Jagannath devotees here need not trek to Puri to partake of the 56 assorted dishes offered daily to the Lord at His 12th century abode. Soon, they can have the mahaprasad delivered to their doorsteps just at the click of the mouse.
He said though the logistics were yet to be chalked out, devotees would need to place the order and make online payment on the temple’s official website (jagannath.nic.in).
The mahaprasad will be transported in specialised vans and in the initial stage, delivered at the temple information centre at Jaydev Bhavan here from where the devotees have to collect their share.
“The prasad will be cooked in the roshashala (temple kitchen) and carried in traditional earthen pots. The specialised van will ensure that the original aroma, flavours and temperature of the cooked food are maintained. Subsequently, we will introduce home delivery service,” said Padhee.
He said mahaprasad available at various places in Puri costs anywhere between Rs 60 and Rs 500, depending on the quality and quantity.
“We have not decided the delivery price for Bhubaneswar as of now. However, revenue generation is not the objective. We just want devotees to get the mahaprasad without having to go to Puri,” he added.
It is, however, unlikely that the service will be extended to other parts of the state. “We want to do it on a small scale to avoid any mismanagement,” the temple chief administrator said.
This idea has evoked mixed reaction among servitors at the Puri temple. Jagannath Swain Mohapatra, the chief servitor of Lord Jagannath, welcomed it. “The plan sounds good to me. However, the administration has to ensure that devotees get unadulteratedmahaprasad from the temple kitchen itself and not from local vendors,” said the 72-year-old daitapati popularly known as Jaguni Bhai.
He suggested that helpline numbers be introduced as well so that people could make direct queries and give feedback about the quality of the mahaprasad that would be delivered to them.
On the other hand, another senior servitor Ramakrushna Das Mohapatra appeared critical about the proposal. “We are providing mahaprasad on special request to places outside the state such as Calcutta and Raipur. But sending mahaprasad everyday to Bhubaneswar will not help in promoting Jagannath culture in any way,” he said.
Devotees in Bhubaneswar, however, have responded positively. “This is exciting news. Many people, like my 75-year-old father, who are not able to go to Puri, will now be able to have the mahaprasad sitting at home. This will be a blessing for the old and the disabled,” said Sabita Mohanty, 49, a schoolteacher.
The temple administration is also planning to install a digital display board in Bhubaneswar, which will inform devotees about the schedule of rites and rituals at the Jagannath temple so that devotees can plan their travel to Puri accordingly.
Similar display boards have been put up outside the temple entrance, at the railway station and sea beach in Puri.