Bhubaneswar: Within the vast Odia cuisine, ‘Pakhala’ has a special place in every Odia heart. ‘Pakhala’ or watered rice brings with it a unique feeling and in summers it provides great relief as well.

With an aim to popularize this particular dish which is exclusive to the State, March 20 is celebrated as Universal Pakhala Day or ‘Pakhala Dibasa’.

‘Pakhala’ is so close to Odia hearts that one will not be mistaken to say that it can be found in almost every household in the State during summers, particularly. ‘Pakhala’ is thoroughly enjoyed with dishes like ‘Badi Chura’, ‘Maachha Bhaja’, ‘Saaga Bhaja’, ‘Kalara Bhaja’, ‘Aloo Bharata’ among others. There are many popular varieties of the dish like ‘Baghara Pakhala’, ‘Baasi Pakhala’, ‘Saja Pakhala’, ‘Arua Pakhala’ and ‘Usuna Pakhala.’

Such has been its popularity that with the arrival of summer, one can find it in almost all hotels and restaurants. Even upmarket restaurants including star hotels have placed Pakhala on their menus.

“Usually during the summer days there is a big demand for ‘Pakhala’. Celebrating the ‘Pakhala Dibasa’ is a very welcoming step. As an Odia, we are proud of ‘Pakhala’, which is our daily food,” said Ganeswar Sahoo, owner of a restaurant in Bhubaneswar.

Pakhala Day has been playing its role in taking the dish beyond the boundaries of Odisha and popularizing the same.

Tourists coming to Odisha and Odias residing outside the State celebrate this day by eating ‘Pakhala.’ It can be said that ‘Pakhala’ is not just a food item, for Odia's, it’s an emotion.

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