By Saroj Kumar Panda
Sri Jagannath is the Lord of the Universe. His Kitchen is considered as the largest and the biggest Kitchen in the world. It is situated south-east direction of the outer compound of Srimandir. The length of the Kitchen is 150 feet, breadth is 100 feet and height is about 20 feet. It consists of 32 rooms with 250 earthen ovens within these. Around 600cooks(Suaras) and 400 assistants serve here everyday for preparing Lord’s food. These are three types of hearths in the Kitchen of Srimandir such as Anna Chuli, Ahia Chuli and Pitha Chuli. The dimension of hearths where rice is prepared are 4′ x 2.5′ x 2′. The rectangular space created between two rice hearths is called Ahia. All types of Dal and Curry items are cooked in Ahia Chuli. There are only ten numbers of Pitha Chuli in the temple Kitchen which are made of cement. The fire of this Kitchen is Known as Vaishnava Agni, because it is the fire in the Kitchen of Lord Jagannath and used to serve Vishnu Himself. It is never put out. It is believe that Mahalaxmi cooks in the Kitchen Herself; all are felt to be her servants. As she is not attentive to the cooking on the days when Lord Jagannath is said to be sick before Rath Yatra, the food is less tasty. During Rath Yatra when Lord Jagannath is in Sri Gundicha Temple. She is said to have no zeal to cook and so the food is tasteless.