Bhubaneswar: As Odia girls prepare to celebrate the three-day Raja Festival from Monday, pithas (pancakes) will be very much in their minds.
Raja being a Gana Parba (mass festival), it cannot be celebrated normally during the pandemic by maintaining social distancing and wearing masks. Some organizations have come forward to supply authentic Odia ‘pitha’ and ‘paan’ online.
Pitha On Wheels
It’s the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) which has taken the initiative of Pitha On Wheels and home delivery.
“City denizens enjoy different types of pitha like Manda, Arisha, Kakara, Chakuli, Chandrakala at Bhubaneswar Pantha Nibas during the three-day festival,” said OTDC Chairperson Shreemayee Mishra.
In view of the lockdown, Bhubaneswar Pantha Nibas will deliver pithas through Pitha on Wheels at Master Canteen square, Khandagiri Square, CRP Square, Patia Square, Chandrasekharpur and Rupali Square for three days from June 14.
The pithas can be ordered by calling 9078885516 and 0674-2432515, and will be delivered from 7 am to 11 am.
Special counters will be opened to provide pithas in Sambalpur and Cuttack Pantha Nibas also, informed Shreemayee. Pantha Nibas is arranging pithas with the help of Mission Shakti members.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has lauded this initiative undertaken by OTDC to make authentic Odia pithas available at doorsteps during lockdown.
Granny’s Pitha will serve Raja special pithas for the people of twin cities.
Cuttack’s Nibedita Sahoo will offer a Raja Pitha basket, including 13 varieties of pithas and sweets, for Rs 999.
“We are providing pithas within 24 hours. The delivery charge within Cuttack city is Rs 50 and Rs 100 in Bhubaneswar. Pithas can be ordered through Zomato or by calling 9776500143,” informed Nibedita who has been selling pithas online since one year.
“I have received over 300 orders for pitha baskets for the next three days. I am also getting orders for different varieties of pithas,” added Nibedita, who is an entrepreneur from Jhanjiri Mangala in Cuttack.
“I used to call my grandmother ‘granny’, so I have given my website the name ‘Granny’s Pitha’. My mother and mother in-law help me in preparing these pithas,” informed Nibedita, who runs a school in Cuttack.
Her basket of pithas include Poda Pitha, Biri Manda Pitha, Pura Manda Pitha, Chitau pitha, Chakuli Pitha, Budha Chakuli, Arisa Pitha, Kakara, Chhena Poda, Rasabali and Raja Pana.
Bhubaneswar-based Saroja Choudhury also provides pithas through online order.
“My platter of pithas include Khira Poda Pitha, Biri Poda Pitha, Chandrkanti, Suji Kakara, Ata Kakara, and sweets etc,” said Saroja, adding that 1 kg of pithas costs Rs 350.
Saroja, who has been delivering pitha online since last Raja, following the COVID pandemic-induced lockdown, said she has received orders for over 2,000 kg of pithas till now.
“I am preparing the pithas almost 24 hours with the help of my assistants,” said Saroja.
To order her pithas, she has provided two numbers — 9437141055 and 8961044200.
‘Mo Bhai’ App
Online home delivery apps have proved to be big a hit with people amid the lockdown.
After delivering items for Sabitra Brata in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Balasore, ‘Mo Bhai’ app is now taking orders for Raja festival.
“We have already received more than 30 orders and expecting it to go up to 400. The gift packets contain sweets and pithas,” said Jyoti Ranjan Sahoo, founder of Mo Bhai app.
The 25-year-old Jyoti launched the service last year.