#338 Journeys of Mahaprasad : Global Flows and Refiguring Food and Ritual in Odisha, India

Coresponding author's contact details

First name Nilika Middle name Last name Mehrotra
Title Professor Organization / Institution Jawaharlal Nehru University Department Centre for the Study of Social Systems
Address C 573 Paschimabad JNU Postal / Zip code 110067 Country IN
E-Mail Hidden Phone number Hidden Presenting author Yes

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Abstract title

Journeys of Mahaprasad : Global Flows and Refiguring Food and Ritual in Odisha, India

Abstract text

A strong relationship between food and ritual has existed in Puri, Odisha, one of the most important pilgrim places in India’s sacred Hindu Geography. The food offering made to Lord Jagannath is transformed as Mahaprasad, greatly valued by Odiyas and other devout Hindus. The Jagannath temple entails the distribution and sale of both dry and wet prasad for thousands of pilgrims daily. This paper charts out how in a recent years, Mahaprasad has started to travel wide and far as it has acquired a form of a commercial food. Technologies of travel, packaging and deliveries have ensured that the devotees are able to access and savour it without visiting Puri. Mahaprasad has become an important part of feasts on occasions of Death and Marriages of the elite. It is interesting to note how sacred mingles with the profane, vegetarian with non vegetarian and so on. In the process Mahaprasad acquires a life of its own. Sensorial, dietary and sacred injunctions shape the way this prasad is savoured and religious faith is reinforced. Renewal of ritual order implicates the sacred through transmission of substances embodying the divine blessings and global flows sustain sociality and religiosity.

Conference topic

Panel no. 104 - Performing Substances, Transmitting Legacies

Preferred format


Abstract Review

This abstract was reviewed on 2021-01-07 10:21h by Federica Juliana

Reviewer decision