Before 'Niladree Bije' and after 'Suna Besha', an interesting ritual named 'Adhara Pana' takes place on the chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra parked near the Lions’ gate of Srimandir.
This unique ritual is observed on Asadha Shukla Pakhya Dwadashi tithi.
The uniqueness of the ritual is that each deity is offered a sweet drink (pana) from three huge cylindrical earthen pots on their respective chariot.
As per the tradition, while the pots are jointly arranged by Shree Jagannath Temple Administration, Raghab Das Mutt and Badaodia Mutt, they are manufactured by the potters of Kumbharpada.
The potters besides maintaining hygiene of the dish follow strict food restrictions during the whole process when they prepare the pots. Women are not allowed to touch even the raw materials used, let alone the pots.
As per tradition, the SJTA and Raghab Das Mutt arrange for all the ingredients that go into preparing the pana.
Each of the pots contains the drink prepared from milk, sugar, banana and some spices.
The aromatic drink is offered to the deities after Sodasha Upachara Puja. The pots are so placed as they should reach the lips of the deities.
The portmanteau of the ritual ‘Adhara Pana’ is ‘Adhara’, which means lip, and ‘Pana’, which means sweet drink.
After the drink is offered to the deities, the servitors wittingly smash the pots so that the drink spills over the chariots.
The drink is not for human consumption. It is only for the subsidiary deities on the chariots who guard Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra during their journey.
It is also believed that evil spirits wait for this day to consume it to attain salvation.