Bhubaneswar: A day after the Rajrajeswara Besha or Suna Besha of Lord Balabhadra, Lord Jagannath and Devi Subhadra held atop the chariots, “Adhara Pana”, a special type of drink which is a mix of cheese, milk, unrefined sugar, fruits, herbs, and spices is offered to the deities on the chariots.
Adhara Pana ritual, the penultimate ritual of the Rath Yatra festival of Lord Jagannath, the last being Niladri Bije is held on Aashadha Sukla Dwadashi (12th day of bright moon phase of the Hindu lunar month of Aashadha).
This sweet flavoured milk-based drink is offered to the deities in nine large barrel-shaped earthen pitchers atop the chariots (three on each chariot) after completion of “sodasha upachara pooja”.
Many believe that the refreshing drink cools the limbs of the Lords after a tiring journey on chariots and the subsequent Suna Besha ritual.
Each pitcher measures approximately one metre in height which touches the lips of the deities hence the name Adhara Pana. In Odia, adhara means lips and pana stands for a drink. It is generally served after the ‘Madhyanna Dhoopa” or noon meal of the deities.
Mahasuara servitors prepare the drinks on each chariot. At the time of the offering of “Adhara Pana” Bhittarachha, Taluchha, and Palia Puspalaka hold a new cloth (in a horizontal way) in front of the deities.
Pani Apata servitors collectively bring hundred pots of water from a well at the Chaunni Mutt (near Singhadwara or Lions gate of the Srimandir) and pour the same in a big brass container (Handa) which is kept there on the chariot.
The Mahasuara servitors mix milk, cheese, banana, spices, etc. in the said water and prepare a special drink (pana).
Pujapanda servitors offer the said drink to the deities. After the offering of “pana” to the deities on the chariots, the servitors smash the earthen pitchers.
The “pana” which spills over the chariots after the breaking of the pitchers by the servitors is not meant for devotees rather it’s an offering for the “parswa devi-devatas” (subsidiary deities) on the chariot, spirits, beings from other worlds, etc. that had accompanied the Lords on the chariots during their nine-day-long sojourn.
As per tradition “Bada Odia Matha”, “Raghava Das Matha” and Temple Administration supply the pots and ingredients for the preparation of the “pana”.