The Chandi Padvo festival, which falls a day after Sharad Poornima, is widely celebrated by Surtis, or the people native to Surat across the country and abroad, by consuming Ghari (Sweet) and Bhusu (namkeen) sitting in the open to celebrate the full moon. Here is a look at the origins of this unique festival.
What is Chandi Padvo?
On Chandi Padvo, tradition has it that people of Surat eat only sweetmeats that are white and hence doodh poha, kheer or ghari are made across households. Ghari, a dish made of maida filled with mava, pistachios, almonds and sugar, and fried in ghee and then dipped in ghee to give it a white coat, is native to Surat and is most popular on this day. Incidentally, the sweetmeat resembles the full moon.
Surat-based historian Sanjay Choksi says, when the Marathas fought with the British in the 18th century, Tatya Tope came to Surat with his army and were tired from the long journey. “To give energy booster to the army, Tatya Tope had shared the recipe of Ghari, a mixture of sugar, ghee, dry fruits, and milk mava, stuffed in dough, and fried topped with a coat of ghee, with the halwai, who made it for his army,” he explains, about how this port city fell in love with the snack.
This incident is mentioned in the book by historian Dr Mohan Meghani titled “Surat of 18th century”. In fact, Ghari has become synonymous with Surat over the years.
Ghari also emerged as a favourite on Chandni Padvo, when Surtis head to Dumas or Ubhrat beaches in the evening and have it with Bhusu, a namkeen mix found in central and south Gujarat.
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Covid 19 and Chandi Padvo
Because of the pandemic, the Surat Municipal Corporation has urged people not to head out and crowd the public spaces, with Chandi Padvo falling on a Sunday this year. This year however, the festival is likely to be different as the Dumas and Ubhrat beaches, popular venues for the celebration, have not opened since the lockdown.
It is expected that people would now celebrate on the roadside footpaths, and bridges, with their families. There will be heavy police deployment on the roads to prevent people from gathering, said sources . 📣 Express Explained is now on Telegram
This year, a sweetmeat vendor has added a novel element to the ghari by coating it with gold leaves and selling it for Rs 9,000 a kg. The shop, called ’24 carat’, which has six branches in Surat city had this year introduced Gold ghari. From a single shop in Piplod area, around six kilos of ghari was sold on Saturday, while in the other shops sale varied from 2 kilos to four kilos, said shop owner Rita Ghariwala.
She said the Ghari on Chandi Padva is also given as a gift from a father to his children and their families. “Earlier, we believed we will not get any business, but as the people have started coming, we are meeting the sale demand and have increased the production.”
The Ghari makers
Rohan Mithaiwala, a fourth generation sweet maker, said the process of preparing Ghari starts ten days before Chandi Padva. “The Ghari prices are little high, starting from Rs 700 to Rs 850, but still people purchase it. We also get orders from different community organisations,” he said, estimating that nearly 150 tonnes is consumed in the city every Chandi Padvo.
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