Adhara Pana: A Sweet Drink For ‘Rath Rakhyak’

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Puri: A day after Suna Besha, when the sibling deities glittered in golden attire, huge pots filled with sweet drink are carried onto the three chariots as offerings.

This interesting ritual of Adhara Pana, which literally translates as Adhara – Lip and Pana – Juice, is performed on Asadha Sukla Pakhya Dwadashi.

During the ritual, the terracotta pots are placed on each chariots parked near the Lion Gate’s of the 12th century shrine. These reach up to the Lords’ lips.

The pots contain 100 litres of a mixture of milk cream, cheese, sugar, banana, camphor, nutmeg, black pepper and other such spices. These are then broken to liberate the souls/spirits and other invisible beings residing in the chariots.

The refreshment is only for the Gods and Goddesses, who stayed on the chariots during Rath Yatra to guard Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra which is why they are known as ‘Rath Rakhyak’. Devotees are forbidden to partake it.

The huge pots are prepared by the potters of Kumbharpada. Earlier, 12 clay pots were used for the purpose. However, servitors now serve the pana in only nine pots.
As per the tradition, Shree Jagannath Temple Administration and the authorities of Raghab Das Mutt and Badaodia Mutt arrange the clay pots from local potters, who use three sacks of fine soil and a sack of sand to make these. It takes them at least a month to shape three special clay pots for the ritual.
“The soil is filtered and all stones and garbage removed. The sand is mixed and the paste is prepared after which, the pots are shaped. After sun drying for a few days, these are baked. Ideally, the height and circumference of a clay pot are around four feet each,” said a potter.

The potters maintain utmost hygiene and follow food restrictions while preparing these pots. Women are not allowed to touch these pots.

Usually, Adhara Pana is offered after Madhyahna Dhupa (noon-meal), which is followed by Sodasha Upachara Puja (16 types of worship).

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