The Chappan Bhog is the grandest of all ceremonies and it pleases the deity and the devotees alike.
But have you ever wondered what does 56 bhog mean? And, why is that specific number associated with bhog?
What is Chappan Bhog?
Chappan means fifty-six in Hindi. Mythology speaks that people of Braj used to offer lavish meals to Rain God Indra to please him for abundant rainfall in the region. Lord Krishna believed that it was a hard price to pay for the poor farmers. So, he asked the farmers to not indulge in such lavish offerings which in turn angered Lord Indra.
Upset and raged, Lord Indra flooded the village with heavy rains and thundering. Upon seeing the plight of the villagers, Lord Krishna came to the rescue and lifted Govardhan parvat on his finger tip. All the villagers and animals sought shelter under the gigantic mountain being lifted by Lord Krishna for seven days. Thus, Lord Krishna became famous as Govardhan and the day next to Diwali marks the victory of Lord Krishna over Lord Indra.
It is believed that Lord Krishna used to eat eight meals a day. Hence, the villagers offered the God 8*7=56 meals to thank him for saving their lives by holding the mountain above their heads for seven days.
What is served in Chappan Bhog?
Chappan Bhog consists of Lord Krishna’s favourite delicacies.
Some of the common items found in the meal are butter, mishris, kheer, rasgulla, jalebi, jeera ladoo, jalebi, rabri, mathri, malpua, mohanbhog, chutney, murabba, saag, dahi, rice, dal, kadi, ghewar, chila, papad, moong dal ka halwa, pakoda, khichadi, brinjal ka sabji, lauki ka sabji, poori, badammilk, tikkis, cashews, almonds, pistachios, and cardomom among others.
The meal is arranged in a sequence- starting with milk-based items, moving on to besan items and savoury items and ending with desserts.
Where can one eat Chappan Bhog?
This meal is first offered to Lord Krishna at all Krishna temples around the world and then distributed among the devotees. Most authentic of all can be found in Vrindavan near Mathura and at Nathdwara, Rajasthan.
Chappan Bhog, apart from being ‘prasaad’, portrays the rich culinary heritage of India. It also represents the Hindu tradition of feeding the sick and the poor along with honouring Gods and animals like the cow.