Traditional Odia dishes to Taste if you are Attending the Rath Yatra

The state of Odisha is gearing up for its biggest celebration and if you are also a part of it this year, you must try these traditional Odia dishes in Puri.

Hitanshu Bhatt
Updated On
New Update
odia dishes

Image Courtesy: Better Butter

The fervour of Rath Yatra and millions of Yatris fill the atmosphere of Puri with sheer vibrancy. People from all over India travel here to seek the blessings of the Lord Jagannath and celebrate the divine deity. Also known as Gundicha Yatra, Car Festival, Dasavatara, Navadina Yatra or the Chariot Festival, it celebrates Lord Jagannath (Lord Krishna), his elder brother Lord Balabhadra and his sister Goddess Subhadra. The festival that goes on for 9 days has various rituals and ceremonies and one of them involves offering and savouring authentic Odia dishes. Let’s explore which dishes form an integral part of the offerings during Rath Yatra, as these cuisines are favourites of both Lord Jagannath and the people.

Poda Pitha

poda pitha

This is a personal favourite dish of the Lord and the people of Puri love it equally. Poda pitha is a sweet dish made of fermented rice, black gram, grated coconut and jaggery. “poda” in Odia means “burnt,” and pitha” means a class of cakes made of fermented, semi-fermented or un-fermented batters of rice, urad dal or semolina, or a combination of these grains and lentils. In the context of poda pitha, poda implies the charred caramelisation of the bottom of the cake. Jagannath Yatra is incomplete without this dish being offered to the Lord.

Legend has it that Lord Jagannath, in his previous incarnation as Shri Ram, promised Rani Kaikeyi, his stepmother, that he would come to her and savour poda pitha. This promise was made to console Kaikeyi, who believed she had put Sita, Ram, and Laxman in trouble by sending them to the forest for 14 years when her own son Bharat confronted her. Thus, this sweet dish symbolizes Kaikeyi's maternal affection for Shri Ram and the Mausi Maa temple in Puri is thought to be her dwelling.

Where to try: Bhuba Dukan - Rina Mandal Rd, Puri, Odisha 

Original Nrusingha Sweets - Padmini Lodge, Jagannath Temple Rd, near Batalokanath Temple, Bali Sahi, Puri, Odisha.


Image Courtesy: Ruchi Foodline

Dalma is a traditional Odia dal (Indian curry) that is prepared in the Jagannath temple. Traditional dalma is primarily made of lentils and vegetables. According to the Pandas (Pandits) of the Puri temple, this dish is a gift from the Savaras tribe of Odisha. They were the first worshippers of Lord Jagannath as Neela Mahadeb and used to harvest vegetables like brinjal, pumpkin, arbi (taro roots), ladyfinger(bhindi) and so on. After harvesting, they used to mix these vegetables with a dal (mostly chana dal) to make dalma and serve it with some steamed rice, saag (spinach dish) and ghee to the Gods as an offering. 

There is another legend though, that says that this dish was passed on by Bheema (one of the Pandav brothers from the Hindu epic Mahabharata). When Bheema was in a hideout in the kingdom of Viraat for 13 years, he was starving. He went to a royal kitchen to ask for some food but was caught by the royal head cook who punished him to make a dish without oil and little spices. He remembered his wife Draupadi making Lord Krishna’s favourite dish which involved vegetables, some water, very few spices and ghee. He made the dish and the royals liked it. It is said that since then it has been offered to Lord Jagannath in the temple.  

Where to try: Bhuba Dukan - Rina Mandal Rd, Puri, Odisha

Dalma Restaurant - VIP Rd, near Puri Fire Station, Puri, Odisha


Priyas Kitchen

This dish is an Odia version of Khichdi which is popular in many parts of India. It is made with rice, lentils, coconut, sugar, and cinnamon and served alongside curd and papad. It is said that this is also one of Lord Jagannath’s favourites.  

Where to try: The best place to try this dish is in the Jagannath Temple but you will get it at many local restaurants. 


Image Courtesy: Odisha Tour

Mahura or vegetable curry is a part of the Maha Prasad served to Lord Jagannath in Jagannath temple. This is one of the dishes from the Chappan (56) Bhog served there. It is made with assorted vegetables, ghee, coconut and minimal spices and has no onion, ginger, garlic or tomatoes in its traditional preparation. It is served with Kanika (sweet rice) or Ghia Anna (ghee rice).

Where to try: At the temple 

Amalu or Malpua 

Amalu Malpua
Image Courtesy: Axiz Bank 

Amalu is a specific type of Malpua prepared at the Puri Jagannath temple. This is also a part of the Chappan (56) Bhog at the temple served to Lord Jagannath. This sweet is prepared in three different varieties that are served in the Bhog; Sana Amalu, Bada Amalu and Hatapoda Amalu. While Sana and Bada Amalu are small in size and therefore 84 of them are prepared for the Bhog. The Hatapoda Amalu is thick and big. Only two pieces of the sweet are prepared specifically for the deity. It is made using wheat flour, milk, sugar and most importantly bananas and coconuts which are not a part of the preparation of the regular malpuas that we get across India. 

Where to try: The best place to try this dish is in the Jagannath Temple but you can get it at:

Jay Jagannath Mistanna Bhandar - Temple Rd, in front of Patra Lane, Dolamandap Sahi, Puri, Odisha

Chhena Poda

chhena poda
Image Courtesy: Culinary Wonderland

Chhena poda which translates to roasted cheese in English originated in the small village of Dasapalla in Odisha. One night, the owner of a confectionery, Sudarshan Sahu thought of adding sugar and seasonings to leftover cottage cheese and left it on the stove that was still warm. The next day, he was pleasantly surprised to find out what a scrumptious dessert he had created. This was the Chhena Poda which is famous in the entire Odisha and also offered as a bhog and savoured by the devotees during the Rath Yatra. 

Where to try: Behera Sweets - Near, Station Road, Ram Mandir Rd, Gajapati Nagar, Puri, Odisha

Rama Chenapoda - Bhanumati Rd, Dolamandap Sahi, Puri, Odisha


Image Courtesy: Annapurna

This sweet is associated with Lord Jagannath but in an indirect way. It's a traditional Odia sweet dish and a part of Chhapan Bhog offered to Shri Baladevajew, elder brother of Lord Jagannath. It's a thin doughnut shaped fresh chena or paneer patty. This is deep fried in oil and later soaked in thickened milk to get the desired tenderness. 

According to researchers Niranjan Mekap and Anita Sabat, ‘Rasabali’ as a sweetmeat has been in use since medieval times during the erstwhile King Anangabhima Deva’s reign. During his rule, 32 varieties of ‘Rasabali’ were being used as an offering at the Sri Baladevjew Temple in Kendrapara and it still continues. Various couplets, mythological scriptures like ‘Dandi Ramayan’ and family chronology of the Ganga dynasty ‘Ganga Banshanucharita’ have many pages on ‘Rasabali’ as it has been stated that the origin of ‘Rasabali’ is in Kendrapara district of Odisha.

Where to try: Senapati Sweets - Dolamandap Sahi, Puri, Odisha 


Image Courtesy: Exotikal Hub

Another delicacy that is famous in Puri and is consumed during Rath Yatra is Khaja. To make Khaja, refined wheat flour is mixed with sugar and oil to form a layered dough. The dough is then stuffed with dry fruits and lightly fried in oil until crisp. Although it is not native to the state, it is one of the most famous sweets in Odisha. 

Where to try: Old Ganguram Sweets - Door No 70, near Khajapati, Bali Sahi, Puri, Odisha

Taste & Best -  Barahi Lane, near Ramachandra Bhawan, Bali Sahi, Puri, Odisha

Rath Yatra Traditional Odia dishes famous sweets in Odisha traditional Odia sweet dish Odia version of Khichdi Odia dal authentic Odia dishes