Tuesday December 12, 2017

Forgotten Himachali cuisine back home in Shimla

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Shimla: Be it chane ka khatta, kaddu ka khatta or sepu vadi, the authentic Himachali cuisine that has been losing its flavour in the hills has once again carved a place in the hearts of both the locals and the tourists with its authentic taste.

photo credit: www.tripadvisor.in
photo credit: www.tripadvisor.in

A young couple this month started a restaurant named Himachali Rasoi in the ‘Queen of the Hills’, as this town was fondly called by the British, to revive the traditional cuisine and make it popular once again among the middle class and young.

“The secret recipe of any good restaurant is knowing its customers and catering for them,” owner Himanshu Sud told IANS.

He said that even the locals were complaining that there was no restaurant in town which offered only Himachali cuisine.

“So we decided to start the restaurant which only offers Himachali vegetarian dishes,” Sud said.

The 25-cover restaurant offers lip-smacking and mouth-watering recipes of the Kangra and Mandi regions, popularly known as Kangri and Mandiali dishes.

The computer software graduate Sud and his wife Manisha, who was born and brought up in this town and looks after the restaurant’s management, believe that the restaurant would also help preserving the state’s traditions, culture and cuisine.

“I have no formal training in cooking, but I learnt the art of making dishes from my parents. My father is a great foodie. I also learnt a lot about cooking from my mother,” Sud said.

“I even got the opportunity to learn cooking from the ‘botis‘ (hereditary Brahmin cooks),” he added.

The food varies from region to region in the hill state.

“There is a lot of difference between Kangri and Mandiali dishes. But the common thing between them is the consumption of steamed rice.”

The main course of Mandiali dishes comprises rajmah, kale chane ka khatta (sour), maa ki dal cooked in spices and generous amounts of ghee, karahi, sepu wardi, kaddu (red pumpkin) ka mitha (sweet) and a bowl of rice.

The traditional dishes of the Kangra Valley have mandra (spiced vegetable and yoghurt curry), mahni (spicy sweet and sour curry), maah, chana dal (split Bengal gram with fennel seeds), budane ka mitha (sweet), rainthla (date and spinach curry) and rice.

Meethe chawal or sweet-spiced fragrant rice is a common dessert in Kangra.

Himachal Pradesh is known for its dhams or sitting together on ground on special occasions like weddings and festivals and eating without forks or spoons.

The food is served in ‘pattals‘ (broad leaves of a tree); rice first and then a round of other items.

The meal is prepared by the ‘botis‘.

The food is cooked and served in copper vessels which impart a special local flavour to the dishes. Even the traditional ingredients and species are used, Sud said.

“We are using only desi ghee (clarified butter) for the cooking,” he added.

There is one other attraction of the eatery. If you want to enjoy Himachali food by sitting on the ground, the typical way of eating, there is a rooftop with wooden floor.
For this you have to remove your shoes on the ground floor and climb a ladder holding on to a rope.

“The food here is really authentic and gives a taste of typically traditional Kangra cuisine, which was earlier missing in Shimla,” local resident Aditi Baniyal said.

FAQs

Where: Himachali Rasoi in Shimla’s Middle Bazaar.

A Kangri and Mandiali meal for two would cost around Rs.500 (without alcohol).

Timings: Open for lunch and dinner from 12 noon to 10 p.m.

(Vishal Gulati, IANS)

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The Jakhoo Temple in Shimla is Dedicated to Lord Hanuman

Shimla's Jakhoo Temple, devoted to the monkey god- Lord Hanuman, is a famous Hanuman Mandir and a go-to place in the city

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Jakhoo Temple
108 feet tall Lord Hanuman statue in Jakhoo Temple. Wikimedia
  • The Jakhoo Temple is a famous ‘Hanuman Mandir’ in Shimla
  • It is located 2.5 kilometers from the Church Street and a common go-to place at the ridge
  • A Hanuman statue 108 feet tall can been seen while trekking to the temple

Shimla, July 21, 2017: At 2.5 kilometers distance from the Church Street in Shimla is the famous ‘Hanuman Mandir’ in the city- The Jakhoo Temple (Also spelled Jakhu).

It is a devotion to the Lord Hanuman. The temple is built Shimla’s highest elevated top with the height of 8,050 feet. There is a 20 minute trek to the temple on which the statue of Lord Hanuman standing 108 feet tall can be seen. The statue was built for Rs 1.5 crores and is taller than Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro which is 98 feet tall.

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The temple, built at the summit, provides a great view from the top. The Shivalik as well as the Himalayan foothills can be spotted. Jakhoo comes from the Hindi word Yakhsa, which is the transcendent connection between the humans and the divine beings in Hindu mythology.

The interesting story attached with the temple exists from the seasons of Ramayana. Lord Lakshman, Lord Ram’s younger brother, was hurt by a lightning bolt from Meghanath in the battle of Lord Ram and Ravana. The wound could not be cured after many efforts. It was believed that a herb (Sanjeevani) from Himachal could probably cure this pain.

ALSO READ: Indian Firm takes over Construction of Hindu Temple of Goddess Durga in Bhutan

Lord Hanuman stood up to the task. On the way to Himachal, Hanuman saw Sage Yaaku sitting on the mountain and he approached him to enquire about the herb. Once his enquiry was done, Hanuman left.

When on the way back Hanuman met with the Sage again, he could not accept the invitation to stay. Lord Ram was waiting for the herb to be brought soon. Yaaku was left with a symbol of the Lord on the slope of the mountain, where he decided to build the temple.

The symbol/ icon can be seen in the temple. As with other Hanuman Mandirs in the country, gangs of monkeys can be seen bullying and dominating the area. They are fed well by the many tourists that come to the temple.

prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter @Saksham2393

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500 jaundice cases detected in Shimla

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Shimla: Over 500 jaundice cases were detected in Shimla this winter which has taken the healthcare sector in Himachal Pradesh by surprise.

Shimla civic authorities suspect that mixing of sewage with the potable water has caused the spread of the water-borne disease. The state high court also took Suo Motu cognizance in this regard and sought a status report from the government by Thursday.

Deputy Mayor Tikender Panwar said that effluents from the sewerage treatment plant in Malyana, located the vicinity of the Ashwani Khud drinking water scheme, was mainly responsible for water contamination.

He said that he lodged a criminal negligence complaint with the police against a contractor of the treatment plant on Tuesday who has been accused of discharging sewage in the rivulet without treating it.

Panwar said the government-run treatment plant uses an outdated technology for reusing the water.

The Ashwani Khud drinking water scheme supplies water to one-third of Shimla’s population.

Most of the jaundice cases have been reported from Chotta Shimla, Panthaghati, Vikas Nagar, New Shimla and Kasumpti, a health officer said.

Doctors in the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital (IGMCH) said on an average 15 to 20 patients suffering from jaundice come to the hospital daily. More than 250 patients have been treated in the IGMCH alone so far.

Irrigation and Public Health Minister Vidya Stokes said the government has taken preventive steps to check the further spread of jaundice.

She said water supply from the Ashwani Khad has been temporarily shut till the mixing of untreated water from the sewerage treatment plant is plugged.

Sounding a note of caution, Panwar said the testing of potable water at any level is not done for the virus causing hepatitis because there is no such laboratory in the state.

He said the quality of water supplied from the Ashwani Khud is not good, which is causing repeated epidemic in Shimla.

In 2007, 2010 and 2013, a large number people in the town tested positive for Hepatitis E, a liver problem caused by the consumption of water contaminated by sewerage.

Planned for a maximum population of 16,000, Shimla is home to 170,000 people as per the 2011 census and generates 30.09 million litres per day of sewage. (IANS)

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22 injured in Himachal accident

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Shimla : At least 22 people were injured when a Haryana Roadways bus rolled down a hill near Solan town in Himachal Pradesh on Sunday, police said.

The bus was on its way from Shimla to Delhi when it met with the accident, police said.
The victims were admitted to a hospital in Solan, some 45 km from Himachal Pradesh.

(IANS)
(Photo Credit : youtube.com)