Traveling Bengal is a little different experience than traveling to other states of India. The vast number of communities you will find after every 5 km is certainly a thrilling experience for every traveler. Not only do they differ in the way they look, but also their culture, tradition, language, and lifestyle. So, when it comes to exploring the diversity of the colors, you should never miss the taste. Keeping aside the types and tastes of different traditional cuisines, this post will help you more on the wet flavors that quench the thirst of your throat. Now, as just wetting the throat will not give any flavor, there is a little addition of sedation as well.
As there are many communities, this post gives you the information on the tribe as well. The method of distillation may match with all the communities but the taste and flavor are what make them different.
Rhododendron Wine – Darjeeling’s Delight and Sikkim’s Sedation.
Locally named as ” Gurans ko Raksi”, it is a traditionally distilled brewage of Darjeeling and Sikkim region. It is made from none other than the beautiful Rhododendron flowers that blossom during early March to Late July. The Hill people drink it as a medicinal drink. The charming Red Color of this brewage may look similar to a red wine, but the taste is surprisingly different. With little sour and leafy flavor containing the aroma of the petals of Rhododendron Flower, this drink will insulate you amidst the chilling weather of Darjeeling and Sikkim.
Raksi – A brewage made of Millet and Rice.
This Brewage is the most common drink and you can have it anytime traveling Bengal. The crystal clear color may seem like a Vodka, but the taste is somewhat similar to Nepal’s traditional Drink “Ayla”. The only difference is that Raksi is made of Millet and Ayla is made of different grains mixed together. Raksi has three qualities depending on its alcoholic percentage.
Locally classified into three category –
- Ek Paaney ( The first level distillation) – The alcoholic content is very strong. So all the whiskey and Vodka lovers can try this.
- Dui Paaney ( The second ) – The alcoholic content is moderate.
- Tin Paaney – This is the most common because locals mostly consume this.
Normally, you would certainly prefer the first one because it has all the strong flavors that you can enjoy. The locals may charge you a little higher for this drink.
Tongba – The Bamboo Drink
Served in a beautifully crafted Bamboo Vessel along with a thick Bamboo Straw, Tongba is
a common drink among most of the indigenous Himalayan tribes like Lepchas, Tamangs and Tibetans. The drink is made of fermented millet grain that you need to directly sip after pouring the hot water in the Bamboo Vessel. Often served with
Barbecued pork, Tongba is also served traditionally during festivals. Nowadays, you may even find Tongba Bars on the streets of Sikkim and Darjeeling. So if you are traveling Bengal, this is the only drink that you can enjoy even at the busy Marketplaces, unlike the above-mentioned drinks.
Jaand or Chhaang – The Millet Beer
This drink is made in the same way Tongba is made. The only difference is the presentation and drinking style. Chang or Jaand is the juice of millet prepared after squeezing the fermented millet. This drink is quite heavy as it is
nothing but the flour of Millet mixed with hot water. You may have a filled stomach after drinking Chang. You can even take this as an alternative to carb drinks.
Handiya – The Rice Beer
This drink is more common in the Plain areas. This drink is more common amongst the tribes of plain areas like Urao, Sautal, Rabha, Toto, Mechiyas etc. Made of fermented rice this drink too is similar to chhaang, but has a different taste and flavor because it is made of Rice.
The other form of Rice beer is Nigar. It is not the squeezed rice but the wine. The distillation of rice wine happens naturally during it fermenting stage.
Now that you have known all about the local drinks of Bengal, you need to plan a route that will take you to this less traveled routes of Bengal. Traveling Bengal with Meaningful Travel India is fun and adventurous because here you will hear the voice assistance of Hosts and not the travel agents. Get your travel plan customised and travel through a local’s perspective. So call us, hear us and reach us anytime, every time for the offbeat travel plans of Bengal.