March 26, 2017 9:03:47 pm
When you think of ‘prasad’ distributed at local temples, names that usually crosses your mind are of desi sweets such as laddoo and pedha. Or in the case of south India, payasam and sweet pongal are the common food that one expects at temples. However, one temple in outskirts of Chennai has moved beyond these Indian traditional mithais and opted for some Amercian prasads. Yes, the Jaya Durga Peetham in Padappai is offering brownies, burgers, cracker sandwiches and cherry tomato salads at the temple.
The trendy fast-food menu at the temple is also certified by FSSAI and each item is marked with an expiry date, reports the Times of India. Not just the menu but the temple has modernised its services too. “Here, you will find visitors slipping token into vending machines to collect boxes of their ‘pret-a-prasadam’, prepared with precision in the automated temple kitchen,” the report says.
“The idea was to show that anything that is nutritious and prepared in a clean kitchen with a clean mind can be served to God. It doesn’t have to be only traditional dishes,” says K Sri Sridhar, a herbal oncologist who helped set up the temple. He also said that the unique offerings have made the temple a tourist hotspot and also extremely popular with the locals too.
Interestingly, the temple authorities have also started offering ‘birthday cake prasadam’, where the temple they deliver the cake to the devotees on their birthdays. The facility is managed through the temple records that notes addresses and birth dates of everyone coming to the temple to offer prayers. “It’s a hit among the elderly devotees because coming from the temple it adds a special touch to the occasion,” says Sridhar.
One such elderly woman celebrating her 81st birthday was elated by the special cake from the temple. The cake which was delivered with agar deepam (traditional oil lamp) instead of candles was the highlight of the day.
With the motto to serve God the food that “we relish”, this temple is certainly one of the coolest religious places. However, this might not be a completely new concept as many ISKCON temples and Buddist monasteries too offer such items as prasad. The only difference being it’s usually the public who buy such items as offerings that are in turn gave away as prasad.
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