Rosogolla Revisited!


Bengal and rosogolla are synonymous to each other! Being a true blue Bengali, Sampurna Majumder offers a delicious peep into the sweet’s history.

Rasgulla 3

It was during the British colonial days that the rosogolla suddenly made its appearance on Bengal’s platter. To trace its origins one has to travel way back in time, nineteenth century Bagbazaar, a famous north Calcutta locality. It is where, Nobin Chandra Das, the man who invented the rosogolla resided. He was poor and fatherless and his only source of income came from the sweets that he sold from a ramshackle sweet shop in the by lanes of Bagbazaar. Little did he know that one day he would become a legend.

Nobin Chandra’s rosogolla was born in an age when Bengali sweets meant the ubiquitous sandesh made from sugar and cottage cheese. As was the trend, Nobin Chandra also made sandesh but he itched to do something new, create a sweet that would be juicy and succulent. He decided to experiment the same cottage cheese by boiling it in sugar syrup. Many of his attempts ended in a failure, as once put in the sugar syrup the cheese crumbled. He found that the sugar syrup had to be kept in even temperature so that the casein stays intact. So on one fine day in 1868 the rosogolla was born. However the rosogolla had humble beginnings.

rosogolla4Nobin Chandra waited patiently for the recognition of this wonderful creation. It did not happen until Bhagwandas Bagla, a wealthy non-Bengali merchant made his appearance at Nobin Chandra’s sweet shop along with his family. One of his children was thirsty, and stopped in front of the sweet shop in search of water. Nobin Chandra met their demand. The child was given a glass of water and a rosogolla. He was delighted at the taste of this unique delicacy and asked his father to share it as well. No doubt the father was equally impressed. He bought huge quantities of rosogolla for his friends and family. Though a rudimentary publicity, it proved to be immensely helpful. The rosogolla became a hit and over the years acquired the status of Bengal’s most famous sweet.

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2 thoughts on “Rosogolla Revisited!

  1. Sam

    Researchers Claim Rasgullas Were Born In Puri
    Np Mohapatra / Blog / 6 yrs ago / AA+A++

    Extract from TOI 29 July 2007
    While lord Jagannath gets more than 20 varieties of sweet dishes every day, rasgulla is offered only when the deities of the 12th century shrine return to their abode.

    Bengal’s pride or Oriya invention?
    Researchers Claim Rasgullas Were Born In Puri
    Debabrata Mohapatra | TNN

    Puri: Think rasgullas, think Bengal? Maybe not any more.
    Researchers of Jagannath culture have staked Orissa’s claim to the origin of the national sweet of India saying the quintessentially Bengali sweetmeat was actually invented in Orissa. “Rasgulla is more than 600 years old. It is as old as the Rathyatra in Puri,’’ said senior researcher Jagabandhu Padhi. “This sweet delicacy was invented in Puri and later became popular in other parts of the country, including Bengal,’’ he added.
    Bengali legend has it that the succulent ball of cottage cheese was invented by noted confectioner Nobin Chandra Das during the 19th century in a bid to add variety to a dry sweet variant called the sandesh. But Padhi begs to differ. “The Rathyatra, which started more than six centuries ago, has not changed with times. And till today, rasgulla is the only sweet offered to Mahalaxmi, Jagannath’s consort, to appease her when the deities return home from Gundicha temple after a nine-day vacation,’’ Padhi said.
    According to mythology, the goddess was miffed after being left out of the party on the day of the Rathy atra and the lord makes up with his lady love by offering her rasgullas on his return. “This shows how old the sweet is,’’ Padhi added.
    Another researcher, Sarat Chan dra Mahapatra, said the Jagannath temple’s record-of-rights indicates that only rasgullas are offered to Mahalaxmi to appease her. “Though the record-of-rights of Jagannath temple came about in 1955, we have evidence of the rasgulla ritual in many religious scriptures written more than 300 years ago,’’ Mahapatra said.
    Researchers cite another reason why only rasgullas are offered. “A rasgulla is round-shaped, which symbolises Jagannath’s eyes, the most attractive body parts through which all down the ages have expressed their love,’’ added Mahapatra.

    Reply

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