Time to relish paan and pithas - Panthanivas to organise Raja festival and sell traditional goodies

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  • Published 2.06.14

Bhubaneswar, June 1: The annual Raja Mahotsav will be celebrated at the Panthanivas, which is run by Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC), and nine of its branches across the state.

Panthanivas counters will sell pithas (traditional pancakes) and Raja pan (special betel leaf to celebrate Raja). The festival will be celebrated for four days starting from June 13.

This year a visitor can enjoy the celebrations at Panthanivas in Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur, Barkul, Rourkela, Chandipur, Paradip, Konark, Gopalpur, Puri and Cuttack. From the next year OTDC will celebrate it at 10 more Panthanivas branches.

“There will be an array of pancakes available at the Panthanivas guest houses. Since working couples and elderly people do not get enough time to prepare such delicacies during the festival, so on an occasion such as Raja, we want to make them popular again. Many people nowadays are forgetting how to make these traditional delicacies. This is our endeavour to revive our culinary delights back to our dining habits,’’ said Manoranjan Patnaik, director of tourism.

Raja Mahotsav is a major festival in the Odia calendar. Mainly unmarried girls celebrate the festival by wearing new clothes, sitting on decorated swings and eating paan and pancakes.

Legend has it that all types of work such as farming and excavating soil is prohibited during the festival as it is assumed that the mother earth goes through the menstrual cycle like a common woman during the festival time.

Mitanjali Samantray, a professional, says: “The availability of paan and pancakes at Panthanivas in the city will be of great help to me as I have little time left from my busy schedule to prepare them. I am looking forward to take a pick from a varieties of pithas such as poda pitha, muga bundi, kakara pitha, pura manda, khira gaja, arisha pitha, bhaja manda, chakuli pitha, dahi vada and chhena poda.’’

However, Samantray suggested that OTDC should prepare enough pithas and paan, as on many occasions the Panthanivas counters are found running out of stock.

Patnaik, who is also the managing director of OTDC, said: “This year we will see to it that enough stock is available, so that more people can buy the traditional delicacies during the festival. This year the corporation will include khuda manda, kadamba and muga papchi and all delicacies from Sambalpur to attract the visitors from the west Odisha town to celebrate raja at the Panthanivas. There is also a plan to include other local delicacies at eight Panthanivas guesthouses, where OTDC has decided to organise the festival this year. Apart from the retail selling of the traditional pithas and paan during the festival, pitha baskets containing assorted pack of Raja pithas will also be available at the Panthanivas for gifting purpose during the festival.”