Rashmi Rekha Das

Durga Puja rituals remain incomplete without the offering of ‘bhog’ or ‘prasad’ to the Goddess. Every Puja Mandap has its own set of rules and rituals revolving around Prasad. 

Some offer cooked rice, while others don’t. Many offer vegetarian food to the goddess, but some organisers also offer non-vegetarian dishes like fish curry to the Goddess. However, a unique feature of Durga Puja at Cuttack Gopalpur is that the organisers here offer ‘Dahi Pakhala’ to the deity on Vijaya Dashami.  

It is believed that 'Dahi Pakhala' is offered to the Goddess Durga just to calm her anger after killing Mahisasura. 

This year, organisers have prepared 'Dahi Pakhala' for thousands of devotees. Apart from the Durga Puja committee at Cuttack Gopalpur, organisers of the Bhubaneswar Station Bazaar Puja Committee have also cooked 'Dahi Pakhala' for the deity and devotees as well. 

Many people think that 'Dahi Pakhala' is merely a mix of curd, water and rice. But that’s not true. Ginger slices, jeera (cumin) powder, green chilli paste, lemon juice, black pepper powder, pieces of coriander leaves and paste prepared from mint leaves, along with several other ingredients, also go into it to make it a gourmet’s delight. 

Describing the reason why 'Dahi Pakhala' is offered to Mother Goddess on Dashami, priest Raghunath Das of Cuttack Gopalpur Durga Puja Mandap said, "On Navami, the Goddess had to be worshipped to calm her anger because she had become extremely angry after killing Mahisasura. Aparajita Puja is performed on the last day of Durga Puja. As the name indicates, the rituals glorify the invincible nature of the Mother Goddess. It is also a sort of thanksgiving to her for her victory over Mahisasura. As the Goddess has become violent after slaying Mahisasura, 'Dahi Pakhala' is offered on Dashami to calm her down before bidding adieu to her."