For billions of people, eating non-veg food (for instance chicken biryani) as prasad is something way beyond their imagination. Almost everywhere prasad or prasadam (given to devotees after religious offering to the deities) is strictly vegetarian. It is also believed that those on the spiritual path are more inclined to lead a peaceful existence that respects the value of all life and they often adopt the vegetarian lifestyle.
Now what if someone tells you that non-vegetarian food will be offered as prasad! What would be your first thought on hearing this? There is a temple known as Muniyandi Swami temple in Madurai district, Tamil Nadu, which serves biryani as prasad.
And, it’s not just for devotees as anyone who comes to the village gets a hearty meal of mutton/chicken biryani. This has been a tradition for 83 years.
The annual 3-day festival is called the ‘Muniyandi temple biryani festival’.
The Muniyandi festival is celebrated in South Tamil Nadu as people worship regional deities of Tamil Nadu.
A devotee told ANI:
“We are celebrating this Muniyandi festival, where a fund is raised, from both the public and the people associated with the festival. Every Friday and Saturday of the third week of January, we have a grand festival here in South Tamil Nadu.”
The biryani is cooked by using over 2,000 kilograms of rice and mutton/chicken.
N Muniswaran, a member of the organising committee, said:
“The biryani is cooked in 50 vessels on firewood stoves all through the night and offered to the deity at around 4 am, after which the first batch is served at 5 am.”
For those attending the three-day event, biryani is served in breakfast and to everyone without discrimination. Last year, 200 goats and 250 roosters were sacrificed to make 1,800 kilograms of biryani.