There is unique test of special ‘Raja Paan’ available in our smart city Bhubaneswar.  Decked in new dresses and ornaments on the occasion of Raja sankranti, women  joined festivities and celebrations organised across the city. But the best outfit will not complete the Raja revelry if one misses out on the paan.  Consuming paan has become a major ritual of the three-day Raja festival. In Bhubaneswar, special tobacco-free Banarasi paans are a massive rage during the festival, with almost everyone tasting a few on the occasion.  Makeshift kiosks mushroom almost everywhere and make brisk business during Raja. Adding a dozen of mouth fresheners and other assortments along with some digestive herbs and spices, the paans come in various varieties. The most commonly available paans are priced at Rs 10.  “Raja is an occasion when every woman consumes the sada or tobacco-free paans. We keep betel leaves on ice and add saunf or fennel seeds in their colourful sugar coated forms. Then there are elements such as a dash of grated supari or betelnut, peppermint pieces, gulkand for flavour and fragrance, menthol powder, camphor powder, nut meg, cloves, cardamom and a wide range of ingredients,” said Ramesh Sahoo, a paan seller.  The paans are also intricately decorated with cherry pieces on the top and silver foil. The permanent kiosks that sell paan and cigarettes throughout the year, sell the Raja paan for only Rs 5 and despite not much decoration, these delicacies are also extremely popular.  One particular shop in the city that offers the widest range of Raja paan is the Banarasi Paan Bhandar in Saheed Nagar.  The joint is popular for its special masala flavoured paans. The paan here is very famous and indeed the store serves the best one in the city with a price range starting from Rs 7 to Rs 300.    It is surely the festival for women, but men too savour the flavoured paans. People get a large number of paans ordered and gifted as a friendly gesture on Raja. One can find chocolate paan, Lucknow paan, Cuttacki paan, magahi paan and chuski paan at the store.


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