Festival and temple foods- As fascinating as our Culture!!


India is also referred to as land of Temples since almost every 3km you travel at any part of India, you will find a Temple. The most mesmerizing fact of our temple culture is the food which is served or made available to the devotees as Prasadam.

An unmatched extravaganza of culinary delights still followed today and is a major attraction for any tourist visiting India on those festive days. Even in 200 BC, Patanjali notes that only vatakas (vadas) are eaten on vatakini Paurnamasi day. Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated to on the occasion of the victory of good over evil, is an occasion for sweetmeats, which take the form of moulded animals and toys made of pure sugar, or of a sweet–stuffed paratha called poli(today’s pooranpoli).

During Vinayak Chaturthi, a sweet puff called modaka, a favourite of the Lord Ganesha, is made while in South India a salted preparation of whole soaked chickpea called sundal is necessary for this festival. The south Indian New Year is celebrated with a boiled rice preparation called Pongal, a mixture of rice and jaggery. Temples have their own share of special foods and even the Prasad offered to the presiding deities in different temples can be quite distinctive. Padmanabhaswami temple in Thiruvananthapuram has a special avail that uses traditional vegetables, fresh coconut and coconut oil, and no mustard seeds. The Muruga temple of the Palani Hills has its own panchamrita of crystal sugar, honey, ghee, cardamom and fruits. Some of the most complicated preparations of temple food are perhaps those at the Jagannath Temple at Puri, Orissa. On any given day, almost 750 burners (called as chulhas) produce hundreds of dishes in terms of variety which includes indigenous vegetables as well as Dal, rice, jaggery and spices. Only ghee procured from cow milk is used for all the preparations.

Food in the Indian context is just like a story or the so-called Episodes as we can link in today world.

Prof Dr. Sanjeeb Pal
Amity School of Hospitality (ASH)
Amity University Rajasthan

Amity School of Hospitality