Category Archives: Beverage

Spiritual importance of Coconut

Coconut is a miraculous fruit. The water loaded with minerals and micronutrients is so refreshing. It is a life saver as it hydrates the dehydrated body. It gives nourishment without side effects.

This magical water is enclosed inside the shell, which is so tough to open, if one doesn’t have the proper tools can frustrate you. Here you have the food but still it is so far away. It teaches that one has to toil in order to achieve the success.

As the fruit matures a layer of fat begins depositing on the inner wall of the shell. Quantity of the water reduces but its sweetness increases.

Coconut grows in abundance in the coastal areas of India. It loves salty water. In fact coconut holds a place of prime importance. It’s oil is used in cooking, rubbed in the hair for shine, its outer fibre is called coir which is used in mattress making. Dry empty shells are burnt for fire in hearth.

In addition to being a food, coconut is present in so many religious ceremonies in India.

The three ‘eyes’ of the coconut represent the three eyes of the great Lord Shiva. An earthen pot or pitcher, called a Purnakumbha is filled with water and mango leaves and a coconut is placed on top. This Purnakumbha is used in the ritual of worship and adoration of the gods, called puja. It is placed as a substitute for the deity or by the side of the deity. The Purnakumbha literally means a ‘full pot’ in Sanskrit. It represents Mother Earth, the water the giver of life, the leaves life itself, and the coconut divine consciousness.

Singphos: The original tea people of Assam

Robert Bruce is the Englishman who is credited with discovery of tea in Assam in the year 1823. But the Singphos, who were the a major tribe of Upper Burma and their territory once  extended from Arunachal  into Assam, beyond Jorhat, and covered  large tracts in northern Burma, smirk at this statement. They contend that they had been drinking and using the tea plants in the food seven centuries earlier than 1823. . Griffith also noticed that tea leaves were eaten as a vegetable food prepared in mustard oil and garlic. A similar salad recipe in Burma, called ‘Letpet’, promised marital bliss. Here the leaves were boiled for several months for fermentation. The resuscitated leaves were chopped and mixed with oil, garlic, fried shrimps, fruits and dried coconut and served to newly wed

British East India Company tried to plant the seeds brought from China in Assam since 1774. But this did not succeed.  They have to resort to the local tea bush which Singphos already grew. Robert Bruce met Singpho king Bisa Gam to discover tea. As usual, the very Bisa Gaum who helped them grow the exceedingly profitable shrub of tea was charged with taking part in 1857 rebellion against them and was jailed for life and sent to Andaman.

When the East India Company, by the treaty of Yandabo, 1826, annexed Upper Burma to Assam, the Company made a similar treaty with the tribal chiefs of the different clans; at Sadiya When tea cultivation started on Singpho land the East India Company paid a land rent to the Chief.  Irritated over a delay in receiving payment Bessa Gaum hacked off some newly planted tea, little realising that his destructive act actually helped the industry. The cut plants resurrected and put on vigorous growth, this initiated pruning. To this day the estate where Bessa Gaum cut the plants bears the name “Bessakopie-hacked by Bessa”.

Singphos processed the tea leaves in a special manner. They half roasted it and then dried it for 3 days in the Sun. During roasting, leaves are hand twisted the leaves. After this, tea leaves were stuffed into the bamboo and hung over hearths where other eatables like fish were also hanged. This imparted the tea a smoky flavor. It was called “dhooan chang technique”. It was somewhere between green and oolong teas. It needs some getting used to.