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Century-old Mecha Sandesh of Beliatore still survives the test of time

29 August, 2020 01:01:58
Century-old Mecha Sandesh of Beliatore still survives the test of time

When it comes to sweet delicacies, none can beat Bengalis. However, in the recent past with introduction of many North Indian sweets on the Bengali platter, many of our indigenous sweets are missing and some are on way of extinction. This is primarily because many sweet makers do not even know what their ancestors made and many recipes are not shared down generations.

However, Beliatore’s delicacy Mecha Sandesh is an exception and it is an outstanding Sandesh that is still made from ‘kheer’ and ‘chhana’ and rules the sweet kingdom. Not just that, the historical anecdotes related to this sweet maker’s creation is simply fascinating.

Situated on the banks of the River Shali, Beliatore is 23 km from Durgapur and 21 km from Bankura Town. Every monsoon this area hosts the famous Baba Dharmadash Mela. Since ancient times, the usual sweet fare at this mela was Gurer Laddu, a sweet in great demand as it was made from jaggery and not refined sugar and was said to have health benefits. 

Unfortunately, the moist weather of the monsoon was not favourable enough for molasses and they used to melt. To find an effective solution and an alternate delicacy, Mecha Sandesh was thus created. The forefathers of Bhagwan Das Modak have been creating Mecha Sandesh since time immemorial. His great grandfather, Girish Chandra Modak started off one day as a mere experimentation. The road to Bankura from Durgapur is lined with shops serving this mouthwatering delicacy. 

The process of making Mecha Sandesh is also unique. First, sweet makers make besan out of gram and consequently make gathias out of it without adding salt. These besan gathias are then powdered. Thereafter, kheer is added to the mixture and cooked. When the mixture cools down, desi ghee and cardamom are added and then they are rolled and given the shape of laddu. These are then dipped in jaggery/ sugar juice and are served on eco-friendly shaal pata

The last step of dipping it in sugar/ jaggery juice not only beautifies the sweet but also increases the lifespan of these sweets. You can keep it and enjoy devouring it for a considerable period of time. Not even an iota of taste changes with the passage of time. The supply of milk comes from nearby villages. Kheer, besan and gathia - everything is made here. If the ingredients are not made with care, the output can never be good enough.

The creators of Mecha Sandesh have been impressing many generations with these highly delectable creations. Even today, each sandesh costs from Rs 7 -Rs 10 and is affordable to locals. What’s more the legacy of a sweet of the past is still stored. 

Story Tag:
  • Sandesh, Sweet, West Bengal

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