Mahaprasada of Lord Jagannath
Puri is one of the four cardinal points of pilgrimage for the Hindus. These four cardinal points are held in high reverence among the Hindus as it is believed that Lord Vishnu Himself graces these four places with His presence. It is believed that while He takes His bath in Rameswaram, He meditates in Badrinath. And while He rests in Dwarka, He has His food in Puri. A lot more emphasis is therefore laid on the temple food at Puri. The word “Mahaprasad” itself is a pointer to the same. In all other temples in India, devotees may take "PRASAD"- the holy food that has been offered to the deities. But the food offered to Lord Jagannath that is distributed among the devotees is called "MAHAPRASAD''.
The Mahaprasada at Jagannath temple consists of 88 different types of Bhog that are prepared in different phases daily. However on special occasions and during festivals the number of items increases drastically. Rasagollas are not allowed for Bhog except during Suna Vesha while the Deities remain on Rath after returning from Bahuda Yatra.
Daily Mahaprasad of Lord Jagannath
Daily offerings are made to the Lord six times a day. These include:
The Mahaprasad of Lord Jagannath are distributed amongst the devotees near the Ratnavedi in side the frame of Phokaria which is being drawn by the Puja pandas using Murujexcept for the Gopal Ballav Bhog and Bhog Mandap Bhoga which are distributed in the Anabsar Pindi & Bhoga Mandap respectively.
The items that form the core of offerings to Lord Jagannath’s Mahaprasad are:
Gopal Ballav Bhog (Breakfast at 9.00 A M )
The offering is the first one of the daily Prasad to Lord Jagannath.The Bhogs are offered at the Anabsar Pindi.
Members of Sevayats conduct this Puja in 5 Upchars. The sevayats who conduct this ritual are Puja Panda, Sudha Suar, Ballav Jogania, Suar Badu, Gara Badu, Palia Maha Suar. In the month of Dhanu Sankranti, Ballav Bhog is offered along with Pahali Bhog. Similarly on the DolaPurnima and Snana Purnima days, the Ballav Bhog and Sakal Dhup are taken up at one time. During Anabasar the Bhogs are offered near Jay-Vijay door as Sarpamanohi, but not on ballav pindi.
Sakala Dhupa (Morning Meal at 10.00 A M )
This is the first cooked meal Bhog. The Sevaks offer this Bhog with 16 Upchars on sitting on Ratnavedi. The following items are offered as Bhog for the purpose.
Bhoga Mandapa Bhoga (Supplementary to Breakfast at 11.00 A M )
As per the demand of the devotees. The Bhogs are sold on Payment.
Madhyanna Dhupa (Mid Day Meal at 12.30 to 1.00 P M )
Like the Sakal Dhup, this is also performed in 16 Upchars. The Sevayats engaged for the Sakal Dhup are only allowed for Madhyan Dhup and Sandhya Dhup. Generally different types of sweet cakes are offered during this Puja. The Bhogs used for this purpose is as follows:
Sandhya Dhupa (Evening Meal at 7.00 to 8.00 P M )
After the evening Arati, Sandhya Dhup Bhog is offered. This Arati is also called as Jaya Mangal Arati. Items are also prepared on request of devotees. The following items are presented for this Bhog.
Bada Singhara Dhupa (Late night Meal at 11.00 P M )
This is the last Bhog of the deities. As per the record of Rites of Srimandir, the time has been fixed for 11.15 pm. Before Dhup, the Palia Puspalaks dressed up the deities with silk dressed (Pata), flower garlands and singing Gita Gobinda. The Bhog is performed with 5 Upchars by three members of Puja Pandas by sitting at the side of Ratnabedi. The following items are offered.