Rashmi Ranjan

From the platter of Odisha's culinary excellence, 'Pakhala' holds a special place in the hearts of every Odia. This humble combination of rice water and curd is a staple in almost every Odia household, particularly in summer. 

The sacred place 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.

In a bid to popularise this quintessential native delicacy globally, March 20 is celebrated as International Pakhala Day or ‘Pakhala Dibasa’ since many years.

Like every year, Odias all around the globe on Monday spent little time expressing their pride in enjoying and promoting the traditional Odia food item.

“We are Odias and we are proud of Pakhala. We have organised an event to pass on the importance of ‘Pakhala’ to the next generation,” said Manoj Panda, president of Jay Jagannath Seba Samiti.

WATCH Pakhala Dibasa organised by Jay Jagannath Seba Samiti for children & school students in Cuttack

“When it comes to Pakhala, it always tops the favourite list. As summer is approaching, nothing is better than Pakhala,” said Lijalin Sahoo, a homemaker.

Singer Abhijit Majumdar said, “Like everyone around the world loves Lord Jagannath, Pakhala too is now being loved by all. It is thousand times better than the fast food available in the market.”

“The demand for Pakhala is never-ending. While some like having it with ‘álu chakata’, ‘badi chura’ and other side items, many relish the dish with fish and prawn,” said Sangita Patnaik, a hotel owner.

Meanwhile, eminent sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik has created beautiful sand art on Puri beach to mark Pakhala Dibasa.

(Reported by Manoj Acharya, Biswajit Acharya and Archana Satapathy, OTV)