Awesome food to try at Odisha- The Land of Rasgullas

Ever wondered why there are so many sweet shops on both sides of roads when you are on NH -16 , leaving behind the capital city Bhubaneswar ? Welcome to Pahala, the birth place of Rasgulla-the famous dessert in India.

Pahala, is a small village some 10km away from Bhubaneshwar known mostly for it’s exotic varieties of desserts, most famous being the Rasgulla . The dwellers of this small village claims that their ancestors were royal cooks during the 12th century AD. And they were the ones who invented the secret recipe of making exotic varieties of desserts .Their secret recipe for making sweets and desserts was with them from last 600 years . Traditionally this tight lipped secret knowledge of making sweet used to get transferred to their sons and then their grandsons through their sons . Then until recently a person from the state of West Bengal took a keen interest in learning this secret recipe of making sweets. He stayed at Pahala village and somehow extracted this knowledge and mastered the secret recipe of making sweets .He took this secret knowledge of the village out to his home state and made it and branded this immensely popular dessert .  Thus giving the world wide recognition to this syrupy dessert – now a days popularly known as Bengali Rassogollas (cheena and syrupy sugar) .

Note- To get a GI or geographical indication tag for this dessert the facts are being contested by both the states of Odisha and West Bengal  .

To support the claims of Odisha let me furnish few facts and history of  Rasgulla .There has been many writings in the ancient scripts of Dandi Ramayana, a version of the Valmiki’s Ramayana adapted by a saint named Balaram Das in the 14th century where reference of Rasgulla has surfaced many a times. It is also read that the Rasgulla has been the traditional offering (bhog) to the Hindu goddess Lakshmi. And as per tradition, her consort Lord Jagannath used to pacify her by offering her Rasgulla , so that she lets his Raths (convoy) enter the sanctorium of the Puri Temple , during the conclusion of the annual Rath Yatra. This ritual, known as Bachanika, is part of the “Niladri Bije” (or “Arrival of the God”) observance, which marks the return of the deities to the temple after annual Rath Yatra. The genesis of this temple tradition of offering Rasgulla has been obscured with the passage of time.

Now coming back to our discussion on this sweet thing .We Odias are very traditional and have a very sweet and strange fetish for desserts. And Rasgullas  holds a  high stature among all known Odia sweets .And there’s no doubt of it holding a huge significance in our Odia traditional .Here I give a caution to my readers ,don’t go by the name of Rasgullas  alone , as the only sweet available to Odias .There are more than five different varieties of Rasgullas available at Odisha alone!!! Astronished ??  You should be !!! Adding to this sweet list there are more than 50 different lip smacking variety of sweets known to us .Names like chenna poda, chhena Jhilapi , chhena gaja, raskadam, chamcham, pantua, kheersagar are some of the many famous  sweets among the many varieties available these days to choose from.

It is believed  that no lunch/dinner is complete without sweets . So as per our Odia tradition we mostly offer a sweet dessert esp Rasgulla to our guests after a lunch or a dinner . Ssh !! you have known the little secret of our Odia hospitality and now if you happen to be lucky enough to know an Odia friend ,it’s time to drop by his home for a lunch/dinner. I am sure you will definitely get a mouth full with our Odia hospitality err … I mean Rasgullas  to feast on 😉 .


Pic courtesy –

1 Comment

  • Rashmi Ranjan Sahoo July 12, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Good one…worth sharing so everyone knows where “Rasagolla” actually came from!


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