" Bhog Naivedya delves into the origins of sacred foods in India and brings forth its incredible diversity. Brilliantly researched and engagingly written, Sujata’s book is peppered with delectable tales from mythology, sumptuous temple lore, the aromatic linkages with kings and saints, mouth-watering food descriptions and much more.
Travel from Badarinath Dham in the Himalayas to the Krishna temples at Mathura and Nathdwara to discover the lovingly-performed food rituals. Visit the Jyotirlinga of Kasi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi and Trimbakeshwar temple in Nashik and learn about Lord Shiva’s favourite foods. Moving to the east of India, we see a dramatic change in the offerings, especially in the bhog offered to Goddess Shakti at Kamakhya in Guwahati and then at Kalighat in Kolkata. Peep through the vents in the kitchen walls of Puri’s Jagannath temple and watch the preparation of Chappan Bhog in pots on clay chulhis (hearths), and thence to Tirupati to admire the elaborate food offerings to Lord Balaji. Wander into sacred groves and temples where serpent deities are worshipped with their choicest foods. Enjoy the colourful worship at ISKCON, where bhog represents a philosophy. Relish tasty prasadam at Srirangam and Chidambaram, follow Kumbakonam’s Navagraha trail and then halt at the Padmanabhaswamy temple for delicious payasams.
Listen to the boatmen of Kerala singing along the way to a gargantuan sadya (feast) at Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. Tour the mega kitchens at Shirdi’s Prasadalaya and gratefully accept the langar at the Golden Temple at Amritsar, taste the Maha Ashtami Bhog at Kolkata’s Durga Pujo. Find the connection between Kannagi, who burnt Madurai into cinders, and Pongala, when millions of women congregate with their sacred hearths on the streets of Thiruvananthapuram.
This is not just faith, but also a nation’s food culture, brought to you on a puja thali! "