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6 Indian States and their special Dishes that will leave you hungry for more!

The interaction of various Indian diaspora communities with the native cultures of their domiciles have resulted in the creation of many fusion cuisines, which blend aspects of Indian and foreign cuisines making the exquisite Indian Cuisines more tempting and relishing.

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April 23, 2017: India consists of many cultures under one roof and each and every culture fills the air of this nation with the beautiful aroma of their cuisines. Indian cuisine encompasses a wide variety of regional and traditional cuisines native to India.

Given the range of diversity in soil type, climate, culture, ethnic groups, and occupations, these cuisines vary significantly from each other and use locally available spices, herbs, vegetables, and fruits. Indian food is also heavily influenced by religious and cultural choices and traditions. Also, Middle Eastern and Central Asian influences have occurred on North Indian cuisine from the years of Mughal rule.

Indian cuisine is still evolving, as a result of the nation’s cultural interactions with other societies. No wonder, the delicious delicacies of the country are an integral part of its culture and the culture is very well reflected on a single plate of food. Here is a list of popular Indian cuisines which will leave you hungry for more-

Rajma Chawal;the comfort food of Punjab,Source-Wikipedia

1. Punjab : The cuisine of Punjab is known for its diverse range of dishes. The state, being an agriculture center, is abundant with whole grains, vegetables, and, fruits. Home-cooked and restaurant Punjabi cuisines can vary significantly. Restaurant-style Punjabi cooking puts emphasis on creamy textured foods by using ghee, butter and cream to accustom various kinds of guest taste preferences; while, home-cooked equivalents center around whole wheat, rice, and other ingredients flavored with various kinds of masalas.

Try the makke ki roti and sarson da saag, which is a popular combination of a Punjabi flat-bread and gravy made of mustard leaves and spices. Also, the popular chhola-bhatura, rajma-chawal, amritsari machhli (fish) and lassi (sweetened buttermilk) find their roots in this region.

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Khaman Dhokla,the speciality of Gujarat,Source-Wikipedia

2. Gujarat- North Gujarat, Kathiawad, Kachchh, and South Gujarat are the four major regions of Gujarati cuisine. Many Gujarati dishes are simultaneously sweet, salty (like vegetable handva), and spicy. In mango season, keri no ras (fresh mango pulp) is often an integral part of the meal. . Try the dhokla, which is a well-known snack or breakfast item that is both healthy and delicious. Other popular delicacies include the thepla (flat-bread made of fresh fenugreek leaves and flour), khandvi, dhansak and Gujarati kadhi.

Pav Bhaji,A famous snack found in streets as well as restaurants;Source-Wikipedia

3. Maharashtra- Maharashtrian cuisine is an extensive balance of many different tastes. It includes a range of dishes from mild to very spicy tastes. Bajri, wheat, rice, jowar, vegetables, lentils, and fruit form important components of the Maharashtrian diet. Popular dishes include puran poli, ukdiche modak, batata wada, sabudana khichdi, masala bhat, pav bhaji, and wada pav. Poha or flattened rice is also usually eaten at breakfast. Kanda poha and aloo poha are some of the dishes cooked for breakfast and snacking in evenings. Shrikhand, a sweet dish made from strained yogurt, is a main dessert of Maharashtrian cuisine.

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Litti:Bihar’s speciality;Source-Wikipedia

4. Bihar- People don’t know enough about the typical cuisine of Bihar even though it is excessively rich in taste and austere in the way it is prepared. Bihari cuisine is wholesome and simple. Litti chokha, a baked salted wheat-flour cake filled with sattu (baked chickpea flour) and some special spices, is well known among the middle-class families served with baigan bharta, made of roasted eggplant and tomatoes. Among meat dishes, meat saalan is a popular dish made of mutton or goat curry with cubed potatoes in garam masala. During the festival of Chhath, thekua, a sweet dish made of ghee, jaggery, and whole-meal flour, flavoured with aniseed, is made.

Rajasthani Thali, Source-Wikipedia

5. Rajasthan- This state is not only illustrious because of its vast deserts, beautiful palaces, and vibrant history—it is also famed for the scrumptious indigenous cuisine. The region presents a variety of delicacies when it comes to food. One of the most appetizing dishes is daal-baati, which consists of hard balls made of wheat flour and additives fried in ghee, and a special daal made of different types of pulses. It is usually served with churma, a sweet dish prepared by crushing baatis and adding ghee and sugar. Also try the pyaaz kachori, malai ghewar, gatte ki sabzi and kalakand.

Bengali authentic full meal, Source-Wikipedia

6. West Bengal- During the 19th century, many Odia cooks were employed in Bengal and they took several dishes with them. Bengali cuisine is the only traditionally developed multi-course tradition from the Indian subcontinent that is analogous in structure to the modern service à la russe style of French cuisine, with food served course-wise rather than all at once. Bengali cuisine differs according to regional tastes, such as the emphasis on the use of chilli pepper in the Chittagong district of Bangladesh. However, across all its varieties, there is predominant use of mustard oil along with large amounts of spices. The cuisine is known for subtle flavours with an emphasis on fish, vegetables, lentils, and rice.
Fresh sweetwater fish is one of its most distinctive features; Bengalis prepare fish in many ways, such as steaming, braising, or stewing in vegetables and sauces based on coconut milk or mustard. Shondesh and Rasgulla are popular sweet dishes made of sweetened, finely ground fresh cheese. In fact first ever Rasgulla was made in West Bengal.

The interaction of various Indian diaspora communities with the native cultures of their domiciles have resulted in the creation of many fusion cuisines, which blend aspects of Indian and foreign cuisines making the exquisite Indian Cuisines more tempting and relishing.

– by Nikita Tayal of NewsGram Twitter @NikitaTayal6

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12 Interesting Facts About Somnath Temple Probably You Didn’t Know

The Somnath Temple is popular due to various legends connected to it. The place is an important pilgrimage and tourist spot.

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Somnath Temple is located in Veraval on the western coast of Gujarat, India. Wikimedia Commons
Somnath Temple is located in Veraval on the western coast of Gujarat, India. Wikimedia Commons
  • Somnath Temple is believed to be the place where Lord Krishna ended his Lila and thereafter left for heavenly abode
  • The first Siva temple at Somanath is believed to have been built at some unknown time in the past
  • Gujarat was raided by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1024, plundering the Somnath temple and breaking its sacred jyotirlinga

Somnath Temple is a specimen of fine architecture of one of the 12 Jyotirlingas Shrines of Shiva. This place is believed to be the place where Lord Krishna ended his Lila and thereafter left for heavenly abode, therefore it is dubbed as Eternal Shrine. This legendary temple has been vandalized numerous times in the history but with the help of some Hindu Kings, the temple was reshaped each time.

Somnath Temple is located in Veraval on the western coast of Gujarat, India. The temple is popular due to various legends connected to it. The place is an important pilgrimage and tourist spot. Lord Shiva has a strong connection here and also known as shrine eternal.

Somnath Temple History

According to popular tradition, the first Siva temple at Somanath is believed to have been built at some unknown time in the past. The second temple has been built at the same site by the “Yadava kings” of Vallabhi around 649 CE. In 725 CE, Al-Junayd, the Arab governor of Sindh destroyed the second temple as part of his invasions of Gujarat and Rajasthan. In 815 CE, the Gurjara-Pratihara king Nagabhata II constructed the third temple, a huge structure of red sandstone.

Also Read: Top 10 Famous Hindu Temples of Tamil Nadu

The Chaulukya (Solanki) king Mularaja possibly built the first temple at the site sometime before 997 CE, even though some historians believe that he may have renovated a smaller earlier temple.

Somnath Temple Attacks

Gujarat was raided by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1024, plundering the Somnath temple and breaking its sacred jyotirlinga. Ghazni took away the wealth of almost 20 million dinars. As per historical records, the damage to the temple by was quite negligible because there are records of pilgrimages to the temple in 1038, which has no much mention of any damage to the temple.

In14th century, Gujarati Muslim pilgrims were noted by Amir Khusrow to stop at that temple to pay their respects before departing for the Hajj pilgrimage. Wikimedia Commons
In14th century, Gujarati Muslim pilgrims were noted by Amir Khusrow to stop at that temple to pay their respects before departing for the Hajj pilgrimage. Wikimedia Commons

But claims are there that Mahmud had killed 50,000 devotees who tried to defend the temple. The temple at the time of Ghazni’s attack appears to have been a wooden structure, which is said to have decayed in time.

According to an inscription of 1169, Kumarapala rebuilt it in “excellent stone and studded it with jewels,”

Also Read: Angkor Wat: History behind Cambodian Hindu temple

Then in 1299, the Somnath Temple was invaded by Alauddin Khalji’s army, led by Ulugh Khan. They defeated the Vaghela king Karna and sacked the Somnath temple. Legends state that the Jalore ruler Kanhadadeva later recovered the Somnath idol and freed the Hindu prisoners, after an attack on the Delhi army near Jalore. However, some other sources state that the idol was taken to Delhi, where it was thrown to be trampled under the feet of Muslims.

The Somnath Temple was rebuilt by Mahipala I, the Chudasama king of Saurashtra in 1308 and the lingam was installed by his son Khengara sometime between 1331 and 1351.

In14th century, Gujarati Muslim pilgrims were noted by Amir Khusrow to stop at that temple to pay their respects before departing for the Hajj pilgrimage.

In 1395, the temple was again destroyed for the third time by Zafar Khan, the last governor of Gujarat under the Delhi Sultanate and later founder of Gujarat Sultanate.

In 1546, the Portuguese who were based in Goa attacked ports and towns in Gujarat including Somnath Temple and destroyed several of its structures.

Somnath temple to Dwarka

Dwarka is an ancient city in the Indian state of Gujarat. It is very near to Somnath temple and due to its relevance to Hindu pilgrimage; people do tend to visit this place also.

Also Read: The Temple of Death: The Abode of Yamraj

The magnificent Temple of Dwarka has an elaborately tiered main shrine, a carved entrance and a black-marble idol of Lord Krishna.

Somnath Temple said to have been safely hiding the famous Syamantak Mani within the hollowness of Shivalinga. Wikimedia Commons
Somnath Temple said to have been safely hiding the famous Syamantak Mani within the hollowness of Shivalinga. Wikimedia Commons

The road distance between Dwarka and Somnath is 231 km and the aerial distance from Dwarka to Somnath is 210 km. One can also cover the distance through train which is almost 398km distant.

Here are some facts that are attached to this sacred and architecturally marvellous temple.

  1. The present-day Somnath Temple was built in five years, from 1947 to 1951 and was inaugurated by then President of India Dr Rajendra Prasad.
  2. Somnath Temple said to have been safely hiding the famous Syamantak Mani within the hollowness of Shivalinga, the Philosopher’s stone, which is associated with Lord Krishna. The stone is said to be magical, which was capable of producing gold. It is also believed that stone had alchemic and radioactive properties and thus it remains floating above the ground.
  3. The temple finds its reference in the sacred texts of Hindus like Shreemad Bhagavat, Skandpuran, Shivpuran and Rig-Veda. This signifies the importance of this temple as one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in India.
  4. According to records, the site of Somnath has been a pilgrimage site from ancient times as it was said to be the junction of three rivers, Kapila, Hiran and the mythical Saraswati. The meeting point was called as Triveni Sangam and is believed to be the place where Soma, the Moon-god bathed and regained his lustre.
  5. According to Swami Gajanand Saraswati (a Hindu scholar), the first temple was built 7, 99, 25,105 years ago as derived from the traditions of Prabhas Khand of Skanda Puran.
  6. The temple is said to be located at such a place that there is no straight-line land between Somnath seashore till Antarctica continent. In a Sanskrit inscription, found on the Arrow-Pillar called Baan-Stambh is stated that the temple stands at a point on the Indian piece of land, which happens to be the first point on land in the north to the south-pole on that particular longitude.

    The saga of Somnath temple is related to moon god and curse of his father in law Daksha Prajapati. Wikimedia Commons
    The saga of Somnath temple is related to moon god and curse of his father in law Daksha Prajapati. Wikimedia Commons
  7. According to the text of Skanda Purana, the name of Somnath Temple will change every time the world is reconstructed. It is believed when Lord Brahma will create a new world after ending the one we are living, Somnath will acquire a new name of Pran Nath Temple.
  8. On the walls of Somnath Temple, the sculptures of Lord Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu can be seen.
  9. According to another reference in the Skanda Purana, there are about 6 Brahmas. This is the era of 7thBrahma who is called Shatanand.
  10. The flag mast on the peak of Somnath Temple is 37 feet long and it changes 3 times a day.
  11. The saga of Somnath temple is related to moon god and curse of his father in law Daksha Prajapati.
  12. Non-Hindus doesn’t require any special permission to visit Somnath Temple. The decision was taken in view of security issues.Now, pack your bags and begin your journey to one of the most the sacred places of India.