CUISINE OF VIDHARBHA : Culture and Custom
There is not even a slightest doubt in saying that one will be in complete awe and extremely startled to see the diversity in culture and traditions adopted by this third largest state in India i.e., Maharashtra. Facts say that this Marathi culture is influenced by the history of prominent saints, certain glorious and most august emperors as well as pre and post-independence leaders. Besides that, this state spans wide variety of cultures because of the regions it constitutes and uniqueness of those regions. While talking about regional heterogeneity, we should know how this state has been historically divided into regions years and years ago. Looking from the traditional aspects, the Maharashtrians named these four regions as Khandesh, Vidarbha, Konkan and Marathwada.
Vidharbha catches my superfluous attention because of the fact that this acts as melting pot of Telugus from the South India (since I am a Telugu girl myself!) and Hindi speaking people from Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. This North-eastern part of Maharashtra, Vidharbha comprises of the ancient cities like Nagpur and Amravati. The people in and around this region speak in Varhadi dialect, which is subtly different from the traditional Marathi accent.
If we ever speak to the natives in any of the districts here, we can identify how certain standard Marathi words are replaced by Sanskrit words, which shows how the language has its roots from the ancient ages. This place has a special importance because of few traditional aspects- it is considered as the birthplace of Goddess Rukmini and also as the Indian mythology says, this is the place from where she eloped with Lord Krishna.
The traditional attire of the Varhadi locals is much similar to the Marathas, where ladies wear
a sari known as nauvari or lugda. The term nauvari translates to a length of nine yards and
the people here consider this drape to be very auspicious, traditional and liberating. Plus, it
also reflects the heritage that is being extended from the time where great Maratha rulers, like
Shivaji, promoted ethnic wear and encouraged women to feel confident and authentic about
their dressing style.
Speaking of the Varhadi cuisine, the spices used are from local areas which is why they carry
a unique taste and the food here is known for its spiciness. The pithla bakri, also common in
other parts of Maharashtra and Solyachi bhaji, made from green gram, which is cultivated in
Vidharbha during winters, are one of their kinds and cannot really stop you from drooling!
And not to forget, there is a popular dessert called Kanhole which people usually prepare on
Diwali, and also consider it as a favourite dish of their deity, Lord Gajanan Maharaj.
Nonetheless, the most enticing part of this region is the unique festivals they celebrate apart
from common Hindu festivals. Considered to be the largest city of Vidharbha and also known
as the Orange city (famous for the production of numerous varieties of oranges), Nagpur is
noted for its distinguished celebrations of Kalidas Mahotsav, held every year during the
month of November; it is treated as a cultural mission to honour the great Indian poet,
Kalidas and also to reminisce the impressions and moments of the Golden Age of Vidharbha
i.e., the period where Yadu kings ruled it (according to Mahabharata).
Another unique celebration, especially of the folk lore here, is the Pola festival. The
formalities of this event extend up to 3 days where the farmers and tribal people celebrate it
as veneration to bulls and also it marks the importance of the animals that helped them in the
Vidharbhans consider this as a token of gratitude and feel that it is necessary for
mankind to give back our part to the nature and animals that help us for our livelihood.
If you are a travel or photography enthusiast, then every nook and corner of the atmosphere
here is going to be a fabulous muse for you. And, apart from all the beautiful facets and
semblance this region beholds, there is undeniably something more about this place which
makes you feel like home. It welcomes you with so much warmth and leaves you with a zest
to explore the aesthetics in and around. Certainly speaking, the culture and the hidden
attractions of Vidharbha will not fail to surprise you. So, are you curious already?!
Written by : Pranitha Poosa
Editor and Team Lead : Atul Sharma