Habisyalis Face Tough Time As Mahaparasad Cost Goes Up Three Times In Puri Jagannath Temple

Puri: Even as thousands of devotees thronged Odisha’s Puri town to have darshan of deities in Jagannath temple during holy month of Kartik, the cost of ‘Mahaprasad’ (cooked prasad) has gone up three-fold.

From the beginning of Kartik, the devotees, particularly widows, turned up to spend the entire month by observing ‘Habisa Brata’. They follow a very strict routine during the month. Getting up early in the morning, they offer puja to Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra in the temple. They take food once in the day as part of the penance.

They prefer taking Mahaprasad as the only food during the day. With its cost going up alarmingly, the devotees find themselves in a tough situation.

According to sources, a meal for one person consisting of rice, dal and besar (vegetable curry) that used to cost around Rs 100 last week, is now sold at about Rs 300. A special spread with rice, dal, dalma, besar, mahura (vegetable curry) and saga has gone up from Rs 300 to nearly Rs 500 now.

The preparation and sale of Mahaprasad is managed by Suar Mahasuar Nijog (a servitors’ group) of the temple. The Nijog admitted prices have gone up, but blamed some middlemen for the rise in the costs.

“We have increased the cost of Mahaprasad slightly as we have to pay money to the temple administration under different heads. But, some middlemen are purchasing Mahaprasad from us and selling to devotees outside the temple at exorbitant prices. The temple administration should regulate it,” TOI quoted Nijog secretary Narayan Mahasuar as saying.

Besides the middlemen, servitors of some other groups were also interfering in the sale of Mahaprasad and making money by jacking up the price. These servitors were also crowding Anand Bazaar and misleading the devotees, the sources said.

Though the temple administration has banned sale of “Tanka Turani” at Anand Bazaar, some servitors were  involved in its sale leading to chaos in the dining space of the temple, they added.

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