Thursday 15 April 2021

Mahabishuba Sankranti or Pana Sankranti And Rasagola #RasagolaA2Z

April 14th is the Mahabishuba Sankranti.

It is celebrated as the Odia New Year. It is also called- Pana Sankranti.

Art by- Shri Rabindra Kumar Maharana

Many regions of India celebrate their New Year around this time. More information in the previous post-
List of Lunar And Solar Indian New Year Days.

In Odisha and in Odia households, a special drink called Pana is prepared and available on Pana Sankranti. 

Pana offered in glasses & containers; PC- Shared on WhatsApp

Many of the traditions of Odisha are linked with the Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri. It is one of the four Dhams of India i.e. one of the four holiest places for Hindus. Centuries-old traditions and rituals are still followed at the Shree Jagannath Temple.

On Mahabishuba Sankranti, Pana is offered in the Shree Jagannatha Temple.

The Record of Rights lists the duties of the sebakas of the temple. Mahasuara sebaka prepares the Pana that is offered.

This writer spoke to Shri Biswanath Samatara, a Badasuara sebaka, who shared the ingredients that are used to prepare the divine concoction called Pana. They are-

Khira (Milk)

Chhena (Cottage-Cheese) 

Sara (Fresh Cream) 

Paani (Water) 

Golamaricha Gunda (Black pepper powder) 

Kala Aleicha Gunda (Black Cardamom powder)

Labanga Gunda (Clove powder)

Jaiphala Gunda (Nutmeg powder)

Kadali (Banana)

Chhati (Type of Sugar)

Khanda (Type of Sugar) 

ShreeKarpura (Edible Camphor)

Apart from the other dishes and the divine Pana mentioned above, special prasad named "Gheudi" - a type of Gaja made of chhena and flour is offered, along with "Enduri" - prepared using Ural dal and rice flour with ginger, peppercorns, and coconut. 

It can be seen that chhena is used in the Pana and in Gheudi. There are many chhena dishes that are a part of the Mahaprasad of Shree Jagannatha.

While the rules are strict in the Shree Jagannatha Temple where "foreign" ingredients like some non-indigenous fruits and vegetables etc. are still not used even today, the households are free to prepare the Pana in their own style with the ingredients they please.

The nutritious drink prepared by most households includes the pulp of Bael fruit (that is called- stone apple or wood apple in English; and Bela in Odia). Thus, it is also called- Bela Pana.

This video shows the preparation of Pana-

Many ingredients like milk, chhena (cottage-cheese), curd, water, pulp or chopped ripe fruits like banana, mango, grapes, pomegranate seeds etc, cashew-nuts, cheeries, raisins, grated coconut, cardomom powder, black-pepper powder, honey, jaggery, sugar, sweets like Boondi, Rasagola etc. are added to the thick Bael fruit pulp. 

My grandmother used crushed Rasagola to prepare the Pana. My aunts too prepare Pana by using Rasagola. Rasagola (Rasgulla) is made from chhena and can be used in addition or as a substitute for chhena.

My cousin prepares her Pana just like the preparation of- Panchamrita and adds chopped fruits to prepare a tasty mixture.
Panchamrita i.e. Pancha Amrita means- Five Nectar that is prepared by mixing five ingredients namely- Cow's Milk, Curd, Honey, Jaggery, and Ghee. It is offered during puja.

Pana drink is first offered to the deities.
Then, it is distributed amongst family and friends. 
Needless to say, a glass of Pana is a healthy way to begin the new year with cheer!

It is sad to see the omission of Pana Sankranti i.e. Maha Bishuba Sankranti of Odisha in many New Year messages.

Even "India's Largest English Newspaper" simply mentioned "Ugadi, Vishu, Gudi Padwa, Baisakhi, Bohag Bihu, Puthandu & Navratri" below its mast-head on April 13, 2021. Owing to holiday, there was no edition on the following day- April 14, 2021- when Pana Sankranti was celebrated. 

Today's paper mentions Poila Baisakh and Rasagola pot is shown.

Truly looking forward to see the representation of Pana Sankranti with a glass of Pana and a pot full of chhena and Rasagola in future images and advertisements. Requesting media for better and proper representation of Odisha.

Six years ago, many were even not aware of Niladri Bije ritual and Rasagola association with Odisha. People do not know as such info is not shared. Secrets of Odisha- "India's Best Kept Secret", need to be shared for people to be aware.

Source: @JagannathaDhaam

Mahabishuba Sankranti is an important day as the Odia New Year begins on this day.

There are many celebrations at the Shree Jagannatha Temple. Each celebration has a pre-decided menu and special bhoga or prasad.

But, many are not aware. Rasgulla and many chhena dishes have a centuries-old connection with the Puri Temple. Just because people do not know, it does not mean that these continuing traditions are not observed.

Irrespective of the occasion, Rasagola is always a part of the celebration in Odia households.

Enjoy with sweetness. Wishes for an auspicious new year- Subha Naba Barsa! 

I’m participating in the April #A2ZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

M For- Mahabishuba (Sankranti)
I am writing A-Z posts about Rasagola26 Rasgulla posts this April.
This sincere attempt is to share information about Rasagola/Rasgulla.
Rasagola is a part of Odisha's traditional knowledge, continuing tradition, cultural heritage and identity.  
You can check out my other Rasagola posts here.
This is my fifth #A2Z Challenge, and my last four challenges have been about Odisha, India. 
Are you aware of Rasagola/Rasgulla? Did you know that the Rasgulla originated in Odisha? 
Please do share any information about Rasgulla that you may have and which you feel must be documented and shared so that all are aware.  


  1. Loved every bit of the write up Anita. We are proud Odia girls and it’s so heartwarming to spread the essence of our rich culture and heritage . Keep posting more

  2. Happy Mahabishuba Shankranti. As you said, many regions in India celebrate new year on this day. Even Tamil New Year is on April 14. After reading your blog posts, I am very much interested in visiting Odisha and also the Puri Jagannath Temple.

  3. I am ashamed to say that I have always heard about how tasty the pana Sankranti sarbat is from my parents but never got to taste it till now 😑.Hope this time whenever I visit Odisha I will get the chance.

  4. Happy Mahabishuba Sankranti. Wow!! So many different variations of bael panna and I am amazed to know the names of so many ingredients. It must be a heavenly drink. I really hope your efforts bring fruits and Mahabishubha Sankranti finds mention along with Baisakhi, Ugadi, Vishu, and Gudi Padwa.

  5. Pana Sankranti is an important festival. Usually we take this opportunity here in Bangalore to distribute pana and create awareness about Odisha. Could not do it last year. This year also.

  6. I love the crushed Rasogola chunks that are added to Pana as well. And sometimes plain Bela Pana. Happy Belated New Year. Pana Sankrati is very auspicious and as in every Sankranti , there was special 'Homa'( Yagnya) at home this year as well.


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