Cosmo culture: Oriyas find home away from home | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Cosmo culture: Oriyas find home away from home

punjab Updated: Nov 12, 2013 00:33 IST
Shaheen P Parshad

For people hailing from Odisha, Amritsar continues to be a land of opportunities. Setting foot in the holy city for better opportunities more than half a decade ago, some of them today call it their second home.

While some came in search for business opportunities, others followed with the vision to serve humanity.

Whatever brought these denizens to the holy city, 50 years down the line, not only have they mingled with the natives, but also carved a niche for themselves.

The current population of Oriyas hover around 5,000 in Amritsar and over 50,000 in Punjab.
Ranging from the Armed forces to private establishments and government departments, Oriyas have played a recognisable role in the field of teaching, music, hospitality and religion.

Irrespective of the diversity of their professional background and faiths, the community members often get together to celebrate the festivals associated with their culture, besides festivals such as Holi, Diwali, Dussehra, Christmas and New Year.

“We have mingled well with the Punjabis and most us have learned to converse in Punjabi. We have learnt to cook Punjabi delicacies and our daily menus are almost incomplete without a Punjabi dish,” says Rt. Rev. PK Samantaroy, Bishop, Diocese of Amritsar, Church of North India, who migrated along with his family, comprising wife and two daughters, to Amritsar after being consecrated as the Bishop in 1998. Samantaroy is associated with a number of community outreach programmes aimed at the welfare of children, elderly and youth from under-privileged families.

His wife Rev. Lily Samantaroy, is a priest with the Diocese of Amritsar, Church of North India. Though, initially, the famly faced a few challenges arising due to cultural differences, they managed to settle down well in the city.

“We have many Punjabi. We join them during their celebrations and vice versa. Their friendly and warm makes us feel at home,” she said.

“My family enjoys Punjabi cuisines such as Sarson da Saag, Makki Di Roti and Chhole Puri.”

“Amritsar happened to us not by choice, but by calling. God called us here to serve the less fortunate through educational, community outreach and social welfare programmes,” said Lily.

Mihir Mishra, a violin maestro from Odisha, currently employed as a music instructor

Know the community

Population 5,000
Main festivals: Rath Yatra, Ganesh Puja, Vishwakarma Puja
Popular dance: Odissi

Food: Dalma, Santula, Attakali (a sweetmeat), Paratta (layered wheat bread rolled out in triangular or round shape and tawa-fried), Alu Bhaja (potato slices fried in oil), Alu dum (spicy potato curry), Alu matara (curry)

Their Recipe


50gm aubergines
50gm potatoes
50gm ridge-gourd
50gm raw papaya
other green or red vegetables may also be used, but not the leafy veggies.

One onion, 7-8 garlic cloves – chopped into small pieces, 2 teaspoons crushed or grated ginger, half teaspoon mustard, 3-4 green chillies, two teaspoons refined oil, one cup boiled milk, salt to taste.

Method: Dice the vegetables into medium size and boil them in a pan after adding salt to it.
Take a frying pan and heat oil in it. Add mustard when the oil is hot. Add chopped onions, grated ginger and chopped garlic cloves after the mustards start cracking. Fry till they turn golden brown. After this, add green chilies and fry a little. Thereafter, add boiled vegetables, stir properly and add the boiled milk. Reduce the flame and simmer for about 2-3 minutes. (The preparation of the dish does not require many spices and is consequently, considered healthy for consumption. It can be served either with rice or chapatti).