Punjabi Tradition & Rauza Sharif

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The ensuing weeks will find me trotting around my home state of Punjab on an exciting new assignment. That aside, I look forward to re-acquainting with the idea of Punjabiyat – an elusive ethos that once was – of a shared way of life.

A brief glimpse of which I caught on my visit to the Rauza Sharif.  Like most elsewhere, Punjabi tradition, too, demands a new beginning be marked by ingesting something sweet. Surely, a jaggery-laced post makes for as befitting a tribute as any barfi or ladoo, don’t you think?

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A common winter sight along many a state highway is that of gigantic cauldrons bubbling lustily with boiling sugarcane juice.

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Fires continuously fed with crushed and de-juiced cane strands by hardy veterans till the liquid reduces to desired consistency.

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Once it achieves this fudge-like texture, it is poured into large wooden troughs and endlessly agitated till it further dehydrates.

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While still hot, it is shaped into rough patties and sprinkled with saunf (aniseed) and magz (melon seeds), then left to cool.

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Following which, the freshly minted gur or shakar (powdered form in pic above) is piled up streetside, irresistibly beckoning to every sweet tooth that attempts to drive past.

 

Puneet Sidhu
Puneetinder Kaur Sidhu, travel enthusiast and the author of Adrift: A junket junkie in Europe is the youngest of four siblings born into an aristocratic family of Punjab. Dogged in her resistance to conform, and with parental pressure easing sufficiently over the years, she had plenty of freedom of choice. And she chose travel.

She was born in Shimla, and spent her formative years at their home, Windsor Terrace, in Kasumpti while schooling at Convent of Jesus & Mary, Chelsea. The irrepressible wanderlust in her found her changing vocations midstream and she joined Singapore International Airlines to give wing to her passion. She has travelled extensively in Asia, North America, Australia, Europe, South Africa and SE Asia; simultaneously exploring the charms within India.

When she is not travelling, she is writing about it. Over the past decade or so, she has created an impressive writing repertoire for herself: as a columnist with Hindustan Times, as a book reviewer for The Tribune and as a contributor to travel magazines in India and overseas. Her work-in-progress, the documenting of colonial heritage along the Old Hindustan-Tibet Road, is an outcome of her long-standing romance with the Himalayas.
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