BANGALORE: The scene has shifted from Brigade Road and M G Road to the markets in the city — Jayanagar Fourth Block, Madiwala Market, Gandhi Bazaar and K R Market. While most of these markets buzz with activity in the evenings, on Friday morning, a visitor to the markets may be forgiven to have thought that it’s a weekend.
Heaps of sugarcane, bunches of fresh turmeric, till seeds, mounds of jaggery and sugar figurines (acchu) in all shapes, colours and flavours were available, making for a mouth-watering visuals. The coconuts are available as a whole, or kopras (dried coconut) or packets of cut pieces of Kopra.
The Sankranti festival, a traditional harvest festival, is a foodie’s delight. Families prepare a feast on this day. “The major dish that is prepared is the ellu-bella or a mixture of till seeds and jaggery. Traditionally, it is prepared in huge quantities and consumed through the winter month to warm the body,” says Shylaja Venkataraman, who was busy shopping at Gandhi Bazaar on Friday.
The shoppers explained that the recipe for the ellu-bella mixture differs from family to family unlike the readymade mixture now available in the market at prices ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 180 per kg (at Gandhi Bazaar on Friday).
The prices may be deterrent as on Friday a shopkeeper at Madiwala market quoted Rs 50 for one 5-feet-long sugarcane. “It is the only time there is a market for whole sugarcanes. Let people bring sweet into our lives too,” quipped Raja, a farmer from the Hosur area. However shopkeepers at K R Market said that the demand and the prices will fall drastically by Sunday evening.
For those looking to pick up ready-made mixtures, Gandhi Bazaar offers a variety of dishes that many marvel, and at competitive prices too. Festival delicacies: Tamilians in the city who gear up to celebrate pongal make dishes such as Ven Pongal, Pal Pongal, Pazham Pongal, Thenpongal and Sakkaraipongal served with sugarcane juice, melon juice and Vathalappam. The Punjabis bring in the Lohri with sarson ka saag, makki roti, kukkad patiyala and kulfi among other dishes. All major hotels in the City are offering Sankranti and Lohri buffets over the weekend.
Colleges and private institutions started celebrating during the week while several cultural festivals including the Bangalore Habba has been dedicated to the festival. Traditional folk dance performances are being organised over the weekend.