| Consumers buy tilkuts at Kadamkuan in Patna on Thursday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
Patna, Jan. 13: Lovers of tilkuts are smacking their lips — it is time for Makar Sankranti and the famous tilkuts of Gaya are on display in the market.
And they are flying off the shelves, as connoisseurs of the soft delicacy that has its origins in Gaya, are demanding large quantities of it.
“Tilkut is the most popular sweet from Gaya in winter. Tilkut makers of Gaya make no compromise with either the quantity or quality,” said Raju, the owner of Raju Tilkut Bhandar.
“Every year, we get six or eight workers from Gaya to make tilkuts. They are not just workers — they are artists. They make the sweets with a lot of love and dedication,” added Raju.
“In Gaya, tilkuts are made from the finest quality of sesame seeds. They are delicately grinded and mixed with cardamom and fresh jaggery or sugar to ensure that they stay fresh and crisp for long,” said Raju, explaining how the much-loved sweets are crafted with the same level of perfection.
Vijay Yadav, a tilkut lover said: “There is big difference in the taste of tilkuts made in Gaya and other tilkuts. Gaya tilkuts are crispy and soft. Ordinary tilkuts are hard and do not taste as good.”
Yadav added only those who have tasted the delicacy from Gaya can appreciate the difference.
Manish Kumar, the owner of a tilkut shop in East Lohanipur, said: “In winter, vendors sell tilkuts at every nook and corner of Gaya. The popular sweet is available in different shapes and sizes, according to the demand of the customers.”
“Tilkuts are priced between Rs 40 and Rs 50 a kilogram. It is the only source of livelihood for hundreds of families in Gaya,” added Manish.
There are more than 200 shops of various sizes that sell tilkuts in Gaya. Thousands of people depend on the seasonal sale for their livelihood.
Tilkuts sell for one-and-a-half months only in winter.
Once the season is over, tilkut makers and vendors switch to some other form of business. But selling tilkuts in winter is the most lucrative business for them.
Dharmendra Kumar, a resident of Buddha Colony, said: “I work in Hyderabad and have come here on an official tour. I will return tomorrow. But since I am here, I thought it would be a good idea to take some tilkuts home.”
“These tilkuts are valuable not only because of their high price but also because my family members have an obsession for them. My wife is from Gaya. She does not want to miss out on this delicacy from her hometown,” said Dharmendra.