Worship and pilgrimages to temples are considered essential to being a Hindu. An important part of these pilgrimages is known as yatras in India. An important part of both yatras, as well as regular worship, is the religious offering of prasad or divine gifts which are offered to deities and also consumed by devotees.
The common prasad offered at most Hindu temples includes items such as cow milk, fruit, ghee, Chura, murri, etc. However, there are some temples across the country whose rituals include offerings that may take many by surprise.
A visit to such temples is guaranteed to be a most unforgettable experience. Let us look at some of these temples and their unique offerings of prasad.
Liquor - Kal Bhairav Temple (Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh)
The sight of offering liquor to a deity may be shocking to many, however, devotees visiting the Kal Bhairav Temple can expect to receive it as a prasad. Throughout the year many devotees come here to pray to Lord Bhairava and make offerings of liquor while doing so.
It is well-known among devotees that Lord Bhairav has a soft spot for liquor and at this time he does so with particular relish. While the lord himself is not fussy about brands, most devotees make offerings of country liquor.
(Image Credit: Rgyan)
The morning ritual usually begins with the temple priest offering a bottle of red wine or rum to the deity along with other sacraments. The liquor is poured into a plate or a shallow cup and then placed close to the deity’s mouth.
At this point, it slowly starts going down and is taken away once finished. After this, any alcohol that is remaining is given to the devotees as prasad. This has been in practice for centuries and in all this time, no one knows where the alcohol goes to.
During special occasions and festivals, the amount of alcohol offered to the deity may go as high as hundreds of bottles.
How to Reach Ujjain
Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh is well connected from all parts of the country through the Railway network.
Trains to Ujjain from New Delhi
- 12416 | NDLS INDB EXP – 10h 30m Overnight Journey
- 12920 | MALWA EXPRESS – 14h 50m Overnight Journey
Trains to Ujjain from Jaipur
- 20844 | BGKT BSP SF EXP – 08h 40m Journey
- 22673 | BGKT MQ SF EXP – 08h Overnight Journey
Trains to Ujjain from Mumbai
- 12227 | INDB DURONTO – 09h 40m Overnight Journey
- 12961 | AVANTIKA EXP – 10h 35m Overnight Journey
- 22943 | DAUND INDORE EX – 12h 10m Overnight Journey
Chinese Foods - Chinese Kali Temple (Kolkata, West Bengal)
Kolkata’s Kali Temple nestled in Matheswara Road is certainly a most outstanding attraction not only in the city but the whole country. Most would have likely not heard of any Kali Temple that serves stir-fried veggies, momos, and other chinese dishes as prasad.
(Image Credit: JIX5A from Twitter)
According to locals, this temple was first set up by a group of Chinese refugees who came to Kolkata during the civil war in their homeland during the 1930s. The refugees stayed in Tangra, the area the temple is located in. During their stay here, they are said to have had a significant influence on the local culture.
One night one of the Chinese men supposedly had a dream that included a vision of the goddess Kali. It was this person who conceived the idea of the temple and set about constructing it with the help of the locals.
Trains to Kolkata from New Delhi
- 12312 | NETAJI EXPRESS – 25h 50m Journey
- 12314 | SEALDAH RAJDHNI – 17h 40m Journey
- 12302 | HWH RAJDHANI – 17h 05m Journey
Trains to Kolkata from Indore
- 22911 | HWH SHIPRA EXP – 31h 25m Journey
Fish - Parassinikadavu Temple (Kannur, Kerala)
Situated on the banks of the Valapatnam River, the Parrassinikadavu Sri Muthuppan Temple in Kerala attracts people from all walks of life. One of the temple’s unique aspects is that dogs are revered as sacred as they are considered to be the steeds of Lord Muthuppan.
(Image Credit: Wikipedia)
In fact, dogs can be found roaming freely around the temple throughout the day. Another interesting unique feature found here is that devotees may enter wearing any kind of clothing. And even more surprising is that footwear is permitted all over the temple except near the sanctum.
Tea and boiled black beans are offered to visitors when they arrive at the temple. Later on, the main prasad offered consisted of toddy and fish. Devotees of Lord Muthuppan to be the one who fills the bellies and minds of all visitors.
Trains to Kannur from Bengaluru
- 16511 | KANNUR EXP – 13h 20m Overnight Journey
- 16527 | YPR KANNUR EXP – 13h 45m Overnight Journey
Trains to Kannur from Mumbai
- 22629 | DADAR TEN EXP – 17h 17m Journey
- 12618 | MNGLA LKSDP EXP – 19h 04m Journey
- 12218 | KERLA S KRANTI – 19h 47m Journey
- 16345 | NETRAVATI EXP – 18h 52m Journey
Chappan Bhog Jagganath Temple (Puri, Orissa)
Chappan Bhog consists of 56 dishes 0ffereed as prasad to Lord Jagganath at the temple in Puri, Orissa. Bhog is the term used for food offered to a deity and at Jagganath Temple, this offering is made daily.
(Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The kitchen at the temple has the capacity for the preparation of food for as many as one lakh people and is said to be the largest kitchen in the world. The bhog is cooked exclusively in earthen pots and with the use of only wood fire. The temple has 240 fireplaces where the bhog is prepared by around 600 cooks who prepare varieties of rice, vegetable, and sweets.
This maha prasad is said to be so pure that anyone can eat from a pot that has already been eaten. To do so is usually considered taboo in Hindu tradition. Anyone is allowed to consume the prasad irrespective of caste or creed.
The offerings are made in six sets that are spread out throughout the day at different meal timings. The Chappan Bhog daily schedule is as follows:
- Gopala Vallabha Bhoga (8.30 AM)
- Sakala Dhupa (10.00 AM)
- Bhoga Mandapa Bhoga (11.00 AM)
- Madhyanha Dhupa (12.30 PM to 1.00 PM)
- Sandhya Dhupa (7.00 PM to 8.00 PM)
- Bada Srungara Bhoga (11.00 PM)
Trains to Puri from Mumbai
- 22865 | LTT PURI EXPRESS – 32h 20m Journey
Trains to Puri from Vishakhapatnam
- 17480 | TPTY PURI EXP – 09h 30m Journey
- 22884 | GARIBRATH EXP – 07h 30m Journey
Trains to Puri from Chennai
- 22860 | MAS PURI EXP – 21h 20m Journey
Trains to Puri from New Delhi
- 12816 | NANDANKANAN EXP – 29h 45m Journey
- 12802 | PURUSHOTTAM EXP – 30h 45m Journey
Who knew one could find such unusual and unexpected sacraments across the sub-continent? This is a clear attestation to the broad diversity of culture in India. But probably most of all it is a testament that a country is a place where one can definitely expect the unexpected.