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Himachal’s researcher proves traditional Mandiyali dham a satvik & complete food, contains all 6 rasa defined in Ayurveda

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dr. om sharma

SHIMLA– Delicious Mandiyali dham – a traditional feast of Mandi district in Himachal Pradesh has been assessed by a Himachal researcher as a complete food from Ayurvedic perspective. A team headed by Dr. Om Sharam at the Regional Ayurveda Research Institute for Nutritional Disorders, Mandi spent about six years to study Mandiyali dham. Dr.Sharma, who is also Assistant Director-cum-in charge at the institute, assessed everything from methods of cooking, nutritional values, medical properties of ingredients, serving style, season, geographical and climatic characteristics to Ayurvedic benefits.  He also published a research article in the February edition of the International Journal of Advance Research under title “Dham (Traditional Feast of Mandi in Himachal Pradesh) a Complete Food with Ayurveda Perspective.”

Dr.Sharma, a native of Banrotu, Mandi, said he will file a patent for the dham in order to preserve its importance in times when traditional values are vanishing into urbanization. The patent of Himachal’s traditional dham will include every step followed from preparation, exact quantity used to properties of each individual ingredient.

Regional Ayurveda Research Institute for Nutritional Disorders

Recently, Dr. Sharma, was joined by a botanist, Deepshika Arya, and four research officers, namely Vineeta Negi (Kinnaur), Vikas Nariyal (Kangra), Prashant Shinde (Maharashtra),Deepshika Arya (Haldwani), and Sumeet Goel( Haldwani). 

What Makes Mandi Dham a Complete Food?

Other than carefully going through the research article, Himachal Watcher talked to Dr. Sharma to know more about their motivation behind carrying out this extensive study to establish correlation between ancient knowledge of Ayurveda and tradition of dham.

He told HW that while onion and garlic are central to contemporary food, Mandi’s dham doesn’t use either of them, at all. That makes the dham a ‘satvik bhojan’.

Botis-cooking-Dham

Dr. explained that Ahar (food) holds an immense importance in Ayurveda.

As per Ayurveda, a good diet consist of six rasa when taken in a proper sequence starting from Madhura (food sweet), followed by Amla, Lavana, Katu, Tiktaand Kashaya. As per the study, traditional dham of Mandi is an example of food with all six rasa or complete food (shadrasaahara) when served in sequence.

As per the study, diet in Mandi dham also considers influences of Mana (psychological factors) on digestion. As per Ayurveda, negative emotions can influence digestion of food. An individual afflicted with grief, fear, anger, sorrow, excessive sleep and vigil would not be able to digest even a complete diet properly. That is why the dham is served on festive occasions where people gather, sit on ground, and eat in uniform plates made of leaves.

Sequence of Serving

Mandiyali meetha
The food is served in bio-degradable plates made from leaves. The starters begins with madhur rasa (sweet dish), Boondi ka Meeta (chickpera floor dipped in sweet syrup along with dry fruits).

Sepu Badi Mandi Dham

Sepu Badi, prepared from fresh spinach leaves and badi, comes next. In this dish badi is made from Masha (black lentil) and Chana (Bengal gram) that are deep fried with the gravy of coriander and spinach leaves. It provides a Madhura-Amla rasa (Sweet-Sour).

kaddu ka khatta

Sepu Badi is followed by Kadu ka Khatta that makes Amla-lavana Rasa (sour-salty). The dish is prepared from pumpkin and taste like a blend of sweet and sour.

Kol ka Khata (makushtabheda-Vigna aconitifolia) that is prepared from pulse called kol follows khatta. It’s sour and brings a grimace on face.

himachali-Mandyali-Dham-maa-ki-dal

Photo: Koyna Singh.Blogspot

After Khatta comes Mah ki Daal (black tentrils). It is prepared with Fennel seeds, two three bay leaves, green Cardamoms, Black Cardamoms, small stick of Cinnamon, Clovers, Coriander seeds, Bay leaves, Curd, Spinach, pinch of Asafetida, red chili powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder. The dish makes tiktapradran (bitter dominant) dish.

jholJhol comes last in this sequence. It is prepared from curd and water in mud pot. Jhol is believed to help in digestion of food that is taken in dham. As per Ayurveda, itsrukhsaguna also help in cleansing of esophagus and gut from Ghrita rich food. 

Eaten With only Hands

People eat with hands in traditional dham. A person eating with his hands knows the exact temperature of food before the morsel hits his mouth. It prevents blisters in mouth due to consumption of hot food, says the research article.

Medicinal Benefits
The dham is believed to be useful in throat problems, blood disorders, bronchitis, skin disease and liver or gall bladder related problems. Other than that, the diet boosts blood enrichment, help in treatment of ear infections and liver and spleen disorders. The diet also offers vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, folate and the Vitamin A precursor, β-carotene. Pumpkin contains potassium that is good for heart.

Natural Preservation

Traditional Himachal dham
People use natural methods for preservation of main food including rice by drying in sun. Instead of chemical preservatives like sodium benzoate, people use rai as natural preservative. To preserve the pulses, people rub them with mustard oil. It protects them from pests and fungus. Smoke of red chilli is used to treat the vessels in which the pulses are stored.

Favorable Season

Winters are considered favorable season for serving dham as it is believed that digestive powers are higher during this time due to low temperatures. 

Social Equality

Mandiyali Dham Patent

Unlike modern methods of serving food and eating at marriages, all people sit on ground and eat in one type of plate. It promotes message of equality and uniformity in the society, said the research article.

Eco-friendly and employment to traditional plate (pattal) makers

plate made of leaves

Dr. Sharma told Himachal Watcher that the traditional alternative to plastic plates used in dham is clean Taur –bauhinia vahli leaves. The leaves posses anti-microbial effect and antioxidant properties. Moreover, the leaves are 100 percent bio-degradable so no waste left behind.

Dr. Sharma and his team claims that the ingredients of traditional dham are not chosen haphazardly. Rather, its a proof that Himachal’s culture is also rich in terms of ancient wisdom. He stressed upon the need of conservation of this traditional feast as well as other traditions that are unique to pahari culture. He wants the dham to gain popularity so the people may understand the importance of traditional food, and the method of traditional preservation. He said he will continue to work on the research and will refine it. 

He also expressed concern over adulteration of original tradition as some new dishes or ingredients are being included into dham by new generation. Changes or additions would prove detrimental to the benefits which traditionally made and served dham provides. 

As popularly said in Ayurveda,

If one eats pathya(Proper food) then there is no need of medicine and if one don‟t eat pathya(takes improper diet) still there will be no need of medicine.

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 7 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture world around him in his DSLR lens.

Art & Culture

Shimla’s emerging filmmaker grabs 3 more awards for short-film “Papa”

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Papa Short Film by Siddharth wins awards

Shimla: Shimla-based emerging short-film maker Sidharth Chauhan (27) has grabbed more awards for his work “Papa.”  His short-film Papa has received three awards at the Vintage International Film Festival, 2018.

As per the results announced on March 20, 2018, the movie won Sidharth the best short-film award in the National category. The film also won the best director award for Siddhartha and best cinematography award for Yashwant Kumar Sharma.

The film is written, produced, and directed by Sidharath.

Papa is the same film that was first screened at the International Documentary and Short Film Festival in Kerala in 2016 where it claimed its first award (best film).

Later, Papa made its first international premiere at the London Indian Film Festival in 2017 where the short film won the Satyajit Ray award. 

It was a mature storytelling which balanced a realistic sense of frustration and claustrophobia, with a finely nuanced thread of subtle and deadpan humour,

said the jury.

The film is a story of a paralyzed mother, Sushma and her young son, Rajiv, who are living a tough life post an accident, which left their lives scarred forever.

You can read more about the film, its crew, location etc. in one of our previous posts.

Other than Papa, Sidharth’s short-film Pashi has also fetched appreciation and awards for Sidharth.

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Art & Culture

Himachal’s traditional ‘Mandi Shivratri’ fair begins today

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Mandi shivratri 2018 pictures

Mandi: The traditional Shivratri Mela of Mandi district, which is a week-long international fair, began today as the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jai Ram Thakur, formally announced the opening at the historical Paddal ground at Mandi. 

This year’s celebrations are special for the people of Mandi as it is the native place of the Chief Minister. Also, Bhartiya Janata Party has captured all 10 seats in the district including the support of the one independent candidate.  

I am happy to see all nine MLAs including an Independent who have gathered here for celebrating the festival with traditional fervour,

he said.

Earlier, after paying obeisance at the famous Madho Rai temple, the Chief Minister participated in the traditional ‘Jaleb’ (Shobha Yatra) of Shivratri fair, which began from DC office to end at the Paddal ground.

Mandi shivratri 2018

Local deities along with the Chief deity Madho Rai led the procession.

The locals draped in their colourful attire thronged the procession carrying along the palanquins of the local deities and marched towards the Paddal Mela ground. A little less than two hundred Devtas participated in the ‘Jaleb’, the traditional Shobha Yatra, from almost all corners of the district.

The life of the people of the state revolves around the local Gods and Goddesses, and the local deities are an inseparable part of the people. The Shivratri festival gives a glimpse of ‘Dev and Manav Milan’ (the meeting of humans with deities), he said.

The Chief Minister announced a hike of 20 percent in ‘nazarana’ of the local deities, 20 percent hike in ration quota, and two times increase in honorarium of ‘Bajantris’ – the musicians who accompany the deities.

As compared to Rs. 3,64,000 in 2017, with two times rise in honorarium of Bajantris, the expenditure the expenditure will be Rs. 7,31,000  in 2018.   

The Chief Minister has assured that the government will register the left-out deities in a phase-wise manner.

 ‘Sarv Devta Committee’ will formulate the guidelines, examine each case, will pass a resolution in the house unanimously, and the committee will forward the case to the district administration for necessary action. 

 The Chief Minister also released a souvenir of the festival on the occasion. 

He said the government would soon come up with parking places to decongest traffic.  

The Chief Minister said Mandi will be connected with air services under UDAN scheme, (a regional connectivity scheme of Government of India). A helipad will be constructed in Mandi, he said. 

The state government will take up the issue with the Union government along with the demand for direct flights from Chandigarh to Kullu, Kangra, Shimla and for tribal areas,  the Chief Minister assured. 

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Pahari short-film Pashi wins best Cinematography award at Marietta Film Festival in Georgia

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Siddharth Chauhan’s Himachali short-film Pashi has won the best Cinematography award at Marietta International Film Festival in Georgia,  Europe in the short-film category.

Earlier, Pashi had also made it to an Oscar qualifying ‘Rhode Island International Film Festival’held in USA in August 2017. It was the first international premiere for the film. Like Rhode Island, at Marietta too, Pashi was the only entry from India, said Sidharth.

Siddharth was the Director of photography while Yashwant Kumar Sharma was his cameraman.

Watch Trailer

The film is inspired from Siddharth’s childhood memories in his village Dhanoti, Rohru of Shimla district and produced under the Secret Corridor Picture.

In the regional Pahari spoken in Rohru, Pashi means a trap – an ancient concept used by villagers & children for hunting birds and animals.

pashi film shooting locationThe film was primarily shot in Sunta Lodge, a beautiful wooden mansion of village Khalwan. Some of the parts were also filmed in Village Dhanoti neat Tikker (Rohru).

Pashi will be showcased at Shanghai International Film Festival in Shanghai on the September 17. On February 2, 2018, the film will be showcased at the World Music and Independent Film Festival in Washington where it already has five nominations – Best Director, Best Screenplay Writer, Best Cinematography, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor.

Siddharth has emerged as a talented filmmaker from the Hill state where the film industry is still in infancy. Luckily, the parents of Siddharth, Mr. Balwan Singh Chauhan and Mrs. Bimla Chauhan offered a thorough support to him in his endevour.

Lead actors of the film include Chetan Kanwar, a Class XII student at the Chapslee School, Shimla, John Negi, a model/actor from Rampur, Kamayani Bisht, an English Professor at the Government College Theog, Savitri Devi Sunta, the oldest family member of the Sunta family in Khawalan.

Supporting case includes Dewansh Kanwar (Chapslee School), Aditi Sunta ( Rohru), and Dev Ranta (Rohru).

Other crew members are as followed.

  • Assistant Directors: Mridul Surbhi, Shefali Chauhan & Ankit Rathore
  • Music: Prabir Sekhri from Canada
  • Sound: Tanmaya Das from Mumbai
  • Visual Effects: Himanshu Hirwani from Pune
  • Story/Direction: Siddharth Chauhan from Shimla
  • Associate Producers: Swati Chauhan & Ankit Rathore (from Delhi)

 

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