After 92 years, no traditional ‘khichdi bhandara’ at Tattapani

Event called off due to stringent Covid-19 pandemic guidelines

After 92 years, no traditional ‘khichdi bhandara’ at Tattapani

Chefs prepare khichdi, in the presence of CM Jai Ram Thakur, on Makar Sakranti at Tattapani near Shimla. File photo

Bhanu P Lohumi
Tribune News Service
Shimla, January 13

The famous pilgrimage destination “Tattapani”, known for hot water springs, would miss the traditional khichdi bhandara (langar) on the auspicious occasion of Makar Sankranti for the first time in 92 years as the Covid-19 pandemic has cast its shadow over the popular event.

Guinness World Record

  • The khichdi (beans and rice), weighing 1,995 kg and prepared by the Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation and Durga Devi Bihari Lal Brochan Lal Charitable Trust in a single utensil, entered the Guinness World Records last year.
  • The khichdi was served to about 10,000 persons. The earlier record under this title was 918.8 kg. Interestingly, the utensil used for cooking the khichdi was 7x4 feet in radius and this attempt was aimed at bringing Tattapani on world tourism map.

Serving free khichdi to thousands of pilgrims, who throng Tattapani, 58 km from here, every year had become a tradition. The khichdi langar is being held with unfailing regularity for the past 92 years by Durga Devi Bihari Lal Brochan Lal Charitable Trust but this year the event has been called off due to the stringent Covid-19 pandemic guidelines.

“The maximum number of people allowed in a gathering is 50. Therefore, it is neither feasible nor advisable to hold the free langar this time as thousands of devotees make a beeline to Tattapani on the occasion,” said president of the trust Ramesh Sood.

Moreover, it is mandatory to have Covid-19 negative report for the cook and all those involved in serving khichdi. The cook and other staff are from the village and not willing to undergo test. So it was decided to skip the event this year in larger public interest, he said.

“We would spend the same amount of money in charity and distribute blankets to the needy and hold a mega medical checkup camp in Tattapani after situation improves”, he added.

“We had planned to hold mega water sports events in Tattapani this time but due to ongoing Covid pandemic and model code of conduct for panchayat polls, the plans would be executed after the situation becomes normal,” said Director Tourism and Aviation Yunus.

Taking bath in flowing river waters is considered auspicious. A large number of people make a beeline to Tattapani on Makar Sankranti, said Bhakti Prasad, renowned Pandit, who had been performing tuladaan and other religious ceremonies for many years.

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