Dhenkanal: It is not the dry Prasad or Anna, dalma, and sweet recipes which are usually offered to goddess Laxmi during the Gajalaxmi Puja across the State. But, a unique recipe, of course the name of which is very familiar to every Odia, has become the cynosure of all eyes for the last two years in the famous Laxmi Puja festival in Dhenkanal.
Called ‘Dahi Pakhala’, this has been widely appreciated by the devotees, is being offered to the goddess of wealth at almost all puja pandals in the town. The concept was brainchild of the Ganesh Bazar Puja Committee, claimed to be the biggest one in the town, two years ago and it has now has spread to other organisations in the urban body
which have started following suit.
“We had been offering general Anna Prasad to Maa Laxmi for last 69 years since the puja kicked off. We had planned to prepare the Prasad in a distinctive style in the lines of ‘tanka torani’ of Puri Srimandir two years ago. And now it has become most preferred for all devotees”, Ganesh Bazar Puja Committee secretary Biswanath Behera
The special recipe is offered only on Thursday, the day which is dedicated to goddess Laxmi, during the 11-day spiritual extravaganza in the historical town. “It is not like typical Odia ‘Dahi Pakhala’ recipe but a mixture of curd and Anna Prasad. Hence, it is named by the devotees as ‘dahi pakhala’ even as there is no mythological
background behind the concept”, Behera added.
The demand of the special kind of Bhoga is going up every year. “The sole kind of dish was served to around 2500 people including committee members, well wishers, police personnel and mediapersons this years. The total expenses are borne exclusively by the committee”, he claimed. The committee secretary also averred that the popularity of the unique Prasad has only grown over time.
The puja committee doesnot opt for the traditional pot like brass bowl or earthen pot to serve the Prasad, but has come up with an idea to distribute it on lotus leaf. “The taste of the Pakhala Prasad becomes double when it is served on the lotus leaf plate. It is a rare occasion where we got the yummy leftover of our beloved goddess. We feel blessed after having the item with darshan of Maa Laxmi”, a local resident said.
Besides, the Pakhala Anna, a mix veg curry, saga (spinach), Pakudi (made of besan) and Puli (made of moong and black gram) are also offered to the goddess and served to the locals and devotees later.
Ganesh Bazar is not the sole committee which prepares the special recipe, but it has its presence in the Prasad menu of other puja pandals like Meena Bazar, Laxmi Bazar, Kaibalya Bazar, which witnessed a beeline on the Thursday to have a taste of it.
However, the other days have the routine menu of Sankudi Bhoga, Anna, Khiri and Puli, which are usually purchased by the pandal visitors at competitive price.