Sweet, fried boondi, a spiced chickpea flour confection, is prepared for pilgrims in a camp at an ashram during the Kumbh Mela festival in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India. (From the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.) Every camp has its own large/small kitchen where food is prepared for people residing in that particular camp as well as outsiders who would walk in and out for lunch/dinner. Boondi can be a savory preparation or even sweet. A thin consistency dough is prepared using gram flour, water and spices. This boondi can be made sweet by putting in sugar syrup (prepared separately) and soaked in the syrup. Cardamom, dry fruits may be added in the syrup for flavor. The Kumbh Mela festival is a sacred Hindu pilgrimage held 4 times every 12 years, cycling between the cities of Allahabad, Nasik, Ujjain and Haridwar. Participants of the Mela gather to cleanse themselves spiritually by bathing in the waters of India's sacred rivers. Kumbh Mela is one of the largest religious festivals on earth, attracting millions from all over India and the world. Past Melas have attracted up to 70 million visitors.
- © Peter Menzel www.menzelphoto.com
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