Agra Petha makers enjoying a brisk sale ahead of Diwali

November 14th, 2007 - 10:14 am ICT by admin  
Agra, Nov.7 (ANI): A huge demand for popular Agra’s Petha or, the sweet ashgourd made of white pumpkin, has brought a big cheer on local traders’ face here. Enjoying a brisk sale, the Petha shopkeepers are a delighted lot this Diwali.

During Diwali the demand of Petha shoots up considerably but this year, according many shopkeepers, the fascination for Petha has surged manifold.

“Earlier, Petha was considered a humble sweet that was lapped by the middle-class people. Today, everyone including affluent people like to buy Petha in bulk, as it is a natural sweet. It is easily digested. Indeed, every year the demand for Petha is increasing as it is pure and tasty,” said Rajesh Aggarwal, a Petha sweet shop owner.

Known world over for the Taj Mahal, Agra is also popular for its mouth-watering Petha that has over 50 varieties that include, Angoori Petha (sweet ashgourd), Cube Petha (sweet ashgourd), Mango Petha and others.

In Agra, costs of Petha range between rupees 44 to 250 per kilogram whereas, in any metropolitan cities, other sweets like Badam Lauje Burfi may cost as much as Rs.1,440 per kg and the ordinary Khoya Mix Burfi may cost Rs.180 per kg.

Petha also attracts customers because of its medicinal qualities. It is often used as a food supplement during convalescence.

Though Petha is prepared in almost all cities or towns of India, Agra Petha has its own place in sweets lovers’ heart across the country.

“Agra’s Petha is very famous. It is made of natural and fresh white pumpkins. It is available in various tastes like Angoori Petha, Kesri Petha and others. It has a longer shelf life and hence it makes an ideal gift to be presented to friends and relatives at festivals. In fact, Petha is liked equally in foreign countries too,” said Sudhakar Tiwari, a customer.

“Agra’s Petha is the best Petha I have ever eaten. It is so tender, juicy and spongy. Its quality is unique. I also get Petha in Delhi but the Petha one gets to eat here is unmatchable in taste and freshness,” said Gurpal Kalara, a customer.

In Agra, Petha is manually prepared in a traditional way.

To prepare Petha, the pieces of a peeled seedless pumpkin are pricked well with a fork, all over and are soaked in a mixture of lemon juice and water for two hours. Once the pieces absorb the limejuice water, they are washed and soaked once again in a lot of lime again for at least two hours.

Next, the pieces are washed thoroughly, squeezed and boiled until they look almost transparent. Finally, the boiled pumpkin pieces are soaked in sugar syrup, water, lemon juice and cardamoms until the concoction gains a single thread consistency.

Besides, thousands of men and women are eking a livelihood by preparing Petha. n Agra, the Petha business is estimated to be worth crores of rupees. (ANI)

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