MAHAPRASADAM

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Everyday throughout the year 56 varieties of dishes are prepared and offered to the Deities of the Shri Jagannath Temple. These consist of preparation of rice, dal and other selected vegetables. The food cooked in accordance with prescribed procedures, and is offered first to Lord Shri Jagannath and then to Goddess Vimala after which it turns into Mahaprasad. Mahaprasad, the holy food, is freely shared by people of all castes and creeds without any discrimination.

In all religious and social rituals in Puri and Orissa, Mahaprasad plays a very important role. Exchange of Mahaprasad between two persons belonging to two different castes binds them in an abiding relationship. Mahaprasad and other offerings made to the deities are sold to public in Ananda Bazar on the north-east corner of the outer enclosure of the Shri Jagannath temple, where every day thousands of pilgrims buy and eat various types of food.

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Mahaprasad is cooked only in earthen pots inside the temple kitchen and medium of food is fire wood only. When the cooked food is carried to the offering hall in slings of earthen pots no flavour comes up from the food but when the same is offered to Lord Shri Jagannath and Vimala and carried back to the sale point, a delicious smell spells along in the breeze to the pleasant surprise of the devotees. Now the food is blessed. Mahaprasad can only be eaten on banana leaf and sitting on the floor.

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