The unique feature of the kitchen is that, only earthen pots are used to cook the food.
In local Odia language earthen pot is known as 'Kudua'. The earthen pots are used only once for cooking.
Earthen pots that are used for cooking are not repeated again the next day, that means everyday new
earthen pots are used for cooking food in the kitchen. There is a category of servitors in Jagannath Temple
called 'Kumbhakaras' or potters, who provide the earthen pots required for cooking foods.
The earthen pots used for cooking foods are provided by Kumbhakara Nijoga Society. The potters of Kumbharapada, Jenapur,
Nuasahi and Tikarapada localities of Puri town supply these pots the temple kitchen.
Several types and size of earthen pots are used in the kitchen for cooking and for selling and
distribution of the Mahaprasad to the devotees. Each earthen pot has the capacity to serve specific
number of devotees based on their average consumptions. For the convenience of the pilgrims the earthen
pots have been named after several Mathas of Puri, like Karma Bai pot, Dasia Matha pot, Samadhi pot,
Emar pot, and Numbari pot etc.
Earthen pots for daily cooking and serving
Big Earthern pots: Bai, Samadhi, Ramadasia,Emar
Medium Earthern Pots: Bada matha, Sana matha, Chakrambari,Nambari, Dhala, Bhata
small Earthern pots: Sana Bhata, Chaka, Pakhal, Angasa, Pakia
Earthern Bowl: Pahanti, Majhala,Chati
Flattened Earthened Plate: Puli, Pali, Kata
Why only earthen pots are used in the kitchen?
Cooking in earthen pots is an age-old tradition not only in Puri but also in different parts of India.
There are many reasons on why earthen pots are preferred over metallic pots.
- Earthen pots are cheaper than metallic pots.
- Earthen pots are biodegradable and naturally environment friendly. Now a days we are more environment cautious, but hundred years back in the Jagannath temple they started using clay pots for cooking.
- Earthen pot is more hygienic, no need to wash and clean since it is a one-time use. Pots that are used for cooking in the Jagannath temple kitchen are not used again, each day fresh earthen pots are used for cooking.
- As per Ayurveda, the food cooked in earthen pots are more delicious and healthier as compared to food cooked in metal pots. Earthen pots impart the food with a pleasant earthy smell.
- Once the Prasad cooked in the kitchen, it usually takes hours to reach to the devotees due to many predefined processes to convert it to Mahaprasad. Clay is a bad conductor of heat, so the food cooked in earthen pots remain warm longer, up to 5 to 6 hours, so the devotees can enjoy the taste and freshness of the Mahaprasad.
- Earthen pots are red in color. Red color is auspicious and sacred in Hindu religion. Apart from this, there is scientific reason behind using of red color earthen pots, they can resist extreme heat and cooking can be completed within precise time.
- There is flexibility in cooking in earthen pot. In case, there is a heave in arrival of people, it is easy to add more earthen pots to make more Mahaprasada. There is no need to wash any utensil as every time a new earthen pot is used.
- The hearths are specifically designed for cooking in earthen pots, helping reduce the quantity of firewood.
Source: Odisha Review Magazine