Adhara Pana is a combination of two words, ‘Adhara’ and ‘Pana’. In local Odia language, ‘Adhara’ means ‘Lip’ and ‘Pana’ means ‘Sweet Drink’. The Deities on their respective Chariots are offered a refreshing sweet drink named as ‘Adhara Pana’. The Deities are offered the drink in huge cylindrical earthen pots reaching up to the lips (Adhara) of the Deities, that’s why it is named as Adhara Pana. As per historical record, in the past Adhara Pana was offered to the Deities for three consecutive days during the Car Festival, on the 10th (Dashami), 11th (Ekadashi) and 12th (Dwadashi) days. Each day the drink is filled in nine earthen pots and the Deities are offered three pots on their respective Chariots. Now Adhara Pana ritual is observed only once, which is on the next day after completion of the Suna Vesha.
In the past Bada Odia Matha, Raghava Das Matha and Temple administration supply one earthen pot and the required ingredients for Adhara Pana for each Chariot, so each one of them supply three pots to three Chariots. Few years back there was some dispute between Bada Odia Matha and Raghava Das Matha and later on that dispute has been resolved with an agreement between the two. Now as per that agreement, one year Bada Odia Matha is providing the three pots and the required ingredients to Lord Balabhadra (Taladhwaja Chariot) and Raghava Das Matha is providing the six pots and required ingredients to Lord Jagannath (Nandighosa Chariot) and Goddess Subhadra (Devadalana Chariot). Next year they will rotate the responsibility and Raghava Das Matha will provide three pots and ingredients to Lord Balabhadra (Taladhwaja Chariot) and Bada Odia Matha will provide six pots and ingredients to Lord Jagannath (Nandighosa Chariot) and Goddess Subhadra (Devadalana Chariot).
Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra along with their chalanti/bije pratima (movable/representative idols) are offered this refreshment drink on the Chariots after exhaustion of their nine day Car Festival journey. Adhara Pana is made of a mixture of nine tasty ingredients - Milk, Cream, Cheese, Sugar, Banana, Camphor, Water, Black Pepper & Nutmeg.
The water used to prepare Adhara Pana is collected from a well in front of Chhauni Matha near the Lion’s gate (Singha dwara) of the temple. The Pani Apata servitors collectively bring the water from the well using small brass containers and take it to each Chariot. There is a huge brass container on each Chariot and the Pani Apata servitors pour the water in this huge container. They are bringing the water from the well repeatedly to each chariot until the required amount has been collected in the huge brass container. The Mahasuara servitors mix all the nine ingredients in this huge brass container to prepare the Adhara Pana, later on they transfer the Adhara Pana from this container to the earthen pots to finally offer it to the Deities.
The servitors hold a new cloth, known as ‘Tera’, in front of the Deities while transferring the Adhara Pana from the huge brass container to the earthen pots so that a single drop of the Adhara Pana will not splash on the body of the Deities. Adhara Pana is served after the ‘Madhyanna Dhoopa’ or noon meal of the Deities. Puja Panda servitors offer the Adhara Pana to the Deities by performing ‘Sodosha Upachar Pooja’. After the Adhara Pana has been offered to the Deities, the earthen pots are broken by the servitors and the drink spreads all over the Chariot.
The breaking of the earthen pots on the Chariots is purposefully done because the drink is not meant for the human being. It is believed that various invisible ghostly bodies, evil spirits and dissatisfied souls trail the Deities during the Car Festival. The Adhara Pana which spills over the Chariots after breaking of the earthen pots by the servitors is not meant for the devotees and servitors but for the subsidiary Deities (Parswa Devatas) of the chariots and all these invisible ghostly bodies. It is also believed that after consuming the Adhara Pana these ghostly bodies get satisfied and attain Mokshya (Salvation). Though the drink is not meant for the servitors and devotees, every year a large number of devotees assembled around the three Chariots with small pots in their hands to collect the spilled Adhara Pana from beneath the Chariots. It is also believed that the servitors and devotees collect the Adhara Pana so that they will offer it to the Deities they worship at their homes.