With regard to "NITYA SEVA" (daily service) it should be noted that the deity Shri RadhaVallabh Ji is treated to a varsity of services appropriates to the season and time of day. At this temple, these are no Pooja but Sewa (Service to the Deity). Numerous temple arts are utilized in each day's service. Shri Hit Harivansh Mahaprabhu founder of the sect was high Priest and Spiritual-Head, during his lifetime.
After him, the eldest son in the male line of Descent by Rule of Primogeniture becomes the Head-Sewayat, Guru (Spiritual Head) of the
Sect and Temple. The person holding the said combined rights and duties is called TIKAIT ADHIKARI, the post presently held by Goswami 108 Shri Radhashlalji Maharaj Shri. The Deity is conceived of as a living being and treated in the same way as the humble servant would treat the Master of the house. The daily routine of life of Deity is gone through with Minute accuracy; the vivified Idol is regaled with necessaries and luxuries of life in due Succession even to changing of clothes, offering of cooked food, fruits etc. and the retirement to rest.
According to the tenets of the Sect, there are eight essential services of the Deity: (1) Mangla (2) Dhoop (3) Shringar (4) Rajbhog (5) Utthapan (6) Dhoop (7) Sandhya (8) Shayan.
The Deity rests for the night in Sijja Mandir (Sleeping Apartment). The Chief Priest or some other Member of his family, duly authorized for the purpose by the Adhikari-the-awakens the Deity to the accompaniment of sacred hymns and carries it on the palms, his hands raised high and installs Him on the Singhasan in Nij-Mandir (Self-temple), which had been earlier cleaned and purified by him. Then he administers ('Achman' and adorns 'Paag' (Turban) on the head of the Idol which is wrapped around with cotton sheet or quilt according to season. First 'Bhog' is then presented to the Deity. Then the doors are opened and the first Aarti of day, known as "Mangala Aarti" is performed, devotees darshan followed by distribution of 'prasadam' amongst them. After the Mangla Aarti, the doors of Nij Mandir are again closed and the Adhikari or his nominee opens the door after a short while for Dhoop Aarti, after which doors of Nij Mandir are again closed and "Shringar Sewa' is undertaken by the Adhikari or his nominee. He alights the idol and ritual bath is given to it in the sacred Yamuna water admixed with Kesar and perfume. Water poured on the Deity, thus bathing Him, is called 'Charnamrit' which is collected in a sacred pot for distribution among the devotees throughout the day. The Idol is then adorned with the sacred robes and ornaments, sometimes 'floral' also (except in winter) after which sandalwood paste admixed with saffron is placed on Idol's forehead and face in a customary and highly artistic manner. After this, the Idol is placed on the throne in Nij-Mandir and again the Adhikari decorates the Deity on the throne.
Second Bhog is served to Deity and after Bhog; the sacred Flute is placed in the hands of the Idol. A few minutes after this, the door is opened and between 8-30 and 9-00 a.m. the third Aarti viz. "Shringar Aarti" is performed. After this, the curtain is drawn and the flute is taken out from the hands of Deity and placed near the Gaddi (Holy Seat) of Shri-Shri Radha. After distribution of Charnamrit, Kinka-Prasad (Shringar Bhog) and Chandan amongst devotees present, the doors of Nij Mandir remain open for Darshan till midday, when the curtain is drawn.
The Adhikari removes part of the ornaments and robes and the Idol is carried to another room called "Bhog Mandir" where "Raj Bhog" (Midday) Lunch "Sakhra", i.a., Dal (Lentils), Rice, Rotis of several types. Kheer (Rice cooked in milk mixed with dry-fruits), Karhi, Vegetables etc. is served, The Idol is brought back after an hour to the Nij Mandir and Raj Bhog Aarti is performed before the devotees. After distribution of Charnamrit and Prasad, doors are closed and the Deity retires for "Madhyanha-Shayan", i.e., afternoon siesta when all ornaments and robes (except a few) are removed before the Lord retires
The evening again, he service starts when the Adhikari or his nominee brings back the Idol from Shyan-Mandir to Nij-Mandir and adorns the Idol with robes and ornaments. ?Utthapan Bhog" is placed before the Dairy. After 15 minutes, the curtain is opened but before that sacred Flute is placed in the hands of the Deity.
Devotees are able to have view of the Deity as Charnamrit and Prasad is distributed amongst them. This if followed with the curtains being drawn. After some times curtains is removed and 'Dhoop Aarti' performed. The Curtain is again drawn and the Adhikari places the sacred Flute by the Holy Seat of Shri Radha, in the evening at dusk, the curtain is again drawn and 'Sandhya Bhog' is placed before the Deity. After twenty minutes or so, the curtain is opened and 'Sandhya Aarti' takes place with the sacred Flute in the hand of the Idol. Curtain is again drawn and once again holy Flute is placed near the Gaddi or Holy seat or Shri-Shri Radhika Ji. Now curtain is opened and Darshan (Holy glimpse of the Idol) remains open till 9 p.m. or so, till then Charnamrit and Prasad being distributed amongst devotees. The curtain is drawn about 9 p.m. and "Shayan Bhog", known as "Nikhra" (poori, kachauri, sag, raita, sweets etc.) is placed before Deity. Doors are closed now for about half an hour after which doors are opened, curtain raised and "Shayan Aarti" takes place, after which curtain is drawn again, Charnamrit, Prasad and flowers Distributed amongst the devotees. Thereafter doors are closed and the robes and ornaments of the Idol are removed and the Idol is carried to Shayan-Mandir for retirement in the night where 'Bhog' and water is placed closed to the Lord.
BHOGA (LORD'S CUISINE):
Purity of thought, according to ancient sages, depends on purity of food. The Lord's cuisine is prepared by Goswamis in meticulous purity for presentation to the Deity several times in a day, its variations during the year and on auspex's festivities. Stern care is taken right from the purchase of raw materials, their preparations (Sieving, searching out even a slightest piece of stone or earth, grinding, cutting vegetables or fruits, kneading the flour, preparation of the food. The dining table of Idol is very extensive and displays a variety of rich dishes, encouraging the supposition that the culinary skill of those in the service of RadhaVallabh lal Maharaj has been developed as a Fine Art. Meticulous care is being given to the development of Lord's Kitchen since generations; recipes are strictly guarded secret and go down from the eldest son to the eldest son the order of inheritance. The best varieties of superfine ingredients are brought to the Lord's Kitchen for preparing various delicacies of the Idol's dining table, which is laid down strictly' according to traditions.
Various delicacies prepared in the Lord's Kitchen during Nitya-Sewa or during festivities trace their origin to the most ancient scripts laying down explicit rules as to what should be offered and what should be avoided. For example, red chilies, watermelon, carrots, red lentils, tomatoes, any food article prepared outside etc. are strictly banned in the precincts. "Payas" (Kheer), Karhi, Several preparations of Rice, Poop, (pua), 'Appop' (Malpua); Amritkundolika (present times sweet Amirti), 'Sanyava' (present times mohan-bhog or halwa) 'Dadhi-Vatak' (present times dahipakori) are some of the delicacies mentioned in Shrimad Bhagawat Mahapurana and other ancient scriptures in addition to 'Modakas' (Laddus) of various varieties offered to the Idol according to age-old tradition.
During month-long "Khichari Utsav" (Mentioned under subheading Festivities) during chilly winter, ingredients comprise of super-fine rice meticulously cleaned, Mudga (Moong) Dal (one of the earliest lentils described in ancient scriptures of India), Rock Salt (Saindha namak), white pepper, cumin seed, nutmeg, cloves, green and black cardamom, cinnamon, mace (javitri), Bay-leaves (Tejpatta), cashew-nuts raisins, almonds, pistachio, coconut, dates, saffron. In attendance to this is enriched with sumptuous addition of Ghee (clarified butter), which could be seen floating at each and every level. There is a legend 'Khichari, Ghee ki Nichuri' (Clarified Butter trickling from Khichari). Khichari is accompanied by 'Sandhane' (Pickles of various types prepared under purity and hygienic conditions in the Lord's kitchen itself without using mustard oil), Basundhi (A milk preparation of concentrated milk). 'Adrakh Koocha' (Ginger Sauce), a delicacy recipe of which is stately guarded secret, which could be available only to a few blessed lucky devotees during this festival as holy Prasad, This Adrakh Koocha consists of ginger well cleaned and grinded on stone with a stone pestle along with black salt, rock salt, aloes (aloo bukhara), pomegranate Seeds (anardana), black currants (munaqqa black pepper, cumin seeds and some other ingredients which have digestive propensity. The foods offered to Lord closely have relation to health. The food is prepared under hygienic conditions and prepared in utensils metallurgical suitable for health. Some foreign university research scholars are trying to find how 'Karhi' and other vegetables offered at RadhaVallabh Temple are enriched with iron contents, which fight diseases like anemia etc.
Volumes could be written about other delicacies offered to Shri RadhaVallabh during festivities. It may be mentioned that preparation for Annakoot (Festival after Lamp Festival sometimes October-November according to Lunar dates) starts one month ahead so that devotees could be blessed only at that time with the Grand Feast of Lord. 'Anna' hears means various types of delicacies offered to Lord and 'Koot' means a mountain. Various types of sweets and salty delicacies are prepared in the Lord's kitchen by the Goswamis who are expert in cuisine preparation and have developed this traditional ageless Temple Culinary Art, rarely found elsewhere. The displays of feast delicacies attract thousand of devotees from every nook and corner of world every year. The Adhikari of the Temple blesses them with the Holy Prasad. The Adhikari and Goswamis of RadhaVallabh temple is not only maestro of culinary delicacies offered to the Lord, but they had perfected since generations the art of fruits and vegetables Preservation without any chemical preservatives.
They are expert in preparations of various types of Murabbas of different fruits like Amla (Helianthus Embolic or Embolic officinal is), Am (Mangifera Indica or Mango), Bel (Aegle marmelos) etc. The fruit is first goes down various types of treatment under strict hygienic way and purity and kept in honey admixed with saffron to be marinated for days together resulting in an ambrosias delicacy for the appeasement of Lord. Similarly from green mangoes, amIa, lemon, lasera (Eordia latifolia), Tenti (Cappers aphylly), pickles are prepared and preserved without using mustard oil or red chilies. Fragrant Syrup of Sandalwood, Rose, Lemon, Mango, Khus (An Herb used for cooling apartments during summer) etc. are also prepared without using any additive of chemicals for preservation. Similarly, certain vegetables are dehydrated and used after frying them in Ghee (clarified better) and offered to Lord. This delicacy is known as 'Kachari' and one of the essential parts during Khichari festivities or Annakoot feast of the Lord.