In Odia culture, there is a well-known saying, “Bara Masa Tera Parva,”
which translates to “there are 13 festivals in 12 months.” This indicates
the abundance of celebrations throughout the year for the Odia community,
and each festival is closely associated with specific food items.
One such festival is the ‘Raja festival,’ a three-day extravaganza that
typically falls on June 14. The festival is divided into three distinct
days: ‘Pahili Raja,’ ‘Majhi Raja’ or ‘Raja Sankranti’ or ‘Mithuna
Sankranti,’ and ‘Sesha Raja’ or ‘Bhudaha’ or ‘Basi Raja.’
Raja festival would be incomplete without the presence of pithas, or cakes.
Various types of pithas, such as ‘Poda Pitha,’ ‘Manda,’ ‘Kakara,’ ‘Arisha,’
‘Chandrakala,’ and ‘Chakuli,’ are prepared in households across Odisha. In
rural areas, the aroma of these pithas fills the air, exemplifying the
Among all the pithas, ‘Poda Pitha’ holds a special place. This authentic
cake is a hallmark of Odia tradition and is specifically prepared during
the Raja festival. The festival is often considered tasteless without the
inclusion of ‘Poda Pitha.’ Different Odia households have their own unique
recipes, resulting in various types of ‘Poda Pitha.’
Popular variations of ‘Poda Pitha’ include Janta Poda Pitha, Lau Poda
Pitha, Biri Poda Pitha, and Savoury Poda Pitha. People of all ages relish
this traditional dish, which has become a beloved part of the
Interestingly, ‘Poda Pitha’ is also a favorite delicacy of Lord
Jagannath. It is offered to the deity after every meal and is also
presented to Lord Jagannath and his siblings during the ‘Bahuda
During their return journey from the Gundicha temple, the deities make a
brief stop at the Mausima Temple, also known as Maa Ardhashosini Temple.
This temple is dedicated to Lord Jagannath’s aunt. Here, the deities are
offered ‘Poda Pitha’ before continuing their procession.
Traditionally, ‘Poda Pitha’ was prepared by baking it overnight in an
earthen vessel on a hearth and served the following morning. However, this
method has become less common nowadays.
To prepare ‘Poda Pitha,’ a batter of rice and black gram serves as the
base ingredient. Slices of coconut, grated coconut, cashew nuts, ginger
pieces, sugar (or jaggery), desi ghee, salt, and baking soda are added to
the batter. An earthen vessel is placed on an open fire with embers, and
either sal leaves or a piece of banana leaf is positioned on top of the
vessel. The mixture is transferred onto the leaf, covered with more
leaves, and then topped with embers.
The pitha is left undisturbed throughout the night, and in the morning,
it is carefully removed from the vessel, cut into pieces, and offered as a
In modern times, ‘Poda Pitha’ is also cooked in ovens, providing a
convenient alternative for preparation while maintaining the essence of this
cherished Odia delicacy.