Janmashtami 2023: Connection Between Chhappan Bhog And Krishna
Image Credit: Chhappan Bhig is a grand feast | Shutterstock

Those who celebrate Krishna Janmashtami must have seen or taken part in the ritual of preparing 'Chhappan Bhog'. This bhog, a sumptuous offering of 56 delectable dishes, holds a special place for Janmashtami, a festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna. This grand culinary tradition is deeply rooted in the rich mythology and culture of India. While there are many stories explaining why he is given the bhog of 56 dishes, the most famous one is related to an incident when he became a saviour for the villagers of Gokul.

So, according to the age-old tales, the innocent villagers of Braj used to give a part of their food grains to Lord Indra to please him. In return, Indra would give the village sufficient rain for the growth of their crops. Krishna objected to this and asked the villagers not to give any of their food grains because it was Indra’s duty to bring rain. 

This angered Indra, and he brought deadly rain to the village, which started destroying everything. Then Krishna collected everyone and went near Govardhan Hill. He picked up the hill with his little finger and gave the villagers shelter for 7 days by holding it up constantly. After that, Lord Indra stopped the destruction, and the villagers thanked Lord Krishna. 

As a gesture of gratitude, they made a meal consisting of 56 dishes. This had a reason behind it. Krishna would eat eight times a day, and he stood there, without food, for seven days. So, the villagers prepared one dish for each meal he missed. Hence, chappan bhog has been a very important part of Janmashtami celebrations to date. It is said that Goddess Lakshmi Herself takes over the kitchen when the Bhog is prepared. It can be broadly categorised into two parts - The first is Sankudi, which includes types of rice, kheer, vegetables and dal. The second kind is Sukhila, which is mainly dry sweets and fruits.

Here are all the 56 dishes prepared for Janmashtami:


Makkhan mishri: It is also known as makhan chor, and Krishna loved makkhan and would steal it from Gopis as well. So, it is the most important dish in chhappan bhog.

Recipe - Sunita Agarwal

Kheer: Nothing is complete without kheer when it comes to celebrations. It is a pudding made with sugar, milk, and rice cooked together.  

Rasgulla: Soft and spongy milk-based dessert soaked in sugar syrup, symbolising the sweetness of devotion.  

Rabri: It is a rich and creamy condensed milk dessert, which is also an important part of the Bhog. 

Chhach: Buttermilk, or chhach, is a curd-based drink offered to the Lord.

Almond Milk: Badam doodh is said to be one of Kanha Ji’s favourites.

Malai: Another dairy product adored by Lord Krishna, showing his love for milk-based treats. 

Peda: Flavoured with cardamom and saffron, the bhog is incomplete without peda.

Savoury Snacks

Mathri: Crispy and savoury crackers seasoned with spices, mathri adds a crunch to the feast.

Papad: Thin, crispy lentil papads provide a crunch to the bhog.

Pakoda: Fritters made from gram flour and spices. A variety of pakoras are served to Krishna.

Tikkis: Aloo tikki is a part of this elaborate feast as well.

Kachori: Fried, stuffed pastries filled with dal or vegetables, kachori adds a savoury dimension to the feast.

Bhujia: Spicy and crispy snack that is part of the savoury section of Chhappan Bhog.

Savoury Dishes

Saag: A leafy green vegetable dish that offers a balance to the sweet and savoury dishes on the platter.

Curd: Fresh yoghurt, or dahi, is a symbol of purity and devotion in Hindu culture.

Rice: Steamed rice is a staple food item representing sustenance and simplicity. He was offered rice by his best friend, Sudama.

Dal: Lentil curry is also served along with rice.

Kadhi: It is a curd-based curry made with besan flour, spices, and a tempering of ghee that lends a tangy and creamy flavour.

Chila: Savoury pancakes made from besan, chila is offered to Krishna as a part of the Prasadam.

Khichadi: A comforting dish made from rice and lentils, representing simplicity and nourishment.

Recipe - chiko's recipes

Brinjal: Eggplant curry, or baingan ki sabji, is served with khichadi.

Bottle Gourd Curry: A vegetable curry made from bottle gourd, or lauki, spices, and chana dal.

Poori: Deep-fried puffy bread made of whole wheat flour that is often paired with halwa, kheer, or sabzis. Poori-kheer is one of Krishna’s favourite combinations.

Dalia: A simple porridge made from cracked wheat, dalia offers sustenance and warmth.

Roti: It is a simple and essential Indian flatbread. With a blob of butter, Lord Krishna can be appeased by this simple dish too.

Channa: Boiled or sprouted channa is also part of the elaborate bhog.


Ghewar: It is a popular delicacy from Rajasthan. A honeycomb-shaped dessert made from deep-fried flour soaked in sugar syrup.

Jeera Laddoo: This laddoo is made from roasted cumin seeds and sweetened gram flour.

Recipe - Kirti Lifestyle

Jalebi: Made from deep-fried batter soaked in sugar syrup, jalebi represents Lord Krishna's playful spirit.

Moong Dal ka Halwa: A rich and aromatic pudding-like dessert made from moong lentils, ghee, and sugar. It includes dry fruits like cashews, almonds, and pistachios, and the taste is enhanced by cardamom, representing luxury and flavour.   

Panchamrut: A sweet concoction made from milk, honey, yoghurt, ghee, and sugar. Panchamrit, derived from Sanskrit, combines 'Panch, meaning five, with 'Amrit, signifying 'the nectar of gods'. This revered elixir blends five key ingredients in precise proportions to enhance their individual qualities. It holds profound significance in Hindu rituals, particularly during the worship of the deity Abhishek. After the ritual, it becomes prasad and is distributed among attendees.

Malpua: Sweet malpuas drizzled with sugar syrup; a delectable dish loved by Krishna.

Mohanbhog: A special sweet dish that is like halwa, often made with saffron and dry fruits, dedicated to Lord Krishna's divine feast.

Murabba: This preserved dish is also offered to Lord Krishna as a sweet dish.

Shakkarpaara: Crispy, diamond-shaped deep-fried dough sweetened with sugar and including ghee, shakkarpara enhances the sweet selection in the chhappan bhog.

Honey: A natural sweetener that represents the sweetness of devotion and purity.

Coconut Water: A refreshing and hydrating drink, offering a sense of purity and nourishment.

Fresh Fruits: Mango, banana, grapes, apple, and jamun are a variety of fresh fruits offered, representing Krishna's love for fruits.

Raisins: Dried grapes or kismish, symbolising the sweetness and richness of devotion.

Sweet Rice: It is a delectable rice pudding, emphasising sweetness and abundance.

Ghee: Clarified butter, or ghee, is a sacred ingredient symbolising purity and auspiciousness.


Supaari: These are betel nuts, often offered as a symbol of goodwill.

Saunf: Fennel seeds add a digestive and refreshing element to the meal.

Paan: The bhog ends with betel leaves, often offered as a symbolic gesture of hospitality and respect during festivities.

The dishes in chhappan bhog follow a certain order. The dairy products go first, followed by the savoury dishes, and finally the sweet dishes, which have desserts and fruits as well. It ends with paan, a mouth freshener. 

While Chhappan Bhog is an important part of Janmashtami celebrations in northern parts of India like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh, many other states have different rituals and celebrations as well, where the prasad or bhog differs slightly. In the southern parts of India, specifically in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, there is an elaborate Gokulashtami celebration. Some dishes that are prepared for the festival are vella seedai, uppu seedai, shrikhand, murukku, akkaravadisal (rice and moongdal pudding), malpua, pepper thattai (milagu thattai), rava laddoo, sweet appan, aval laddoo, and aval murukku, thattai, therattipal, and paal payasam.  

The Bengali chhappan bhog also includes narkol naru (coconut laddoo) with jaggery and taler bora (palm fritters). There is a famous saying in the Bengali language that goes like, "Taler bora kheye Nondo naache", which basically means Lord Krishna dances in joy and ecstasy after eating palm fritters. So, palm dishes like fritters and kheer are a major part of the prasadam. In other places, like Maharashtra, poha and sabudana khichdi are also very popular bhog prasads.