Poda Pitha 

Nandigosha’s Beloved Treat 

By TravelDine

This variant of Odisha’s oldest sweetmeat warrants a stopover for the Holy Trinity during the famous Rath Yatra.  

Poda pitha is essentially ‘a sweet rice cake’.  

When it comes to sweets, few hold the place of pride like podo pitha.  

It’s usually made with rice powder or rice batter, jaggery and black cardamom or bay leaf with an occasional addition of freshly grated coconut or fermented lentil. 

The basic recipe calls for mixing all the ingredients and placing it in a leaf-lined vessel.   

Alternatively, you could use a cloth tied over a wide mouthed vessel filled with boiling water.   

Thereafter, the pitha is slow-cooked through the night, or till it attains a more solid structure that can be sliced through.  

Poda pitha is apt for the monsoons, owing to it being both palate pleasing and combating monsoon blues.   

As a dish that had both taste and shelf life, podo pithas’ relevance and rise in popularity began with its association with Raja.  

It continues through the period of Rath Yatra with a special stopover during the Bahuda Yatra.   

As part of the tradition, they stop at the Ardha Hosini temple to meet their aunt for a bite of her special Poda Pitha.  

Incidentally Lord Jagannath’s favorite too.  

The stoppage is made here because Lord Ram promises Kaikey, their aunt, to visit her once a year as a show that he held no ill-feeling against her. 

It is believed that the reason Lord Jagannath also makes this stopover is his love for poda pitha.  

Mausi Maa temple’s signature sweet is made with whole wheat, chenna, sugar, ghee and a myriad of spices.  

Every version of this famous dish is an absolute treat!