Rasagola Dibasa is celebrated on the day when Lord Jagannath, along with his siblings Balabhadra and Subhadra, will return to the sanctum sanctorum at Odisha’s famous Jagannath Temple of Puri after a fortnight-long sojourn that includes the famous Ratha Jatra.
Following is a quote from Article from Asit Mohanty in Odisha Sun times. The full link to article in given in the end.
In an interesting observation in his article “Ektu Janoon, Ektu Bhaboon” (“Know a Little, Think a Little”) published in the April, 2011 edition of popular Bengali weekly magazine ‘Saptahik Bartamaan’, Samrat Nandi has this to say about the origins of rasogolla:
“Rasogolla. The name itself gets people salivating. This sweet is considered an integral part of the Bengali identity. But no matter how loudly Bengalis proclaim rasogolla as their own, is origin lies in Odisha. It has been an essentially Odia sweet for ages. This sweet is served to Lord Jagannath and Goddess Laxmi in the Jagannath temple in Puri. Many Brahmin Odia cooks (whom we call ‘Thakur’) came to Bengal in search of work in the middle of the nineteenth century. It was through them that many recipes from that state, including ‘rasogolla’, landed in Bengal.”
Echoing Nandi’s theory, a chapter titled “Odisha: Feeding the Divine” in the “The Penguin Food Guide to India” concluded that; “The most likely story is that the Rasagulla came into Bengal from Odisha but was commercially produced and popularised in Calcutta.”
It is also worth noting what another researcher, Prof Utpal Raychoudhury, Professor of the Food Technology and Biochemical department of Jadavpur University, has to say on the issue. Speaking at a function organised by the a trust formed in the name of Bikalananda Kar, the famous rasagola maker of Salepur, in August 2011, Prof Raychoudhury had said rasagola has been in use at the Jagannath temple since the 13th century, which makes it seven centuries old! His statement was published in many local and national newspapers in their August 5, 2011 edition.
More recently, the views of Nandi and Prof Raychoudhury have been corroborated by Bengali journalist Biswabijay Mitra. In his article ‘Who invented rasogolla?’ in the July 6 edition of The Times of India, he talks about the dispute between Odisha and Bengal on the issue and then goes on to say the sweet was in use at the Jagannath temple for much longer. He quotes Prutha Sen, a Bengali woman who has done extensive research on Bengali cuisine, to say; “In the mid 18thcentury, many cooks employed in large Bengali homes were Odias. It is possible they brought Rasagulla with them.”
There is plenty of other academic research work that can be cited to prove that the tradition of offering rasagola to Lord Jagannath and Goddess Laxmi in the Puri temple is much older than the supposed invention of the dish by Nobin Chandra Das in 1868.
In the face of the overwhelming body of evidence that has now emerged through research, it is perhaps time Bengalis accepted that their pride rasogolla was born in Odisha.