So far we all know that Himachal – The land of the Himalayas, but also it has the royal delicacy of authentic food, which can not be tasted outside of this state. Living in Chandigarh is a delight in itself, plus we got to know more about Himachali locals studying/working here as its the nearest place for corporate and westernization. I met several Himachalis here; many of them are my friends already. Due to this, I got to know more about this specific region. Trust me, shifting to Chandigarh is a blessing for me, as I got to know about so many diverse cultures located here. Not only Himachali, but this place is also a little gateway to so many cultural aspects, like people from Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Haryana and off course Punjabis.
Dham is a form of Mid-day meal cooked by natural means where a good amount of time and effort is involved specifically prepared for auspicious occasions like Marriages, functions, community kitchens like temples and religious events etc. Over the years, Dham has become an integral part of Himachal, which is inseparable. As per traditions, Dham is a cuisine, is typically served on Pattals(Plates made of leaves).
Origin of Dham
While juggling and researching past stories of the origin of Dham, one story is quite common among all, which I will be mentioning here too. Ruler of Chamba named Jaistambh(One of the descendants of Raja Meru, who came from Ayodhya at a very young age, and conquered the range of mountains ) was enchanted by the Kashmiri delicacy “Wazwaan“. He decided to recreate the delicacy in his own region ‘Chamba’ with Veg items. As Chamba already is a good source of Kidney Beans and other Pulses, the prepared dishes named ‘Dham‘ can be served in front of their local Goddess. In a short phrase, it is actually a fusion of Kashmiri delicacy with Himachali tint.
Locals since then aware of the fact that the region is not able to produce wide varieties of vegetables, so Dham is made of Pulses(Rajma, Chole, Maa ki Dal, Paneer/Pea, Rice and much more), hence Dham is a no vegetable dish.
Places where you can taste Dham
It is to be said that, if you want to explore real culture of any certain place, do try their delicacy, it might be in any restaurant or dhaba, but if you are lucky enough, and have the capability of making friends easily, try to taste the food at locals’ home. Because locals have the original taste and the restaurants have to replica of it.
For your information, Authentic Dham is served in Kangra, Chamba, Shimla, and Mandi Districts of Himachal Pradesh. Moreover, every region of Himachal is its own kind of Dham. Do try if you are going to Himachal next time.