Puri Jagnnath temple's Kitchen - What is unique about it? - 02

Believed to be the largest kitchen in the world with no modern cooking gadgets, the food offering (naivaidhyam) to lord Jagannath of Puri, Odisha  is prepared by cooks  specifically selected by the temple authority. The cooking is done in the pots on the traditional clay-mud chullahs (Anna Chuli, Ahia Chuli and Pitha)  - ovens using only fire wood. With them they separately cook rice, vegetables and also sweet preparations. Ever burning  Vaishnava Agni - fire in the kitchen is  used to serve Vishnu Himself. The fire is never put out. 

Puri jagannath temple kitchen, odisha. hindustantimes.com

Puri jagannath temple bhog (meal) inallyfoodie.com

The belief has been that food cooked in the temple kitchen of Jagannath  is supervised by Goddess Lakshmi and  600 cooks (Suaras) and 400 assistants working in the kitchen are supposed to to  assist the goddess. Hence, it is imperative for them to  follow strict  personal hygiene and other norms as  the god's kitchen is as sacred as the the god himself.  There are  several mutts (Hindu monasteries) here and their  daily offerings to the lord are prepared in the temple kitchen.  Naivaidhyam  prepared elsewhere  from the mutts to the lord  is not acceptable. Capable of feeding more than  40000 to 50000 people a day, the food becomes mahaprasad only after offering is made to God Jagannath and  Bimala. After that mahaprasad will be available for sale in the Anand bazaar. The Mahaprasad is of two types; one being Sankudi and the other is called Sukhila

Puri jagannath temple. in.pinterest.com

pretty old postage stamp, Puri jagannath temple. in.pinterest.com

Have you ever heard of a Hindu temple kitchen (in Tamil ''Madapalli'') becoming inactive during god's sojourn outside the temple? Yes, the largest kitchen in the world at Puri Jagannath temple (built in 1078 to 1148 CE),  stops cooking when the deities are out away from the temple. This kind of tradition has been in vogue for a pretty long period. 

During the famous annual ratha yatra, (June or July) the three deities of Jagannath temple - Jagannath, Balabadra and sister Subadhra

# jaganntha trinity painting 19th CE in.pinrest.com

Puri Jagannath ratha yatra, Odisha. mvoyager.com

are taken on three different wooden ratha (chariots) pulled by thousands of devotees  to  the Gundicha temple, supposedly the birth place of Jagannath  - about 3 km from the main temple. The deities remain in the chariots on the first day and on the following day enter the Gundicha Temple. Tradition has been that they reside at the Gundicha temple for the successive seven days.  Only after their sojourn they 'll return to the main temple (Srimandir).

Gundicha temple, Puri, Odisha etvbharat.com

Mahaprasdha at Gundicha temple, Puri. pragativadi.com

During the Jatra  when the deities are away from the main temple (Srimandir) and staying at the Gundicha  temple for 7 days, preparation of Mahaprasad of Lord Jagannath will begin there at  the Gundicha  temple  which is often called the garden house of Lord jagannath.

Mahaprasdha at jagannath temple, Puri.in.pinrest.com

According to Shri Jagannath temple's long-held tradition, preparation of the Mahaprasad at the Roshaghara  (kitchen) inside the Jagannath temple  is postponed during the Rath Yatra. Reason: The three deities  are staying outside at the Adapa Mandap of Gundicha temple. No kitchen activities in the absence of goddess Mahalakshmi. Cooking activities at the main temple kitchen will resume only upon the return of lord Jagannath and other deities  from Gundicha.    

During the stay at Shri Gundicha temple, the Mahaprasad for the deities is prepared from the Kitchen there and  devotees are allowed to have it after the Kotha Bhog is offered to Lord Jagannath and others after  noon.