Aranmula Valla Sadya is a traditional feast or banquet that is an integral part of the Aranmula Boat Race festival in Kerala, India. The Aranmula Boat Race is an annual snake boat race that takes place on the Pampa River in the village of Aranmula, located in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala.
The Aranmula Valla Sadya is a sumptuous vegetarian meal served on banana leaves and is a significant part of the cultural and culinary heritage of Kerala. The term “Valla Sadya” translates to “boat feast” in the local language, and it is named so because it is prepared and served during the boat race festival.
The feast usually includes a wide variety of dishes, typically numbering over 40, and is served in a particular order. Some of the must-have dishes in the Aranmula Valla Sadya include:
- Parboiled Rice: A variety of rice is used as the base for the meal.
- Sambar: A flavorful lentil-based stew with vegetables.
- Avial: A mixed vegetable dish cooked in coconut and yogurt gravy.
- Thoran: A stir-fried vegetable dish with grated coconut.
- Pachadi: A sweet and sour dish made with yogurt and a main vegetable or fruit.
- Inji Curry: A ginger-based curry.
- Olan: A curry made with ash gourd, coconut milk, and cowpeas.
- Kalan: A spicy yogurt and raw banana curry.
- Erissery: A dish made with pumpkin or yam and lentils.
- Koottukari: A mix of vegetables and lentils.
- Pulissery: A curry made with yogurt and usually includes ripe mangoes.
- Rasam: A tangy soup made with tamarind and spices.
- Banana Chips: Crispy, deep-fried banana slices.
- Papadam: Thin, crispy lentil wafers.
These are just a few examples of the dishes you might find in an Aranmula Valla Sadya, but the actual spread can be quite elaborate and include many more items. The feast is typically enjoyed by sitting on the floor, and the food is served on a banana leaf, which is an eco-friendly and traditional way of serving food in Kerala.
Aranmula Valla Sadya is not just about delicious food; it also holds cultural and religious significance and is considered a symbol of hospitality and community bonding. During the Aranmula Boat Race festival, people from all walks of life come together to enjoy the traditional feast and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Kerala.