Mrunal Manmay Dash

Relishing the quintessential watery delight known as ‘Pakhala’, Odisha celebrated the World Pakhala Dibasa 2024 on Wednesday. While this is a household dish across the State, March 20 is observed as World Pakhala Day every year.

The importance of Pakhala in Odia food habits can easily be ascertained from the fact that not only the mortals, but Pakhala has always been cherished in the Jagannath faith and is offered to the deities at Puri Srimandir daily.

Pakhala PlatterPakhala Platter

History of Pakhala & Odia Culture

Traditionally, this Odia delicacy does not need elaborate preparations. But with the fusion of cuisines and food habits, people now savour Pakhala with many accompaniments. Pakhala itself has also gone on to adopt several variations like Saja Pakhala, Dahi Pakhala etc.

For the past few years, when the state started celebrating 'Pakhal Dibasa' on March 20, non-resident Odias living in the country and abroad also started participating in it. Pakhala is best enjoyed with side dishes including saga bhaja (Spinach), fish fry, badi chura (ground dumplings) etc.

Pakhala's relationship with Odia culture and food dates back to time. Pakhala is not just a food for the Odias, it is a part of the lifestyle, a unique emotion.

Nowadays, even though the demand for pakhala has dropped slightly in the midst of the urban frenzy, its speciality and uniqueness have not decreased at all.

Saheed Nagar Durga Puja committee in Bhubaneswar celebrated Pakhala Dibasa by preparing ‘Dahi Pakhala’ for people. The committee invited around 1000 people to relish this traditional delicacy for lunch. Not only Pakhala, but the committee prepared almost 30 side dishes to be served with Pakhala.

“For most Odias, Pakhala is close to heart. Not only the people, Pakhala is also served to Lord Jagannath in Srimandir. We have been serving Pakhala on World Pakhala Day every year. It not only tingles our taste buds, it is good for health too,” said an office bearer of Saheed Nagar Durga Puja Committee.

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