Inside Rosha Ghara- The Holy Kitchen Of Jagannath Temple

As an Odia, I don’t remember a single summer vacation when I didn’t visit Puri. The trip would start by bathing on the beach and basking in the morning sun, followed by the temple visit and relishing Abhada (the prasad served inside the temple) and returning to our hotel rooms with a bamboo Tokri full of Pheni (Prasad). Although the entire visit is fun-filled and delightful as always, the temple visit fills my mind with innumerable questions till today. Being one of the Char Dhams, the mighty historical monument is full of mysteries and stories. From the Aruna Stambha outside the temple to the Mukti Mandap, every structure of the temple is of utmost historical significance and has a story to tell.

However, my recent visit to the temple of Puri was quite different than others. On my visit to the temple, I stumbled upon a Sevayat who has served in the temple for 26 years now. Having met him in the Ananda Bazaar ( or the Market of Joy), I couldn’t help but ask him about some interesting facts about the food they prepare and serve the Chaturdhamurti (the four deities- Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan). And some of the information completely blew my mind.

The priest began with the dimensions of the kitchen where all the food is prepared. The Rosha Ghara (kitchen) is 150 feet long, 100 feet broad and 20 feet high. Approximately 600 cooks (Suaras) and 400 assistants work day in and day out inside the kitchen to serve the deities and the devotees. The kitchen has three types of hearths- Anna Chuli, Pitha Chuli and Ahia Chuli. The rice dishes are prepared in the Anna Chuli, Dal and curries in the Ahia Chuli and sweets and desserts in the Pitha Chuli.

The Goddess Cooks, The Mortals Assist: Unravelling The Mystery Of The Biggest Temple Kitchen

On being asked about the consistency of the quality of food, the priest said something which can be quite astonishing to many people. He said that they believe that Mahalaxmi cooks in the kitchen herself and all the cooks and assistants believe themselves to be her assistant. If there is any fault in any of the dishes or if the Goddess is displeased with them then a mysterious dog arrives in the kitchen out of nowhere and all the food has to be buried and prepared again. It is believed that Kutama Chandi, a tantric goddess in charge of the purification of food arrives in the form of a dog to indicate the priests.

In the end, the priest mentioned that the food is prepared in seven pots, one on top of the other. Astonishingly, the food in the topmost pot gets cooked first followed by the bottom pots. Despite the fluctuations in the number of devotees every day, the food prepared in the temple is neither wasted nor is it insufficient.

There are more mysteries about the holy temple of Shree Jagannath that are enough to blow anyone's mind. So, the next time you visit Puri, do not forget to visit Ananda Bazaar and relish the delicious food served there. We bet it will keep you drooling for days.