"Everyone was offered two earthen pots. In one was put chipped rice with condensed milk and in the other chipped rice with yogurt. All the other people sat in groups around the platform. No one could count how many people there were.
Each and every one of them was supplied two earthen pots--one of chipped rice soaked in yogurt and the other of chipped rice soaked in condensed milk. Some of the brahmanas, not having gotten a place on the platform, went to the bank of the Ganges with their two earthen pots and soaked their chipped rice there. Others, who could not get a place even on the bank of the Ganges, got down into the water and began eating their two kinds of chipped rice."
Caitanya-caritamrta Antya lila, Chapter 6
The Chida-dadhi Mahotsav, also known as the Chipped Rice Festival of Panihati, is a yearly celebration of the pastimes of Srila Raghunatha dasa Goswami and Lord Nityananda Prabhu. This astonishing pastime took place on the banks of the Ganges at Panihati, which is just north of Calcutta. Lord Caitanya and his associates enjoyed many transcendental pastimes here. Chida-dadhi Mahotsav remembers how the Lord mercifully reciprocated with His devotees by arranging, through Nityananda Prabhu and Raghunatha dasa, to provide an ecstatic feast of yoghurt and chipped rice, along with various other nectar foodstuffs. Linked below is an excerpt from Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya lila chapter 6, which describes this wonderful pastime in detail.
The chipped rice festival took place just before the monsoons, when it is very hot and muggy, so naturally the most cooling of foodstuffs were offered. Cool yoghurt (dadhi) and chipped rice (chida) were offered with sugar, bananas, milk sweets and cakes.
Our feast menu begins with Ganges Curd Upma, a moist and delicious preparation of vegetables and grain. Before offering, a flavorful stream of yoghurt is poured around the base of the Upma, in honor of the festival goers who had to stand in the Ganges to enjoy their prasadam because there was no room left on the river banks.
A light and simple Cracked Urad Dal is offered, with a side of Banana Chapatis drenched in Orange Cardamom Butter. A sumptuously rich Cauliflower & Red Pepper Sabji is simple to make, and brings smiles to the devotees.
A dry curry of Peas and Paneer is stuffed in a hollow Lemon, which adds nice flavor to the preparation. Rava Idli is a savory cake that goes nicely with the Aloo Kerala Fry, a spicy fried patty of potato and bitter melon.
Nestled amongst the whites of rice and yoghurt is a delightful Stuffed White Baby Eggplant which is filled with spiced almond butter, then wrapped together with lemongrass and baked.
Another pungent savory is the Baigan Sarson, a treat of diced eggplant wrapped in mustard greens, then crispy fried in ghee. Roasted Okra Raita provides a smooth and mellow touch with the spicy dishes, while the Rhubard & Dried Cherry Chutney adds a tangy flavor to the Idli and savouries.
The nectar preparations from the original Chida-dadhi festival are, we hope, faithfully represented by Chida-dadhi Pots. These two wonderful sweet rices are served in traditional clay bowls. In one pot, chipped rice is prepared in sweet yoghurt with bananas, while the second pot contains rice in a sweet, thick kheer with ghee, bananas and camphor.
A milksweet cake, the Gunja-Mala Malpoori is encircled with fresh red and black berries, reminiscent of the garland Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave Raghunatha das to wear around his neck.
Srila Raghunatha dasa gave up eating all foodstuffs after the departure from this world of Srila Sanatana, and from that time on Raghunatha would only take buttermilk in leaf cups. He continued in this way until the departure of Rupa Gosvami, after which Raghunatha gave up all eating and drinking. In honor of this topmost associate of the Lord, we offer Banana Leaf Cups of Buttermilk
The feast is complete with a tart Lime Cooler blending honey, ginger and anise that would surely please all those sitting in the Panihati sun, on the banks of Ganga-Ma.