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The legendary Govind Bhog rice that derives its name from its usage as the main ingredient in the preparation of offerings to Lord Govinda has a very interesting history behind its cultivation in the Kaimur district of Bihar.
Mokri village that is situated under the Maa Mundeshwari hill of Kaimur district of Bihar is famous for the white sweet buttery flavoured aromatic Govind Bhog rice. It is believed that the temple of Mother is situated on the mountain. The villagers say that during the rainy season the water that falls on the mountain touches the place where Mother is seated and as it continues its descent from the mountain to the fields below it becomes enriched with many medicinal herbs. Hence, it is believed that the soil of the fields becomes very soft and therefore, the rice is also fragrant and soft. The villagers also categorically state that if this rice is grown anywhere other than in Mokri village, then the same fragrance and quality is not there. Such is the uniqueness of the soil of the Mokri village.
It is from this water that the fields of the entire village and some nearby villages are irrigated. Katarni rice is also famous in Kaimur region. It is said that Govind Bhog and Katarni rice of Kaimur used to be sent by traders associated with East India Company to London. There was a lot of demand for this rice in many countries.
Katarni rice unfortunately is on the brink of extinction and its cultivation has reduced significantly over the years because of high irrigation costs, higher productivity of other rice grains and declining demand in the global market.
Recently, this famous rice of Bihar gathered importance as it was to be sent to the Lord Rama Temple in Ayodhya for both the offerings as well as the prasad. This has definitely created an atmosphere of happiness in the Mokri village among the villagers. It is emphatically stated by all that Govind Bhog that is of small grains is far superior in taste and quality and more aromatic than the more easily available Basmati rice.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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