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History Of Sweets In India For Those Who Take Its Existence Very Seriously

History Of Sweets In India For Those Who Take Its Existence Very Seriously


The history of sweets in India is for those for whom sweets are as vital as the air they breathe. For those who appreciate sweets the same way, a thirsty man relishes a bottle of water. This is for those who have “sweet teeth” instead of a “sweet tooth”!


We love sweets. Especially Indian sweets like Gulab Jamuns and Rabri–mmm, make your mouth watery!


But have you ever wondered how these sweets came to be? Do you not think of the glorious times when these sweets were invented? Like, just what’s the history of sweets in India?

1. Ancient Indian texts mention feasts and offerings of mithas. Many historians claim that there is no other region with as far-reaching a variety of sweets as India.

Indian Sweets

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2. Sugarcanes have been grown in the Indian subcontinent since 5000 BCE. Apupa, a sweet cake made from barley, which is then fried in ghee and then dipped in honey, is mentioned in the Rigveda. Today, however, apupas are known as Malpuas.

3. India’s history is so intertwined with sweets that the English word “sugar” is derived from the Sanskrit word “Sharkara,” meaning refined sugar. Similarly, the word “candy” is derived from the word “khaanda,” meaning unrefined sugar.


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4. One complete historical text is the Manasollasa. Sanskrit for “delight of mind and senses”, Manasollasa is the historical guide to different Indian sweets. It has extensive descriptions and recipes.


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5. Composed by the Hindu King Somesvara III in 1130 CE, Manasollasa is an ancient Encyclopaedic Text which contains recipes of many vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines of India.


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6. Also known as Abhilasitartha Cintamani, Sanskrit for “the magical stone that fulfils desires”, this Encyclopaedic Text talks of some dishes that are even consumed today. Some of these are Dosa, Idli, Vada and Bonda.

Gulab Jamun

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7.The most well-known desserts in the Manasollasa include the gharikas, a fried black-gram flour cake dipped in sugar syrup, and golamu, a cardamom-scented wheat doughnut.

See Also

Cardamom Scented Wheat Donouts

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8.The historical text also contains recipes for several milk-derived desserts and the methods used to produce milk-based sweets in the 11th century.

Milk Derives Dessert

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9.  Other historical texts from 500 BCE also mention using sweets as bhoga (offerings) for deities. After the prayer was over, this ‘bhoga’ became ‘prasadam’ for the visitors to the temple.


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For the people of India, sweets are an essential element for celebrations. Be it festivals like Holi and Diwali, or a significant event in somebody’s life, such as the birth of a child, no celebration is complete without sweets. With this history of sweets in India, you are all ready to relish it even more!

Blog Edited By Ritika Gupta

For more Desserts related blogs click here.

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