Needless to say, the Surat Ghari Festival (सूरत घारी फेस्टिवल) aka the Chandi Padvo (चंडी पड़वो) is epic. Period.

There’s literally nothing above & beyond this legendary sweet for surtis. This is not an over-statement. It’s the reality. Let me explain to you why & how. Before we begin you need to know what is ghari & why there’s a festival to eat a sweet.

Moreover, we will also look into why surtis are mad-mad about this sweet. Let’s start.

What is Ghari?

It’s a traditional sweet heavily consumed on the day after Sharad Poonam. Ghari has an outer covering of maida. Inside there’s a filling of mawa aka khoya. Now, this filling mixture is sweet & contains dry fruits along with other flavoring items.

surat ghari festival chandi padvo

To put it differently, it’s like kachori or samosa that has cover & filling inside. Okay, now we are not making ghari here. I have given links to ghari recipes in this post. You can watch the ghari recipe video & learn how to make it at home.

What is Chandi Padvo?

First, we will go through the internet definition of Chandi padvo.  Here’s the online definition.

Chandani Padva or Chandi Padvo is an occasion when Surtis (Gujarati people from Surat) enjoy a popular local variety of sweet Ghari, Bhushu (namkin). The festival falls on a day after Sharad Poornima, the last full moon day in the Hindu calendar.

Now I will tell you the authentic surti definition of this legendary Surat ghari festival. Here it is.

Chandi Padvo is the traditional surti food fest just to eat one sweet. Yes, only one sweet & that is ghari. People make queues in front of the sweet shops. They patiently wait for hours to buy ghari for their family & friends.

surat ghari festival people buying ghari
Image Credit: TOI

Not only this but families literally jam the footpaths of public roads to enjoy this festival. In other words, they eat ghari, bhusu, suttarfeni with family while seating on footpaths. Yeah, that may be a cultural shock for you but not for a typical surti.

In short, the whole idea is designed around just one sweet. Now that’s what I call the most epic food fest on this planet. Can you imagine yourself on the footpath with your family enjoying a sweet dish?

अब आप सोचोंगे के एक मिठाई खाने के लिए स्पेशल एक पूरा दिन? हद्द है यार कौन करता हैं ऐसा? तो में आपको बता दू के सूरत शहर के लोग ऐसा करते है। इतना ही नहीं बल्कि वो ऐसा पिछले कई सालों से करते आ रहे हैं और आगे भी करते रहेगें। अपनी इसी ज़िंदादिली और खाने के प्रति अपने प्रेम के लिए जग विख्यात हैं इस शहर के लोग। तभी तो उनको सुरति लाला कहा जाता हैं। 

That’s exactly what I call the surti style Chandi padvo.

How Chandi Padvo (Surat Ghari Festival) is Celebrated in Surat?

Normally we celebrate festivals with our friends & family at home. A step further we wish people on phone or visit them. But wait. That’s not how we (surtis) celebrate Chandi padvo. Nope. Never.

We will order/buy at least 15 to 20 kg ghari from the sweet shop. Additionally, we will buy farsan aka bhusu aka namkeen. Last but not the least, we will also buy suttarfeni. Thereafter we will pack all our 30-40 family members in the car along with chatai.

surat ghari festival people eating on streets
Image Credit: TOI

Then we will go to vesu or pal, park the car, find a spot on the footpath, lay the chatai, serve ghari with other items. We also carry other food items like भजिया, गोटा, पेटिस, फाफड़ा, जलेबी, etc. Make some noise, take selfies & eat ghari.

That’s how an average surti celebrates the surat ghari festival. એમાં કાંઈ નો ઘટે બાપુ.

Where to Buy Authentic Surti Ghari in Surat City?

There’s only one name that comes to mind if you want to eat ghari. It’s the famous Shah Jamnadas C. Ghariwala. The ghari shop was established by the late Jamnadas on 9th July 1899 (123 years ago). Yes, almost before a century. That’s historical & unbelievable.😲😲😲

Shah Jamnadas ghariwala

Shri Jamnadas used to sell Pakwan. He initially started making Ghari from suji aka semolina. His clients loved the taste of ghari. A saint suggested the owner to change the ghari recipe. The saint asked him to make ghari using milk solid aks mava instead of suji.

I guess that’s how the world-famous surti mithai came into existence.

Other Places to Buy Ghari in Surat City

Okay, now it’s not that Shri Jamnadas Ghariwala is the only one selling ghari in surat. We have other places too where you can taste the authentic surti ghari. Here are the honorary mentions. Take a look.

  1. Mohan Mithai
  2. Thakore Mithai & Farsan
  3. 24 Carats Mithai Magic (they sell gold ghari)
  4. Kailash Sweets & Snacks (one of my favorite 😋😋😋)
  5. Agra Sweets & Namkeen
  6. Maakhan Bhog
  7. Shiv Shakti Sweets & Snacks
  8. Shah Motiram Sweets

The above-mentioned names are the big daddy of sweets, namkeen & other food items. Especially Kailash Sweets because I like their Kala Jambu (Black Gulab Jamun).

How Much Ghari Do Surtis Eat on Chandi Padva Festival?

Believe me but the figures are mind-boggling. Yup, they are not in KG. It’s in tons. Yes, the city eats more than 150000 Kg (approx 160+ ton) ghari every year. Not only this but the figure consistently grows each year by 10-12%.

Now that’s the amount of ghari the people of surat city eat every year. Did I tell you how many tons of ghari packets are exported every year?

I don’t have the exact figure but approx a 100-ton ghari is exported. To whom? To Gujaratis especially to surtis residing abroad. Those living in foreign countries order this sweet. It’s true that where there’s a surti there’s ghari.

24 Carat Gold Ghari (Rs.9000/Kg)

This is interesting. The average price of ghari in surat is Rs.500-Rs.900 per kg. Okay, now that’s normal. But wait. We have something that will blow your mind.

A sweet shop named 24 carats mithai magic sells gold ghari. The price is Rs.9000/kg. Yes, this is not an exaggerated amount. It’s 100% real.

According to the shop owner, gold is beneficial for health & the Indian Ayurveda recalls the same. This is the reason behind launching a gold-plated ghari.

A plain ghari is coated in gold leaf & that is why it is called golden ghari. It’s totally eatable. As there’s no hard gold metal used in there. In Gujarati, we call it “સોનાની વરખ” and in Hindi, it is “सोने का वरक़”.

Hence, that was the crazy story behind this epic food fest of Surat city. Comment how do you celebrate this great festival.

Featured image credit Foodie Incarnate.

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