14 April 2019
Bhubaneswar: Maha Vishuba Sankranti also known as Pana Sankranti, marks the dawn of New Year in Odisha. The festival is celebrated with visits to Shiva, Shakti, or Hanuman temples, as the day is also considered to be the birthday of Hanuman or Hanuman Jayanti.
The day has been named after 'Pana', the main drink prepared on this occasion. 'Pana’ made with 'bela' (wood apple) and sugar, is a sweet-sour drink that doesn’t only represent Odisha’s unique traditions, but also bears significant scientific benefits.
1: Firstly, the drink made of the pulp of the wood apple or Bela is extremely healthy and helps to keep the body cool during the scorching summer.
2: Another health benefit of ‘Pana’ is that it is highly nutritious. It contains nutrients like vitamins, and organic compounds, including their tannins, calcium, phosphorous, fiber, protein, and iron.
3: It helps in blood purification and the removal of toxins that can cause extensive damage to the body. It also reduces the strain on kidneys and keeps them healthy.
4: As a good source of beta-carotene, wood apples also cure liver problems. They contain thiamine and riboflavin, both of which are known as liver health boosters, this fruit also functions as an ingredient in cardiac tonics.
5: It’s a natural energy booster. A hundred grams of Bela fruit pulp provides 140 calories which boosts organ activity and metabolic speed.
Traditionally offered to Lord Jagannath during the summer, this healthy and natural juice was given a religious bent by the ancestors. There are two types of ‘pana’. One is made with ‘chatua’( a powdered mixture of lia/khai, chuda, wheat, dried peas, ground nuts, pulses ) and the other is prepared by mashing fruits. Here is the method of preparing Pana at home.
Ripe Bela (Wood Apple or Aegle Marmelos) -1
Chatua ( a very healthy mixture of whole grains, pulses and nuts easily available in the local market)
Grated Coconut -1/2 cup
Banana peeled and mashed – ½ cup
Black Pepper -1 teaspoon
Handful of cashew nut and raisin
Sugar or jaggery to taste
Water -1 litre
Some ice cubes
Remove the pulp from the bela and soak it in 1 litre of water. Start mashing up the pulp using your palm, so that it completely dissolves in water. Use a strainer to strain the pulp. You need to press a little to completely extract the juice. Discard the seeds, fibers etc left in the strainer. Mash the banana and sugar (or jaggery) together. Then mix it with the bela juice. Add the grated coconut and black pepper. You can use the cashew nuts and raisins to garnish and serve it chilled.
Some add grated paneer to suit the taste buds.
It is an antidote for sun stroke, and a must in Odia New Year. This drink is extremely healthy and helps to keep the body cool.