What is the history of Sita Bhog and Mihidana in Burdwan? Who first prepared this sweet?

Newshub18:What is the history of Sita Bhog and Mihidana in Burdwan? Who first prepared this sweet?

When the name of Burdwan comes up, the first two names that come to mind are delicious sitabhog and mihidana. Just mentioning the names of Sitabhog and Mihidana brings to mind fluffy white and powdery yellow color, melting without putting it in the mouth, mind-blowing heavenly feeling – Sitabhog in ‘S’, Mihidana in ‘M’! Let’s take a look at the history behind these two sweets!In the birth-stories of many sweets of Bengal, we can find the connection of politics and history. There are many gossips about the birth story of two sweets in this district. During the British period, several sweets were made in this Bengal for the patronage of the Sahibs. One of which is Burdwan’s Sitabhog and Mihidana. The history of Sitabhog and Mihidana in Burdwan is naturally quite old.

In 1904, King Vijaychand Mahatab of Burdwan was given the title of Rajadhiraj by the British government. A grand function was organized at the Burdwan Palace on this occasion. On that occasion Lord Curzon, the Baralat of Bengal, came to visit Burdwan after being invited. All the guests including High Court judges were present. To please Baralat and to make the occasion more special, King Vijayachand of Burdwan ordered two brand new sweets—Sitabhoga and Mihidana. It is known that the rest of the guests, including Baralat, were very happy after tasting the two new sweets. Vijaychand Mohtab asked Bhairavachandra Nag, a popular sweet maker of Burdwan, to prepare a special sweet. Bhairavachandra Nag made mihidana and another famous dessert of Burdwan, sitabhog.

The original home of this Bhairava Naga was Sanghatgola village of Khandghosh. Nagera was the king’s specialty confectioner. On the invitation of the kings, Bhairab’s grandfather Srinath moved from there to Bardhaman along with the people of the Nag family. Srinath’s son Kshetranath Nag. During the reign of Mahatab Chand, the king of Burdwan, this Kshetranath Nag-e Sitabhoga and Mihidana preparations took place. But his Sitabhoga, Mihidana was in the form of Pantua and Bonda. Bhairava Babu made subtle forms of these two. The form in which we see Sitabhoga and Mihidana today is his creation. It is said that Curzon was so fond of eating sitabhog that he made it mandatory to serve sitabhog on all official occasions. Many years later, the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru came to a Congress session in Durgapur and received great praise.

Do you know how mihidana is made? The main ingredient of mihidana is rice. Govindbhoga, kaminibhoga or basmati rice is usually used in the preparation. Grind the rice and mix it well with besan and saffron. It is then mixed with water to form a thick mixture. The mixture is poured from a perforated brass pot into boiling ghee. Then the grains are roasted and strained through a strainer and kept in sugar juice. By the way, mihidana will be ready. But it is better not to try to make such sweets at home. The reason is the same. If you have never tasted the authentic Burdwan yellow mihidana, then alas, it is a Bengali birth.

On the other hand, the main ingredient of Sitabhog is Govindbhog rice, a species of Sitas. It is said that sitabhog has a distinct taste and aroma due to its preparation from govindbhog rice, a species of sitas. The said sitas are produced in a special region of Burdwan district. This rice is powdered and mixed with chickpeas in the ratio of 1:4 and smeared with sufficient amount of milk. The mixture is then poured into the hot sugar syrup from a perforated brass vessel shaped like a basmati rice. This results in sitabhog basmati rice with long narrow grains that look like rice. It is served with small pieces of golapjam and sometimes cashew nuts and raisins. However, there is a lot of controversy about the name ‘Sitabhoga’ in the scholarly circles. According to Sukumar Sen, the spelling should be ‘sitabhoga’, ‘sita’ meaning white. And ‘Sita’ also means candy, so the white candy-like sweets made by the haluikars of Burdwan Rajbari came to be known as ‘Sitabhoga’.Bengali poets and artists have also been enjoying Mihidana and Sitabhoga since then. Many songs and literature have been created based on this sweet. In famous comedian Navadwip Halder’s comedy song ‘Sharirata Aaj Bezay Bada’, he sang-

Rasgolla of Bagbazar, Sandesh of Bhim Nag
Sitabhoga Mihidana Darvesh of Burdwan.’

Rajinikanth Sen’s epic poem ‘Kalyani’ (1905) refers to various sweets of Bengal. Referring to Mihidana, Rajinikanth wrote,

“If, like a pumpkin, held on to rice,
Hundreds of Pantoas;
And, like mustard, there was Mihidana
Like boots!”

Think, Mihidana is being made in 1904. And in the very next year, Rajinikanth is writing these lines. It goes without saying that Mihidana had reached everywhere within a year.

Mihidana and Sitabhog are one of the famous sweets of Bengal. Mihidana and Sitabhog are recognized as traditional sweets of India. The patent for Sitabhog and Mihidana has been legally granted to the Government of West Bengal. Sitabhog and Mihidana are displayed as part of West Bengal culture at the Biswa Bangla Showroom at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata. Mihidana and Sitabhog got GI registration on 31 March 2017. That is, officially these two sweets are only Burdwan’s own.

Although sitabhog and mihidana originated in Burdwan, these two sweets are now available in almost every sweet shop in Bengal. But many people think that the taste of sitabhog and mihidana of Burdwan is not available in sweet shops of other districts of Bengal. Irrespective of the difference in taste, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that sitabhog and mihidana have occupied a special place in the minds of the sweet-hungry

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