`Sweet’ surprise awaits the devotees visiting the famous `Char Dhams’ this summer. They would get to relish homemade `Adi-bhog Prasad’ (food offered to God) for the first time, thanks to a soon-to-be-launched ``all-women’’ cooperative initiative.
``The scheme is being launched under the State government sponsored---`Mahila Samekit Vikas Yojna’, a project dedicated to all-round development of hill women belonging to the poor and marginalised families’’, said State Women Empowerment and Child Development Minister (Independent charge) Vijaya Barthwal.
`Adi-bhog Prasad’ would be available for sale outside all the four shrines (Char Dhams) when their hallowed portals would be reopened for devotees in May, she said. The money from sale of prasad would be equally distributed among the women self-help groups who would be preparing it (Adi-bhog Prasad) in their own homes.
``If the scheme proves to be a success, it will be replicated in all areas of Uttarakhand, where famous temples are located’’, Barthwal said.
About `Adi-bhog Prasad’ she said devotees visiting the `Char Dhams’ would find the taste of the `divine fare’ remarkably different prepared as it would be from the local agricultural produce like Chaulai (Amaranth sauté), Madua (Ragi) etc.
`Adi-bhog Prasad’ would be sold in paper bags and containers prepared from Ringal (Himalayan bamboo) Barthwal said, ``So, once this prasad becomes popular with devotees and tourists visiting `Char Dhams’, people in those (Char Dham) areas would also be able to earn money by preparing paper bags and containers from the Himalayan bamboo.’’
``In this connection, we also plan to encourage traders to pitch in so that sale of `Adi-bhoj Prasad’ picks up during the proposed annual `Char Dham Yatra’’, Barthwal told Hindustan Times.