Odisha Sun Times Bureau:
Puri, December 16:
Thousands of devotees waited patiently for ‘Pahili Bhoga’ (first offering) of the Trinity in Odisha’ pilgrim town of Puri on the occasion of Dhanu Sankranti on Tuesday.
The special offering came out of the Jagannath Temple more than an hour behind schedule. But that did not deter devotees from eagerly waiting for their share.
On this special day, mother Yashoda cooks for Lord Jagannath, brother Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra, the presiding deities of Puri, in the absence of goddess Laxmi on this special occasion during the lunar Pousha in the Hindu almanac.
“Pahili Bhoga”, the morning offering which started on Tuesday, will continue till Makar Sankranti day on January 13, 2015. Dhanu Muan, a sweet offering, is part of the menu of the deities during this month.
During the month-long festivity, mahaprasad, the cooked offerings, becomes more attractive and sought after. The menu list becomes large with addition of various mouth-watering dishes. Cakes made of blackgram and curd based preparations are also added t the menu during this period. Apples, oranges, grapes are added to the curd and in another dish carrots are mixed.
A remarkable feature of this period is that bhog is available early. This early day meal is known as “Pahili Bhoga” which is offered to the deities soon after the breakfast.
According to Hindu mythology, goddess Laxmi, who cooks food for Him, leaves for her parent’s place. So in her absence, mother Yashoda prepares food for her offsprings. Several special rituals are followed during this period.
For smooth conduct of the rituals, the temple administration, neeti sub committee, Chhatisa Niyog and management committee work in tandem.
As per temple administration sources, the parimanik darshan of the deities will be suspended on 31st December and 1st January.
In view of Christmas and New Year celebrations, the tourist inflow to the holy city shows an upward trend every year. This year also, footfall is expected to maintain the momentum.