing can be said to be final till it is approved by the temple management committee," said Samantara.

While temple public relations officer Laxmidhar Pujapanda confirmed that the issue had been discussed, he refused to divulge the details. Senior sevayat Binayak Das Mohapatra welcomed the move, saying it would ensure quality of the mahaprasad with its rates clearly displayed.

Attempts at bringing about reforms in the temple are being made following a directive of the Supreme Court, which had received a number of suggestions from Puri district judge for improving the functioning of the shrine. The suggestions aimed mainly at ensuring the convenience of the visiting pilgrims.


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