There are more than 33 crore divinities that are prayed to as indicated by our sacred scriptures. There are numerous temples committed to these divinities all across the nation and some of them will undoubtedly be somewhat bizarre and not quite the same as the others. Prasad, it is a reverential offering made to Gods in Hinduism and Sikhism which is then circulated among the devotees. It is generally a palatable, edible thing which is offered to a holy person, divinity or a symbol where devotees from all around the world come, simply to get a glance of the deity and to get a taste of ambrosia. The act of offering food to the Gods is pervasive in almost all religions.
Do you know the prasad offered by the Indian temples speaks volumes about the variety it comes with? From noodles to rat saliva laced milk, there exist numerous extraordinary prasads in the various temples across India. Most temples have their own uncommon prasad, i.e. each divinity is known to be offered a specific sort of prasad. Some of these temples go on an extra mile to guarantee that their prasad is the most exceptional out of all. So let us have a look at the various unique temple prasad’s that you can get only in Indian Temples-
Chinese Kali Temple, Kolkata
At first, this temple would seem like any other temple you had visited earlier and it sure is- the only difference is the bhog, which comprises chopsuey, noodles, and other vegetable dishes! The temple was built by the Chinese who migrated to this place. Due to the prevalence of the Chinese in the Tangra region of Kolkata, this place has been nicknamed as the Chinatown of Kolkata. One look at the ‘bhog’ - noodles, chopsuey, rice-and-vegetable dishes - and you realize this isn’t just another Kali temple. And for a Chinese cuisine lover, visiting the temple in the name of faith and for the foodie in you is something you wouldn’t want to miss out on.
Mata Vaishno Devi, Katra
As we all might be knowing, at Vaishno Devi the prasad needs to be brought. Devotees buy from the Bhaint Shops managed by the shrine board. The unique prasad consists of puffed rice, sugar balls, dry coconut, dry apple, etc. all the prasads are nicely packed in the eco-friendly jute bags in various denominations. Prasads are also dispatched by speed post and you could easily get a hold of them when you can’t visit Vaishno Mata. Vaishno Devi Shrine Board had introduced the facility of dispatching prasad by speed post to devotees who have booked pooja for an amount of Rs. 1,100 and above and are not in a position to personally receive the prasad. You could easily find websites online which would deliver you the prasad when you can’t happen to visit Vaishno Devi by yourself.
Mahadeva Temple, Mazhuvanchery, Thrissur
At Lord Shiva Temple situated on the campus of National Heritage Centre (NHC) at Mazhuvanchery Village near Kechery in Thrissur, prasad distributed to the devotees include textbooks, CDs, DVDs, writing material and informative brochures, unlike the sweet edibles that you would be offered in most of the temples across the country. The temple doesn’t offer sweet edibles as prasad like you would expect to get. Temple authorities believe that disseminating knowledge is the actual prasad. A thought that is requisite in a progressive nation like ours and we agree, imparting knowledge and wisdom is the greatest prasad one could get.
Sree Krishna Temple, Amablapuzha
In the famous Sree Krishna temple at Amablapuzha located near Thiruvananthapuram, Palpayasam is a sacred offering made for the deity that has made the temple popular. The Palpayasam is made of rice, milk and sugar and distributed to the devotees. Its preparation is a closely guarded secret handed down to traditional cooks over generations. Devotees long for its distinct taste as the taste of the Prasad is also unique in its own way. Rich palpayasams, fruits garnished with a touch of ghee, plump unniyappams with a fine dusting of sugar, beaten rice mixed with jaggery are offered to the devotees. Festivals like Vishu happen to be occasions for foodies to enjoy the ambrosial offerings that are served to the gods in the temples. Paal payasam made with rice is the flavour of the day.
Kaal Bhairav temple, Ujjain
Kaal Bhairav Temple is located at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. This temple is dedicated to Kaal Bhairav, the guardian deity of the city. Located on the banks of the Shipra River, it is one of the most active temples in the city, visited by hundreds of devotees daily. The interesting thing about this temple is that the God is offered liquor unlike other temples to invoke divine blessings. It is believed that the Lord here consumes alcohol. Thus, after offering it to the deity, the prasad (alcohol) is distributed among the devotees.
Karni Mata Mandir, Bikaner
In the famous Karni Mata Mandir synonymous with rats moving freely inside the temple complex, the Prasad offered to the devotees is one of its kind. What is unique about this temple, however, is not its architecture or location, rather the fact that 25,000 black rats live, and are worshipped, in the temple. In fact, the food that is eaten by them is considered to be holy and is later served as ‘prasad’. Prasad is first offered to the rats and then it is given to the devotees. It is believed that the Prasad laced with rat saliva brings good luck.
Jagannath Temple, Puri
Most popularly known for its rath yatra, the Jagannath Temple in Puri is one of the most frequently visited temples in India. The famous Jagannath temple in Puri is also renowned for distributing “Mahaprasad”, as popularly known in the temple. It is first offered to Lord Jagannath, and later to Maa Vimala (Lord Jagannath’s companion) before it is declared as Mahaprasad. Dedicated to Lord Jagannath, the temple kitchen offers food to 1 lakh people everyday.
Mahaprasad consists of a variety of 56 cooked and uncooked dishes. The food is steamed in traditional earthenware. It is said that the food is tasteless while it is being offered to the Lord, but somehow all the flavours seep in when it is being served to the devotees. Pradsad is offered to the deities first and then sold to the people at Ananda Bazaar. Though each and every dish has a unique flavour, don’t miss the Payas, Gajja (dry prasad), Kheera (rabri with paneer), Kanika (sweet rice) and Abhoda (rice- dal- sabzi).
Khabees Baba Temple, Sandana, UP
In Khabees Baba temple in Sitapur district, around 80 km from Lucknow there are no idols or priests. Khabees Baba was a local saint in the Sitapur district who had a love for fine liquor. It is said that he died while worshipping saint Shiba. He was known for his healing powers. In fact the prasad offered here is even more unique! Devotees offer liquor to two slipper-shaped structures on a raised platform to worship a clairvoyant saint who lived here 150 years ago. These structures in the temple symbolise his presence. A portion of the liquor offered is collected and distributed as Prasad to the devotees. Devotees bring liquor that is poured over this and some of the dripped off alcohol is collected and offered to devotees as prasad.
Tirupati Venkateswara Temple, Tirupati
The Tirumala Venkateswara Temple at Tirupati is known for its sweet laddus all across the world. Tirupati Laddoo are popularly known as Tiputai laddu or the Sri Vari laddu is unique and a logo of the temple. Tirupati laddus are prepared in 2 types and are distinct in terms of flavor and size. Tirupati Laddu/ Tirumala Laddu is a sweet, offered as Prasad to the Lord Venkateswara Swami of Tirumala Temple. These ladoos made of flour and sugar can be bought from the temple in various sizes, and these are also a major source of income of the temple, which is among the top richest temples of India. It has been 300 years since the introduction of the Tirupati Temple laddu on August 2, 1715. No pilgrimage to the Tirupati Temple is complete without the laddu prasad. The laddu prasad sells like a hot cake during Brahmotsavam. Needless to say, round-the-year sale of the prasad contributes immensely to the treasure of the Tirupati Temple.
The Tirupati temple laddu got the Geographical Indication (GI) status in 2014, which prevents sweet outlets of all sizes from selling laddu with the tag “Tirupati Laddu”. In 2013, the Madras High Court banned the sale of laddu with the brand tag at a Chennai based sweet stall in an effort to preserve the sanctity of the Tirupati Laddu as it is touched at the holy feet of the Tirumala Lord before being distributed to pilgrims. Although you would easily find websites online which claim to deliver you the laddus, the only drawback of it all is, it is not authorized by the temple officials.
Azhagar Kovil, Maduraia
Popularly known as the Alagar Temple, the Azhagar Kovil is located 21 kms away from Madurai. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and unlike the sweet edibles you would expect to be offered, devotees here are distributed unique dosas as prasad. This is because many devotees offer grains as an offering to the deity and these grains are then used to make fresh, crispy dosas as prasad. The first one is offered to God and then after the prayer, prasad is distributed among the devotees.
Anything can be a Prasad once it is offered at the feet of God and there is no place for monotony when it comes to distributing prasad among the people. The next time you're planning to go on a religious trip or a pilgrimage, make sure that you are enlightened by the unique temple prasad offered by the temples listed above. So now that you have a good reason to go on that religious trip that you had buried somewhere long ago, without waiting any longer, book Train Ticket as well as airplane tickets right from the Trainman app to these blend of religious and unique destinations. Download Trainman App, to check Running Status of your train, PNR Status of your ticket, seat availability of any train and much more.