India is more than just a great country. It's the worlds largest democracy with over 20 official languages, a nation of 1.2 billion staring at over 180 million tv screens, reading over 82 thousand newspapers. It's a land of dessert moons in a starlight sky, snowcapped peaks, ancient cities nestled on river banks, metro cities with the upholstery of skyscrapers, lush dense forests home to numerous flora and fauna and sandy beaches with the tropical warm sea breeze. I can only think of one word to describe India -overwhelming.
So we thought why not take a tour of India through the festivals and the food unique these festivals.
Gujjiyas. Image for representational purposes only.
Pink nose, yellow cheeks, green hands, Holi is the festival of colours. Mythologically, Holi is derived from Holika, King Hiranyakashyapu's evil sister. If you know India enough, you probably know that this festival is celebrated across India, with everyone coming together spreading colours obviously and with gujiyas. What are they you may ask?
Unless you were completely alienated to this country, Diwali is no stranger to you. I mean who can miss out on the beautiful lights, delicious food and the joy of loved ones coming together? Everything seems so much better during Diwali. Mythologically we celebrate the end of Ram's exile along with Seeta and Laxman and their return to his kingdom of Ayodhya. Modern day Diwali and parties are incomplete without playing cards or poker as you munch on some Chakli or Murruku, Besan ke laddoos, Kanraji (a true blue Maharashtrian empanada) and Shakapara.
Where Do Chefs Eat During Ramzan?
Picture Credits: Delhi By Foot
Ramzan (also Ramadan) is the holy month of fasting. The followers of Islam eat before sunrise (sohur) and after sunset (iftar). All of the city flocks to Mohammed Ali Road for their fair share of Kheema Samosas, Kebabs, Nalli Nihari, Sheermal, Phirni Biryani and Malpua and many more such dishes.
Losar Spread. Courtesy: KTC
This festival is Tibetan New Year and every year in the month of February, Sikkimese people and the Tamangs celebrate it with great gusto. During this fifteen-day long festival is people feast on raw wild fruits, yams and some traditional Tamang delicacies.
Not very far from Diwali, Dasshera marks the death and defeat of evil King Ravan of Lanka and the victory to a measly yet staunch Vanarsena lead by Ram. Celebrated across the country with great pomp, in places, a replica of Ravan is immolated. As a child I watched Ravan go up in flames and wolfed down some Chole Bhature.
According to the Hindu calendar and beliefs, Ganesh Chaturthi marks the birth of Lord Ganesh (or fondly known as Ganpati or Vinayaka). This elephant head diety and his love for sweets is no secret. Every year millions of people bring home an idol of this deity and offer the quintessential Modak - a steamed (or fried) dumpling with a sweet coconut and jaggery filling. Handcrafted and delicious, traditional Ukadiche Modak is one delicacy I can't have enough of.
Photo Credits: tastyappetite.com
This four-day long festival is celebrated for the successful harvest of the seasonal. Usually celebrated in the month of January or February. The name loosely means to boil and it's celebrated with a hearty, wholesome and comforting sweet hot Pongal (a sweet rice pudding).
Ugadi is Telugu New Year that usually coincides with Maharashtrian Gudhi Padva and Sindhi Cheti Chand.It is celebrated across the southern Indian peninsula. The beginning of the new years is celebrated with dishes such as Payasam.
Honey Glazed Ham. Picture only for representational purposes.
How beautiful is it for a nation of majority Hindus celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Agreed that December is a month of celebration but after the winter solstice, theres some magic in the air as the city lights up with joy and hope. Every Christmas, well apart from the presents waiting to be unwrapped below the tree, I look forward to devouring some homemade kulkuls, marzipans, cakes, glazed ham, gingerbread houses and so much more!
Boat races, Pokalam (or rangoli), tiger dances and elaborate flower arrangements bring something the same image of Onam to our minds. Celebrating the piety of Asura King Mahabali is something that gets all Keralites anywhere across the globe together. Personally, my favourite part is the Onam Sadhya.
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