The Times Temple Food Trail #Bharatkazaika

The Times Temple Food Trail #Bharatkazaika Chappan Bhog

The Times Temple Food Trail #Bharatkazaika

The Times Temple Food Trail was a unique and memorable travel platform for me. My latest mantra of life is to travel as much as I can as I believe that experiences give us lasting joy while material things do not. I am going to travel coz ”if not now, when?”, as one of my friend keeps chanting.

The Times group had started these Times Passion Trails which cater to everyone’s pet passions. Times Passion Trails are tailor-made, experimental and informative trails, where ardent travellers embark on theme-focused trails led by an Experience Architect and this was the first The Times Temple Food Trail.

Flavours of Your Passion

As I had come across the latest Times Temple Food trail, I registered just within a few hours of the closing time. What enticed me was their byline-“Taste the flavours of your passion.” Being a food blogger I jumped at this opportunity. Temples always fascinate me and food, of course, is close to my heart. It was sold as a fascinating ‘food for the soul’ journey, covering places like Delhi, Mathura, Vrindavan, Jaipur and Nathdwara. With a peek into the ‘Kitchen of the Gods’ and find out how divine food is prepared inside intriguing temples of India like Jagannath and Govind Devji Temple and the promise of discovering an ‘Inner God’ by the end of the trail.

Dr.Pushpesh Pant The Times Temple Food Trail
Dr Pushpesh Pant..Pic courtesy Times Temple Food Trail

Dr Pushpesh Pant- Food Historian

The curator for our trail was Dr Pushpesh Pant, an acclaimed Food Historian, a Scholar from Banaras Hindu University and a storehouse of information on Temples in India! He is also a Padma Shri awardee. He was a walking talking encyclopedia and spoke about the temples and the foods with such ease. We were all ears and tried to soak in as much as we could.

Those passionate about food often say it is a path that leads to the divinity of the body and soul. Maybe that’s why food has always been an integral part of every ritual. The Krishna Ras Trail we followed explored various godly meals. Food is a great unifying factor as it energizes our mind and soul. It is said that eating together while sitting cross-legged on the floor reduces people’s perceptions of inequality based on race, gender, or socioeconomic background.

The Temple Food Trail -Spiritual Foodies

Some religions claim that God dwells within you when you eat certain foods. Bhog or Prasadam has always been a special part in the Hindu rituals in India. With the plethora of gods and goddesses in India, there are a huge number of food varieties that are cooked and offered in Indian Temples. This trail followed foods in the Krishna temples only. We were a motley group of 30, who considered ourselves as spiritual foodies!

Jagannath Temple Delhi

Jagannath Temple, New Delhi
Herb Tea

Jagannath Temple, New Delhi

We started out with a grand launch at the basement of Jagannath Temple, Hauz Khas, New Delhi. We were served a unique appetizer in clay cups. It was a flavoured tea with galangal, pepper and other herbs which tickled the palate. There was a classical singer, singing paeans to Lord Krishna and then the ceremonial lamp was lit by Mr Raj Jain, CEO, Times Group, Pushpesh Pant & Mr Pradhan.

Lord Jagannath

We went up to the temple for the ceremonial evening aarti and the Chappan Bhog was arranged all around the deity. After the bhog, we were led to the dining hall to partake the prasad. Chappan Bhog is the 56 food items offered to Lord Jagannath in the holy Temple of Puri, located in Odisha, India. It is also known as Mahaprasad. We were in Delhi and the cooks were flown in especially from Puri to serve us this divine meal. And we were told that instead of just 56 varieties we were going to be served a mindboggling 81! My jaw just dropped at this smorgasbord spread for us which was ambrosial, to put it mildly.

The Times Temple Food Trail Chappan Bhog
Chappan Bhog offered to the Lord
Chappan Bhog
Chappan Bhog The Times Food Trail
Chappan Bhog served to us
Chappan Bhog

The Temple Food Trail -Food for the Soul

The Chappan Bhog includes unusual items like rice, ghee rice, mixed rice, cumin seed and asafoetida- rice mixed with salt, dishes like sweet dal, plain dal mixed with vegetables, mixed curries of different types, Saaga Bhaja, Khatta, porridge etc. Dry confectioneries were prepared with sugar, gur, wheat flour, ghee, milk and paneer. It is said that every day 56 types of Prasad are offered to the Lord during the time of worship and all of these are prepared in the kitchens of the temple and sold to the devotees.

The Mahaprasad is cooked only in earthen pots and the fuel has to be firewood only. I was awestruck at the food which was served to us on plantain leaves. My tummy was full just looking at the tantalizing spread and taking in the exotic aroma. Mind you there is no use of garlic, ginger, onion, or tomato, like most Indian curries yet the food tasted awesome.

Chappan Bhog on a Plantain Leaf

Chappan Bhog served
Chappan Bhog The Times Food Trail

I was waiting to be served all the dishes before partaking this gourmet spread as I wanted to see how my heaped plate looked. I kept counting till 50 and then lost count as the food was being served fast and I was also watching the others excitedly relishing the delicious Prasad. It was difficult to eat so much food but I tried to savour every morsel I had and each tasted delectable. I wish I had more time to analyse each item and guess what went into it.

The Temple food trail gang
The Motley Group

Finally, after this once in a lifetime experience, our more than satiated group flopped into their comfortable beds back at the TOI guest house. Well needed rest before the adventure of the next day at Mathura.

#BharatKaZaika is a blogging event conducted by #BlogBoosterIndia. Hosted by Aditi, Mahesh, Pragun, Preeti, Saba, Sanjota, Sudip, Suhasini, Supriya and sponsored by Habhit Wellness Private Ltd.

BhRt Ka Zaika
Habhit wellness

This Post is written under my Food Travels for #BlogBoosterIndia #BharatKaZaika

43 thoughts on “The Times Temple Food Trail #Bharatkazaika”

  1. wow it seems you had a great experience there.. I loved the whole narration and had a great time while reading your experience. Especially the Chappan bhog is looking so delicious and i really admire the beauty of indian culture where we have different varieties of food to celebrate different occasions 😀

  2. Lovely post harjeet. Being a temple lover myself I loved reading your post especially mahaprasad being cooked only in earthen pots. It is verydofficult nowadays to follow that rhythm.

  3. Wow this is so interesting! As a foodie traveller, I’m dying to know the details- how much does it cost? How often does it happen? Can you choose the places you want to visit along with a theme?
    I had no clue about this. Thanks so much for telling me!

    • Thanks Noor…this was in 2015…The Times group has these passion trails— Food, Music, wellness. Photography, temple u can choose according to ur passion. We did the Temple Food Trail from Delhi to Varanasi, Mathura, Jaipur and Nathdwara. I paid 30k from Delhi. You can check out this link but I do not think there is any active trail right now

  4. Wow! What an amazing post Harjeet. I enjoyed reading each and every word of it along with the drooling pics. Must have really been a memorable and lifetime experience. Great!

  5. Temple food is always love. I love the Puliyogare from few temples in Bengaluru. How much ever we try in a home we don’t get that authentic taste! Very well articulated! 🙂

    • Thank you….True…the Pulihora here in Andhra is amazing. First thing I do when I go tot he temple is get the Pulihora. Like the kheer in the Langar, I can never get that taste at home. Thats divine food

  6. Wonderful post and good Narration Harjeet. Somehow, even if we cook the same food with exactly the same ingredients and recipes the temple food would always taste better, maybe it’s mixed with spirituality there and its, not at home

  7. BharatKaZaika amaze everyone with its diversity. Its so rich that with a lot of stories associated to it. Parsad always comes out tasty. Surprisingly, even if we don’t taste it before offering it to the God but the taste, ratio of ingredients is perfect.

  8. This must have been a memorable experience. I am also a big follower of Dr. Pushpendra. His way of talking food history is simply outstanding. When I was in Delhi, once I saw the puja of annkut in Akshardham temple. Then also chappan bhog was prepared and offered to the almighty with a proper ritual. I was mouth opened to see the variety of food offered to the deity there. It was a great read!

  9. Totally unique post. Though I visit a lot of temples but never saw food from this angle. One has never travelled if they havent tried local food.
    #ContemplationOfaJoker #Jokerophilia

  10. You must visit the Anana Bazaar in Puri and have the Mahaprasad there once, it’s an unforgettable experience.
    And there are more than a 100 food items that are served to the Lord daily.Glad you enjoyed it.

  11. What a Food trail!! I dont know why but I feel so happy after reading your post. Maybe it is the way you have brought the experience alive through your words. and what a plethora of dishes you have shown through your pics. Temple food is truly amazing but tasting such a wide variety…is truly an out-of-this-world experience.
    Thank you for sharing this experience. Loved it
    #preetispanorama #BharatKaZaika

    • Thank you so much for your appreciation Preeti. It was an out of the world experience…the cooks specially came from Puri to make the bhoj. They never leave the temple there but made an exception…So I feel truly blessed.


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