India is known to be the land containing numerous riches. One such treasure is the divine Kalanamak rice. Grown in the Himalayan Tarai region, the rice belongs to the place where Gautam Buddha spent his entire life. While the variety is quite famous among the locals, the rest of the world is unaware of this rice which is said to be the blessing of Gautam Buddha.
BuddhaHome brings you the same rice which is the gift of the Buddha to mankind. Named as Kalanamak Rice, this variety is one of the scented rice of the finest quality cultivated in India. The name of the rice variety is derived from its black husk; ‘kala’ means black in the local Indian language and ‘namak’ means salt, as the taste is a little salty. Also known as the Black Pearl Rice, the rice variety is uniquely blessed with a heady aroma, a savory taste, and numerous health benefits. It is interesting to understand that how the rice is grown in India got blessed by the Buddha and even centuries’ later spreads the divine essence of the Lord.
History and Spread of the BuddhaHome Rice
BuddhaHome Rice comes from the home of the Buddha, ancient India, primarily in the Himalayan Tarai of eastern Uttar Pradesh. It is believed that scented black pearl rice dates almost 3000 years back to the Buddhist period (600 BC) or even before that. A proof of the ancient history of the Kalanamak rice can be understood from the fact that in the excavations of Aligarhwa, ancient specimens of Kalanamak rice grains were found. Interestingly, Aligarhwa lies in the Siddharthnagar district of Uttar Pradesh in India close to the Nepal border. It is believed to be the real Kapilvastu, which was the Kingdom of King Śuddhodana, the father of Siddharth Gautam, who became the Buddha after gaining enlightenment.
It is said that Gautam Buddha after attaining enlightenment was on his way to visit Kapilvastu, the kingdom where he was born as the prince. On his journey, he was passing through the Terai region crossing the Bajha jungle. On the path, he was stopped at the Mathla village where the villagers asked him for Prasad (blessings). It was then that Buddha gifted them scented rice grains with unusual black husk. He asked the villages to sow the grains and said that the rice grown from these grains will have a special aroma that would always remind people of him.
Now, centuries later, one may not find the Bajha jungle, however, Kalanamak rice is still cultivated in a few villages of the Terai region. To date, it is famous as the “black pearl” of Uttar Pradesh and if the rice variety is grown anywhere else in the world, it is said to lose its aroma. Now, with the revival of Buddhism, the ancient grain has also slowly gained its lost legacy. It has made a comeback from the brink of extinction. The rice recently got listed in ‘Speciality Rices of the World’ book by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
The Gift of the Buddha: Its Unique Quality
Kalanamak rice is a unique variety of scented rice grown in India. The black-husked medium-length rice grain is a supreme-quality rice variety grown in India. The most unique quality is its aroma which is quite arresting. The heady aroma is much finer in comparison to even the most exclusive Basmati rice varieties.
The cooked Kalanamak rice meets many important parameters of quality in the international rice market. The rice variety is soft, fluffy, and 40% longer than Basmati rice. There are numerous benefits of Kalanamak rice as such it is used in many rice recipes in India. The rice variety has a high amount of micro-nutrients such as Iron, Copper, Magnesium, and Zinc. In fact, studies reveal that the regular intake of Kalanamak rice prevents diseases like Alzheimer’s and others caused due Iron and Zinc deficiencies. The Low glycemic index rice variety is also known as sugar-free rice. The glycemic index is less than 55, which is very less compared to other basmati rice varieties and can be consumed by people with diabetes without any health complications.
The gifted rice variety has been awarded the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for its aroma and distinct taste by the Government of India. Besides, it was introduced as the Nutri-Farm scheme in 2013. The scheme aims to boost the production of food crops rich in micro-nutrients that could benefit the fight against malnutrition and other diseases.
The Gift of Buddha in Singapore
Singapore is known for its cosmopolitan culture. Here, you will find people from different cultural backgrounds. Of the total population in Singapore, currently, one-third are Buddhists. As such we can say that the island country is quite influenced by Buddhism that reveres the Gifts of the Buddha and follows the practice of Buddha’s word. One such blessing of the Buddha is the Kalanamak Rice. Its unique taste and aroma will click the tongue of the locals while and connect them to the roots of Buddhism.