Tag Archives: pakhala

A Tribute to Pakhala

Today is World Pakhala Day.  I do not know who decided on this and what was the basis of choosing this date, though I wholeheartedly welcome a day to celebrate the most staple diet of traditional Odia household. Considering that this is being celebrated on March 20 and not in the peak summer of May/June, this seems like more of welcoming the summer than celebrating it.

Pakahala is mother’s milk for Odias. This cooked rice soaked in water (and slightly fermented) is eaten throughout Eastern India. But in Odisha, it is more than a food; it is part of the culture. Why, it is the culture itself. Arguably, only Lord Jagannath is more  ingrained in Odia culture than pakhala, such is its status.

[BTW, for the uninitiated, here is the link to Wikipedia entry on pakhala]

Apart from it being a regular and ubiquitous food, pakhala always has had a special place in the socio-cultural life of Odisha. It in a pakhala bowl with saag floating in it that Bhakta Dasia (a great devotee of Lord Jagannath) could “see” the face of the Lord. By the way, it is part of the Lord’s diet plan itself, in the Puri temple. In many regions of Odisha, it is an essential part of the marriage rituals. The groom is served with pakhala after the marriage by the sisters-in-law.  Dahi pakhala,  or a special pakhala made with curd, is a  ceremonial dish eaten together after the bisarjan (immersion) of idols in Durga Puja. The list is long.

Celebrating pakhala is thus celebrating our roots; celebrating Odia culture. On this day, I present here a song that beautifully articulates the emotion that Odias have towards pakhala. The song, with versions sung by Pandita Balakrushna Dash and Srimati Shyamamani Pattnaik was written by Kavichandra Kalicharan Pattnaik.

Kavichandra who is known both for bringing in modernism into Odia songs and theater as well as for establishing the classical nature of Odissi,  shows here his third side: capturing both the pakhala culture and the affinity of Odias towards pakhala.  Here is the full lyrics in English script. If you want it in Odia script, you can download the pdf here.

Asa jibana dhana mora pakhala kansa

Asa jibana dhana

Sajanire to bihuna udila hamsa

Asa jibana dhana mora pakhala kansa

Asa jibana dhana…

Bahilani ana sakhi jhanja pavana

Athamari gala tunda jae jibana

To bina pakhala go 

Phatila kapala go

Torani sangare mishi hara mo trusha

Asa jibana dhana mora pakhala kansa

Asa jibana dhana…

Sanga thakurani pita sukhua rani

To lagi niaan re sati jhasa deleni

Piaja khari dare

Chhala chhindai mare

Maricha kahuchi mote to tule misha

Asa jibana dhana mora pakhala kansa

Asa jibana dhana…

Odia jibana dhua saga pakhala

Jagannatha rasithae mane tu bhala

Chakhi nahin je thare

Dhika ta janamare

Manisha bhitare se ta anapurusha

Asa jibana dhana mora pakhala kansa

Asa jibana dhana…

Here is the version sung by Pandita Balakrushna Dash

And here is the version sung by Smt Shyamamani Pattnaik

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Filed under Culture, Music, Odia music, Odisha & Odia