Demand for ‘Ghevar’ the Rajasthani sweet, popularly consumed at festive observations during the Hindu month of ‘Shravan’, picks up
The run up to the host of Hindu festivals and traditions has begun, with the onset of ‘Shravan’ (the month of fasting and abstinences as per the lunar calendar) on July 4. And associated with this month is the consumption of popular sweets, like Ghevar and Feni, which have their roots in the Indian state of Rajasthan.
Some restaurants and sweetmeat manufacturers have already geared up to cater to the rising demand for these sweets which occupy a prominent place in the festive traditions, especially on ‘Haryali Teej’ (August 19) and ‘Raksha Bandhan’ (August 31).
This year, the month of Shravan extends for about 58 days (July 4 to August 31, which is a rarity after almost two decades. The elongation is attributed to the inclusion of the ‘Malamas’ month, an additional month inserted into the Hindu lunar calendar to synchronise with the lunar cycle.
According to sweetmeat makers of Kesar restaurant, the demand for ‘Ghevar’ goes up significantly during the month of Shravan when people regularly buy this sweet. The reason – the month of Shravan is the rainy season, and due to moisture in the air, most sweets become sticky. But ‘Feni’ and ‘Ghevar’ are two sweets that do not get spoiled by the moisture.
These sweets are consumed mostly for festivals like Hariyali Teej and Raksha Bandhan though you see it on sweets counters all through the month. Ghevar is prepared with a mixture of maida (all purpose flour) and water or milk. There is skilled technique of preparing this disc-shaped sweet directly in hot oil/ghee after which it is coated with a sugar solution, cream, and garnished with saffron, nuts and raisins. Feni, on the other hand, is prepared with toasted filo pastry strings that are soaked in a sugar solution and garnished with chopped pistachios.
Supriyo Maiti, manager of Kesar, who hails from Rajasthan, said “Ghevar is extremely popular in Rajasthan as well as the northern states of India during the season of Shravan. In Oman, too, there is good demand for this sweet from people hailing from all Indian states. Besides consumption at home, people also present each other this sweet when they visit the homes of relatives and friends.”
In rural areas, it is customary for people to send ‘Sargi’ (a platter of delicacies) to a sister’s house on the first Raksha Bandhan after her marriage, of which Ghevar and Feni are an important part. That’s why sweetmeat shops witness thronging crowds during the festival for buying these popular sweets.
Maiti added, “Over the last two weeks, there has been good demand for Ghevar and we have been preparing large quantities of this sweet, especially on weekends. During the season, we prepare anywhere between 100kg to 150kg of Ghevar for sale at the store, besides other orders customised for individuals. This is an annual tradition for us.”