Diversity is the true essence of India. There’s so much diversity in people, our languages, caste and communities, races and religion, physical attributes, geography and climatic condition. The culinary traditions of the diverse groups of people also differ based on a variety of many other factors, including the availability of natural resources, which in a country like India, drastically varies from region to region. To add to this is the great variety of spices and herbs grown in various parts of the country that go to render each dish uniquely flavourful.
Colonialization and foreign influences have also largely impacted the regional cuisines. Then again you have different foreign powers that have set up their colonies in different parts of India at different times in history, and brought along their gastronomic traditions and ingredients to this land.
The uniquely diverse culinary portfolio that has resulted from all these makes the country an interesting one to visit and explore. For, after all, food is an indispensable part of travel. And India is a country of food lovers. So for an average Indian, culinary exploration of other regions also brings great pleasure due to the sheer diversity and magnitude that each regional cuisines presents. But with hundreds of thousands of varieties of different foods to try in various parts of each Indian state, a single lifetime seems not enough. Nonetheless, there again one can find the beauty of the country, in its limitless attractions.
“For foodies, gastronomic tours bring utter delight. It also often exposes us to unusual food habits of people in various regions which may not go well with our taste. But it is important to show the respect for people’s culture and traditions. One should not openly express disgust at other people’s food habits and cuisines. It is important to travel with an open mind.”
With the pandemic scenario in India not much improved yet, and with the existing restrictions on movement and socializing, many of us are spending time at home, planning about future trips and praying that the pandemic be soon a thing of the past. Many of us are also busy experimenting with good food in our kitchens. The abundant leisure time that we have now can be gainfully utilised in learning new things, one of them being the culinary traditions of various regions of India. This will also help us make a checklist of places to visit in India and delicacies to try once the world is COVID-free. This is also a great way to let one’s imaginations travel, while physically this may not be possible, to far off lands in different corners of the country. This will definitely help us stay optimistic and maintain our sanity. After all, in these difficult times, staying happy, busy and hopeful is crucial.
In the current situation it is important to stay at home, continue to maintain the Covid-19 protocols, avoid gatherings and holidaying at the moment. In addition, each one of us must get vaccinated and take all necessary safety measures. Let us hope that the pandemic is soon over. I pray for the health and safety of all and once again convey my heartfelt gratitude to the frontline warriors, volunteers for social work and other professionals and service providers who are toiling day in and day out to minimise the hardships the society as a whole is facing.