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Dhanu Muan and Pahili Bhoga

- T.K.V. Karuna tkvkaruna@gmail.com

Dhanu Sankranti is celebrated on the first day of lunar Pousha month. The month of Pousha is considered the month of plenty. After collecting the harvest there is a festival of general rejoicing with special sweets of ‘Muan’(a traditiona­l sweet dish) which is offered to Lord Jagannath in puja. In the month of Dhanu Sankranti, Gopal Ballav Bhog is offered along with Pahali Bhog (the first offering).

The Pahili Bhog is the traditiona­l morning offering to the Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Goddess Subadhra (famously known as the Trinity) which continues from the Dhanu Sankranti to Makara Sankranti as per the Odia almanac.

Dhanu Muan and Pahili Bhoga are alse offered at Kantilo & Godess Mangala at Kakatpur.

Gopal Vallabh Bhog:

The offering is the first one of the daily Prasad to Lord Jagannath. The Bhogs are offered at the Anabsar Pindi. Breakfast is a seven item treat – Khoya, Lahuni (butter), sweetened coconut grating, coconut water, and popcorn sweetened with sugar known as khai and curd and ripe bananas.

Pahili Bhoga:

First Food offered is early in the morning. It is a delicious Khechedi preparatio­n. The episode runs that as Mahalaxmi, the divine consort moves to her father’s house, Yosoda, the mother of Lord herself prepare this delicious Khechedi to the utmost satisfacti­on of her son.

As the celestial sun enters Sagittariu­s, the people of Odisha observe Dhanu Sankranti with much joy and gaiety. “Around 27 types of delicacies comprising of different pithas are prepared for the Pahili Bhog. Dhanu Muan, a special sweet made of sweetened rice flakes is a main attraction for the devotees who flock to the temple for the bhog. This offering continues for about a month till Makar Sankranti (January 14-15).

During this period, the people refrain from anything auspicious like marriages, engagement­s, thread ceremonies, etc. World famous biggest open-air theatre Dhanu Jatra is held during this period in Odisha’s Bargarh City. The 11-day long Jatra showcases scenes from Lord Krishna’s birth to the death of the demon king Kansa. Metaphoric­ally, Bargarh becomes Mathura during this festival and river Jeera represents river Yamuna.

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