Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Pride of Lonavala the tasty sweet called “Chikki”

If you are travelling on a train from Mumbai to Pune the midpoint of your journey is Lonavala. While travelling from Mumbai after leaving Karjat you will be excited by viewing the majesty of the sahyadris as the train starts climbing a steep slope called Khandala Ghat in local language. In the journey from Karjat to Khandala you will notice number of tunnels through which the train passes brilliantly to reach the summit point at Khandala. Next to Khandala when you will arrive at Lonavala you will be hammered by the shouts of “Chikki”, Lonavala Chikki”.

The shouts of the Chikki vendors in Lonvala arouse a curiosity and many questions in our minds like how this Chikki was invented, who invented it and when? Answers to these questions will make it possible for us to know more about this crispy sweet, which is said to be a pocket friendly past time for the poor and rich, kids as well as the grownups. History of this popular Indian sweet reveals that it was invented accidentally and not purposely. Once upon a time Britishers stationed in this region used to give jaggary and groundnuts to the labors working on railway projects. 

One of them thought instead of giving the ingredients separately if it is mixed and given it will be more convenient. This was the first instance of making of this sugary sweet which after many modifications reached its present look. In Maharashtra it is prepared on large scale at Lonavala because of the suitable and sober climate of the place. Previously having only a few shops at present there are hundreds of shops selling branded Chikki and jelly products at this hill station of Maharashtra. These products are even exported to many other states and even they have crossed the country borders. 
This crunchy traditional sweet generally made from ingredients like groundnuts, cashew, peanuts, seasame, khopra, almonds, as well as pistachios which are mixed with jaggery are named according to the contents. Taste this pack of sweets once and you will become a “Chikki” lover for the rest of your life.