The people of Surat will have to spend an additional Rs 40 per kilogram on ghari during the Chandi Padva festival this year, as the prices of dried fruits, a key ingredient in candy, have increased.
A special celebration in Surat, Chandi Padva falls a day after Sharad Purnima and takes place on Wednesday this year. It is an open-air festival where local residents would go to Dumas and Ubharat beaches at sunset to have ghari and bhusu (a mixture of namkeen) with their families and enjoy the full moon. However, last year the beaches were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and crowds had to be contained.
Therefore, the people of Surat are gearing up to spend more and celebrate this year, with people lining up outside candy stores on Tuesday.
One of the specialties of the festival is ghari, a candy made from mava, dried fruits, sugar and fried in ghee and then dipped in ghee to give it a white layer. Surtis also eat bhoosa with ghari.
Sumul Dairy, known as Surat District Co-operative Milk Producers Union Ltd, is one of the stores that sell ghari for Chandi Padva. Sumul only makes badam ghari kesar and is the cheapest among other candy vendors in town. It is priced at Rs 600 per kilo. In addition, they also sell sugar-free ghari which costs Rs 760 per kilogram.
“Our prices are low because then we can cover all layers of society. For the past three years, our sales have been around 80 tonnes and this year, we have crossed 85 tonnes, a record. Last year the price of a kilogram of ghari was 560 rupees and this year we have increased the price to 600 rupees per kilogram because the dried fruit tariffs hit the ceiling, ”said Manish Bhatt, Marketing Director by Sumul Dairy.
“Last year we sold 80 tonnes of ghari and this year we have sold 85 tonnes so far. We hope to reach 100 tonnes in the next few days. While in the sugar-free ghari segment we sold around 1.5 tonnes last year, this year’s sales have already reached five tonnes. We hope to sell between six and seven tonnes. Sumul gharis are sold in 600 points of sale of Sumul milk distributors and salons in Surat and Tapi districts, ”he said.
With the return to normal after the pandemic, Surat confectionery has started to prepare for the Chandi Padva festival and is expecting good business, keeping the mood of the public in mind, said Vishal Halvawala, owner of Thakore Mithaiwala confectionery. The shop is over a century old.
“Currently, six different types of gharis are sold in our stores. Mava costs Rs 680 per kilogram, Pista is Rs 720 per kg and kesar-badam-pista costs around Rs 760 per kg. To attract the younger generations, we have developed the chocolate ghari which costs Rs 700 per kg and the gold flaky ghari which costs Rs 7,200 per kilogram. This year we are selling a single piece of gold layered ghari which costs 450 rupees a piece, so that the common man can also buy and taste it, ”he added.
“We did good business in 2019. But last year, due to the Covid situation, we expected 50% business. Somehow we hit 75 percent. This year we expect 100% business again, ”added Vishal without disclosing his sales figures.
The store also exports Ghari to the United States, Canada, Dubai and London. The store receives the largest number of foreign customers from the United States.