Bhubaneswar: While the Ratha Jatra is known to be a mega event for Odias around the world due to its sheer magnitude and aplomb, it is also the occasion when the Lords are treated to a delectable assortment of food items called the ‘bhoga’.
Devotees across the world have not only celebrated Ratha Jatra by pulling chariots in their localities, but Odias living abroad are walking that extra mile to ensure that the essence of the festival remains authentic. The Bay Area Odia Community based out of Silicon valley in California, prepared a lavish spread of delicious Chhappan Bhog on the occasion of Ratha Jatra in Sunnyvale Hindu temple (California, USA), complete with 56 varieties of ‘bhoga’.
21 women prepared the sukha bhoga (dry offerings) and 15 men slogged in the temple kitchen to cook the sankhudi bhoga. “The sukha bhoga took two-three days to be prepared prior to the festival. While the women were in-charge of making arrangements for the puja and distribution of ‘bhoga’, the men took control of the kitchen and cooked the prasad for dinner. About 1200 devotees partook the ‘bhoga’,” said Padmaja Dash, a member of the community.
This version of the Chhappan Bhog consisted of Saadha anna, kaanika, dahi pakhala, adaa pakhala, plain khechudi, ghia anna, ada hengu khechudi, mitha pakhala, ukhuda, khaja, kheera gaja, khaasta gaja, boondi ladu, Jagannath Ballav, meetha khuruma, matha puli, kanda puli, luni khuruma, thaakua and nadia kora.
Moreover, delicacies such as boondia, sooji ladu, poda pitha, bada kanti (chandra kanti), kaakera pitha, mandaa (pura kaakera), singha mandaa, chunchi patra pitha, khaasta puri, Tripuri (three-layered puri), malpuaa, bara, dahi bara, aarisa pitha, bada aarisa pitha, kheeri, suji kheeri, chhena jhilli, paalua, papudi, khoa, rasabali, taadia, chenna khai, sarapoli, curd with jaggery, srikhand, meetha daali, kaanji, kadali bhaja, daali, dalma, mahura, saaga, potala rasaa, gota baigana, aamba khataa, nadia pachedi, baigani and besara, were also included in the grand offering to Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra on this occasion.
This community in the Silicon Valley replicates every procedure of Puri Jagannath temple to organise the Ratha Jatra, starting from the deba snaana purnima to Baahuda Jatra. This year, 1500 devotees participated in mega religious event.
Similarly, another version of the Chhappan Bhog was laid out before the lords during a Ratha Jatra event conducted by Odisha Culture Centre (OCC) of Houston in Texas (USA). This spread was prepared by the Odia families residing in Houston.
Apart from the must-have offerings mentioned above, the OCC Chhappan Bhog also included, bali bamana, muga magaza ladu, aambula rayee, makara chaula, mula raita, ghanta tarakari, chittau pitha, chuda kadamba, chuda ghasha, kartika maasa bala bhoga, aamba panaa, habisa dalma, oou khata, sapuri khata, kakhaaru khata, Aamba khata, mohan bhoga, muthi gaja, saadha daali, chhenna tadiya, chhenna tarakari, nadia ladu, rasagola and raabidi.
“We begun celebrating Ratha Jatra here in 2008. This year, over 900 devotees attended the festivities held here at the India House. We also showcased multicultural dance sequences and musicals, apart from a free medical and dental check-up camp,” said Debiprasad Rath, a member of OCC, Houston.
It is indeed endearing to see non-resident Odias work so hard to keep a part of Odia culture alive at home away from home!