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Time-warped Goa village to celebrate a unique traditional delicacy, patoli on Independence Day

Village of Socorro is located in a valley that is around 10 km from capital Panaji

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Patoli. Image source: goatrons.com
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Socorro, August 14, 2016: On Independence Day that falls on August 15, a tiny village in Goa will not only celebrate the country’s freedom with fervour and zeal but will also honour the patoli, an unsung, delicious, time-warped local dessert, served delicately wrapped in turmeric leaf.

The Socorro Socio Art and Cultural Association has been using the aegis of Independence Day to promote the patoli, a unique and traditional delicacy, which is cooked in both Hindu and Christian homes on festive occasions, especially during the monsoon, when fresh turmeric leaves are available in plenty.

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Located in a valley around 10 km from capital Panaji, the village of Socorro is actually just a short distance from the bustling National Highway 17, but in reality, with its green fields, foliage and traditional Goan homes, the village could well be stuck in a past era.

Marius Fernandes, who has been the soul and strength behind the Patolleanche fest (festival of the patolli), says the success of the festival proves that without sponsorship, alcohol, chief guest and plastic, an event driven by genuine passion can still be a success today.

Patollio, a delicacy in Goa. Image source: minifoodescapades.wordpress.com
Patilo, a delicacy in Goa. Image source: minifoodescapades.wordpress.com

“It’s basically three festivals rolled in one. At 9 a.m., the feast of Our Lady of Assumption is celebrated at the Our Lady of Socorro Church followed by an Independence Day programme by Our Lady of Succour primary school, also in Socorro. As we do not have to wait for a chief guest, we start with the Patolleanche Fest exactly at 11 a.m.,” Fernandes tells IANS.

“We also have some basic rules and aims for our festivals, like there is no chief guest, no sponsors, no prizes, no competition, no plastics and no alcohol. The aim of our festival is to empower women and children. Our festival caters to over 1,500 people, so villagers form groups in the seven vaddos (wards) of Socorro to take up the responsibility of buying, cooking and sharing cooking recipes,” says Fernandes, who prefers to be called a cultural activist.

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The star of the event is obviously the patolli.

The ingredients required are all earthy and available in Goa, especially during the monsoon. There’s grated coconut, coconut jaggery, cardamom, salt to taste, rice and, of course, turmeric leaves.

The rice is first boiled and kneaded into a paste and smeared on the turmeric leaf, the rest of the ingredients are boiled in a little water until the stuffing is cooked. It is then wrapped into the turmeric leaf and steamed for around 20 minutes.

When it’s time to eat, one simply strips the turmeric leaf off and bites into the patolli.

While for Hindus a patoli is the dish-of-the-day during Nag Panchami, for the Christians it is the flavour of the day during the feast of Our Lady of Assumption.

But Independence Day in Socorro is not just about gobbling down the delightful patolis. There’s more to it.

“This year’s menu will include local Goan rice, bhende (okra) curry, fish kismur (a dish made from dry fish and grated coconut), mango pickles and like served on a patraval (leaf plate) besides sannas (idlis fermented with toddy) and pez (rice water) which will be served in kotteio’s (coconut shells). We try and be as eco-friendly as possible,” Fernandes says, adding that the venue will be decorated with recycled material and cloth flags.

“We have been using the same material and flags for the last five years. Our festival has created a great deal of interest and sometimes we are invited to share our ideas.” (IANS)

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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.