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Chhappan Bhog & the Rasas in Food

Food has always been a major part of all our celebrations, large and small. Of them, the Chhappan Bhog has to be the heartiest, with as many as 56 dishes prepared for Lord Krishna, during Janmashtami and also for Govardhan puja post Diwali.
But why 56?


Legend has it that Lord Krishna held up the Govardhan mountain for 7 days at a stretch to protect the villagers & livestock. Apparently Shri Krishna typically had 8 meals a day. Once the rains stopped, villagers offered their thanksgiving by preparing the Annakuta or mountain of food made up of the 8 meals per day multiplied times 7 = 56.

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The actual dishes vary across regions but typical offerings include –

Butter, yogurt, Ghee, Rice, Mohan Bhog, Shakkarpara, Ghewar, Rabri, Shrikhand, Khichdi, rice, Puri, Saag (cooked greens), Kadhi, dry nuts, papad, chutneys & more.

Of these, the dairy & sweet preparations are placed closest to the Lord as they are believed to be dearer to Him.
But beyond the concept & legend behind the bhog, I feel there’s a larger philosophy at work.


Our 5 fingers have 5 rasas – Sweet, Salty, Sour, Spicy & Savoury. When we cook with our hands, these five rasas get transferred to the food.
Interestingly, Rasa can also connote the kind of relationship one can have with Shri Krishna. These are five in number too – Santa, Dasya, Sakya, Vatsalya & Madhurya.


Rasa, is basically a source of emotion, just like food, it brings joy, brings back memories & opens up conversations.
When food is prepared for & offered to God, Lord Krishna in this case, it is believed to become even more sacred.
In Sri Jagannath Temple, Puri, it’s a daily ritual to offer no less than 56 dishes to the deity.


At the Shri SwamiNarayan temple in London, every year the Annakut is a grand display that stretches over seven tiers, with more than 1000 dishes, stretching over 85 feet!


All of this food, being ‘accepted’ by Krishna & then distributed among his devotees symbolises the Rasas or relationship with Him being established. Isn’t that beautiful?
So, this Janmashtami, let’s celebrate the Rasas of our oneness with God with the Rasas in food.

Comments

  1. It was amazing!!!!
    We actually don’t know about this!!!!
    Very very thankful for the information…. πŸ€—πŸ€—

  2. Just amazing information….lots of details i was unaware of ..god bless you ranveer for not not only making cooking a n art and ritual but enlightening us on history of what we take for granted …kudos

  3. You are wonderful RB..
    Thank you so much sharing this information with us..
    Always ready to know about all things regarding of festival or food or masalas from you..
    You are rally amazing .πŸ‘Œβ€οΈβ€οΈ

  4. It’s really wonderful to know the philosophy behind 56 blog,Thankyou Chef for sharing this and happy Janamasthami

  5. Thanks a ton dear chef… You not only share amazing recepies but amazing information too. I was not aware of this 56 bhog secret. Going to ask my Hindu husband πŸ˜„Will share with my students too.

  6. Waaw chef many many thanks for the lovely information not only this you always share such information in every episode.. lots of love and respect to you πŸ™ happy janmashtami πŸ™

  7. Thank you sir for so much information, I was really unaware of why 56? May God bless you and your family 😊😊😊😊😊😊😊

  8. Thank you chef for sharing such a interesting information with us…
    Aur apko bhi Krishna Janmashtami ki hardik shubhkamnaeπŸ™….

  9. Incredible! I love the facts and stories you share about food. Please continue to share more of such trivia!

  10. Thank you chef, for this great information. I didn’t know about five rasas. I love cooking food and you always make the cooking more interesting and informative. Happy janmashtmi to you and your family and specially to my cute Ishan.😊😊

  11. Thanks for sharing the information. I look forward for the information more than the recipes. Thanks once again for enlightening us

  12. This is way too amazing information Chef 😍😍😍 You always bring lot of valuable content to the table (Pun intended πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰) Thanks a ton for this perfect blend of food with culture and stay blessed always πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—

  13. I had asked my parents this question many times but I did not get the answer because they didn’t know about this. But after reading your blog today, I finally got a heartfelt answer. Once again thank you so much Chef…

  14. Thnku for thi valueble information chef
    As we all know about Lord Krishna that he raised the Govardhan mountain to save the villagers but has made himself aware of its nuances.

  15. You & Your knowledge, insight about food & relationship with our culture just amazed me..
    Thanks for sharing this with us may God bless you with good health
    Jai Sri Krishna

  16. Thanks chef for sharing the story or may be the logic behind chhappan bhog.
    I might not be able to prepare 56 dishes, but I will definitely try as much as possible.
    My 7 year old boy wants to have a chocolate cake for Krishna’s birthday.
    I guess that is going to be one of the dishes and hope Krishna accepts our offerings.
    Happy Krishna janmashtmi to you and all who might be reading this comment.

    πŸ™‚

  17. Beautifully explained ❀️
    Never knew the symbolic meaning of 56 bhog.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Happy janmashtmi 🌹🌹🌷🌷

  18. I really enjoyed this kind of knowledgeable information, thanks to you πŸ˜€ happy janmashtami to all

  19. These were some precious information chef. It is amazing how food and philosophy are so closely tied together. Thankyou for this.

  20. I really appreciate you for connecting your passion with history . People often forget the origin behind anything and then try to excel but you stay stuck by the roots and that is something I really admire about you. Infact Ranveer, you make it even more interesting when you narrate it! I love your cookery channel.(Also makes my mouth water everytime I see a new recipe πŸ˜›).

  21. A beautiful way you have to presenting in every recipes and behind the history .l always watch your recipes.Thank you Chef

  22. Hi Ranveer,
    It’s awesome to read this, I always keeps you following and the way you describe spice route n food trail. By profession I m a techie entrepreneur. But I love to cook food try different recipe and to serve and keep trying new recipes.
    One more thing please do visit Puri Jagannath temple and unfold the chappan bhog daily prepared and offered to lord Jagannath on religiously.
    It would be our honour n privilege to host you and your family to the land of Kalinga(Odisha) β€œIndia’s best kept secret”
    Regards
    Saroj

  23. You make every dish so special by sharing the beautiful stories behind them… thank you for sharing with commoners like us the importance of every dish..

  24. Very informative and when reading this i feel like you narrating it nd i m listening,thank u for this excellent blogπŸ™

  25. What a philosophical thought! Loved the explanation – especially about the 5 rasas in our hand that gets transferred to the food during cooking! Always love your blog and videos. Thank you!

  26. Thank you sir for such informative and articulate account of chhappan bhog. It’s a great pleasure to know about our rich heritage. You do this job quite effectively.

  27. Amazing thank you for sharing this knoweldge with us till now I don’t know about 56 bhog the knowledge and the story and relation which you share is amazed me thank you so much sir

  28. Krishnam vande jagadgurum. Thank you so much for elevating the significance of food and its divine role in all our evolution process. Love the way u bring in logic hodden in history of any food or culinary practices. Great tribute to our ancestors…..not just food also enlightening us about lifestyle in general.

  29. I could visualize you standing in studio and showing 5 Rasas with your hands and describing the food.. with special focus on Ghee and Butter.. and then wearing that mischievous smile like Krishna himself.

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