Odisha Sun Times Bureau:
Puri, Dec 16:
Thousands of devotees waited patiently for ‘Pahili Bhoga’ (first offering) of the Trinity in Odisha’s pilgrim town of Puri on the occasion of Dhanu Sankranti today.
As many as 32 varieties of peetha (cakes and pancakes) prepared from black gram and wheat are offered to the deities. Some of the delicacies include– bada Jhili, gaintha, manda, arisha, kakera, chadhei neda and badi.
The devotees today waited anxiously for their share of the special offering to come out of the Jagannath Temple.
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.
“Special bhoga is offered to the deities in this month. After the abakash niti and mangala aarati, the pahili bhoga is offered to the deities along with Gopal Ballav bhoga,” said Suryanarayan Rath Sharma, Jagannath research scholar.
“Pahili Bhoga”, the morning offering which started today, will continue till Makar Sankranti day on January 15, 2016. 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.