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His recipe for divine taste

Beldih Kalibari’s Heaven in an earthen pot

By Our Correspondent in Jamshedpur
  • Published 15.10.18, 12:10 AM
  • Updated 15.10.18, 12:10 AM
  • a min read
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Bhog chef Abani Chakraborty at his New Sitaramdera home in Jamshedpur on Saturday. (Bhola Prasad)

Move over, mutton chop, fish fry and golgappas. Khichdi bhog is the star of any Durga Puja platter.

Most people in Jamshedpur depend on Saptami, Ashtami and Navami bhog bought from various pandals in earthen pots, jostling in huge queues to get their hands on the khichdi, vegetable curry, chutney and kheer. But ever wondered about those who make simple rice and lentils taste divine?

One of those magicians is Abani Chakraborty, who along with his team, cooks Durga Puja bhog for Beldih Kalibari.

Though New Sitaramdera resident Chakraborty and his team have been cooking bhog since the past 30 years, inheriting the profession from his father Gouri Prasad Chakraborty who started the catering business, his association with Beldih Kalibari is 12 years old.

“At Beldih Kalibari we cook six quintals of bhog on Ashtami, four quintals on Navami and two quintals on Saptami,” he said.

Asked why his bhog tastes divine, he said, “This bhog is cooked with utmost devotion for the goddess and this gives it the taste. Even if I cook the same thing at another time at home, there will be a difference. It’s not a myth. Faith plays the greatest role in ensuring that bhog tastes divine.”

Chakraborty and his team of 30 will also cook bhog for two other Puja pandals, one in Sakchi and the other in Tinplate. But Beldih Kalibari is where people flock from all parts of Jamshedpur to get an earthen pot of the divine prasad blessed by the goddess.

He said goldana rice also did its magic. “And yes, the ingredients must be of good quality, and cooking must be done with concentration and a pure heart,” he said.

For Chakraborty, the joy of feeding so many people during the Puja means more to him than his earnings. “When people relish the bhog, when I see someone touching the earthen pot on their forehead, I can’t describe the joy I feel,” he said. “I think that is Mother’s blessings for me, my family and my team.”

People of all communities love Beldih Kalibari bhog. Vineeta Nair, a homemaker in Sakchi, said, “I can’t imagine my Puja without bhog from Beldih Kalibari. It is a must. All Jamshedpur pandals offer great bhog but the one in Kalibari has a different emotion.”

Which pandal in your city offers your favourite bhog?