RELIGION
12/16/2011 05:01 pm ET

For 'Byanjan Dwadashi,' Gourabihar Ashram In Puri, India Prepares A 505-Course Meal For Krishna

Byanjan Dwadashi is an annual religious festival that has been celebrated in Orissa, India for centuries. On this day, devotees prepare food that is offered to the divine trio Lord Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra. Legend has it that on this day, centuries ago, mother Yasoda prepared a lavish feast in order to appease her son Lord Krishna, a manifestation of Jagannatha.

On Dec. 7th, hundreds of devotees gathered together at the Gourabihar ashram in Puri, Orissa and prepared 505 food items that were offered to the temple gods. The food included different types of rice, lentil, vegetable curries and sweet dishes. The food was vegetarian, and according to Vaishnava religious custom, prepared without onion and garlic. After the food was offered to the deities, the devotees partook of the prasadam (literally, blessed food). The practice of sharing food with one's loved and dear ones is a particularly important aspect of this festival.

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