These 11 Diwali Sweets Have Become Iconic Over The Years. But How?

by Shibangsh Chowdhury | Fri Oct 28 2016

So it’s that time of the year again! With the festival of lights right around the corner, it’s time to sweeten our taste buds. No festival in India is complete without gorging on those delicious, mouth watering sweets and Diwali is no exception.

First Things First

So, in case you are yet to make a mental list of the sweets you’d bring to the platter this year, here’s a look on all the famous sweetmeats that our country is famous for along with a scoop of their histories. Get your taste buds ready for the delectable ride through yum-town!

Motichoor Laddu

This sweet ranks high on the popularity meter. Made from ground flour, semolina, a dollop of that heavenly ghee and garnished with almond powder, this sweetmeat gets the taste buds dancing to their rhythm.

#EatExtra While the origin of laddoos is a debatable topic, it is said that the laddoo was accidentally discovered by the erstwhile vaids. They used the laddoo to fool the patients into having the bitter herbal concoctions. The southerners stake their own claim on the laddoo. The coconut laddoo or the nariyal laddoo finds its mention in the pages of history during the reign of the Gupta dynasty.

Bihar has it’s own story to tell. It is said that the laddoo originated in the Mithilanchal region of Bihar during the reign of Chandragupta Maurya. Quiet a history! But one thing’s for sure, the day the laddoo originated, it was made to have a permanent place in our cookbooks and our culture.


It is said that a tour of West Bengal isn’t complete without tasting this delectable sweetmeat made from chhena soaked in a sugary syrup. It’s so light and fluffy, it just melts in the mouth giving us foodies the time of our lives. Already drooling, huh? Anyway, the rasgulla is also the bone of contention between two states both of which claim it to be their own creation.

#EatExtra While West Bengal claims that the rasgulla was the creation of  confectioner Nobin Chandra Das in 1868 for his sweet shop located at Sutanuti (present day Baghbazar), Odisha has put up a fierce competition against this, claiming the rasgulla was their creation. According to the historians there, it originated in Puri and has traditionally been offered as a bhog to Goddess Laxmi in the very famous Jagannath Temple of Odisha. The matter was finally brought to a close this year when the verdict was passed in favour of  Odisha. Having said that, the rasgulla still continues to be a huge part of Bengali culture.


traditional Indian history heritage desserts

Photo Courtesy Of: Wikimedia Commons

This rice based dessert has become very popular in the recent times and rightfully so. Flavoured with saffron and rosewater and topped with certain nuts and pistachios, this sweet and milky dessert is very popular all over India. After all, who could resist a plate of biriyani alongside this lip-smacking dessert?

#EatExtra Although it is uncertain as to where this dessert actually originated, it is said that it was introduced in India by the Mughals. This theory has also been questioned, as some believe that phirni actually had its roots in the Middle East or Persia and the recipe was carried on by the Mughals who introduced it in India.


This semi-soft dessert made from khoya and sugar and topped with saffron and cardamom is very traditional and is a must-have on all festivals.

#EatExtra It is often served as offerings to the various gods and goddesses and has its roots in Uttar Pradesh. There are several varieties of pedas ranging from the Dharwad Peda in Lucknow after Thakur Ram Ratan Singh of Lucknow who migrated to Dharwad during the 1850s and introduced the pedas. There’s also the Kandi Peda from Maharashtra.

Gulab Jamun

Deep fried khoya balls soaked in sugary syrup and flavoured with rose water and kewra make for this soft sweetmeat straight from heaven, making every mouthful a delight. Served piping hot, this dessert is an important addition on every occasion.

#EatExtra First prepared in medieval India, it was derived from the fritter Turkish invaders brought to India. So much the better for us, eh? While it is also claimed by a small section of the people that it was prepared by Shah Jahan’s personal chef, by accident.


traditional Indian history heritage desserts   traditional Indian history heritage desserts

Photo Courtesy Of: Wikimedia Commons

This delectable sweet is made from balls of channa soaked in clotted cream or malai, cooked in sweetened milk with kheer as the stuffing. Wickedly good on the taste buds, this sweetmeat gives every foodie their shot at the seventh heaven.

#EatExtra Another of West Bengal’s masterpieces, it is claimed by  KC Das Grandsons confectioners to be made by their founder, KC Das himself. However, the credibility of this claim is yet to be established. Fingers crossed!


This Rajasthani classic made from flour soaked in sugar syrup is a hit in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Gujrat, among others. Traditionally, made during the Teej festival, this sweetmeat has also found its spot among the favourites during Makar Sankranti. Among the many varieties of Ghevar, the malai ghevar is the most popular.

#EatExtra Ghevar traces its roots to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. Ghevar is also gifted to newly married girls as a token of the fond moments of marital bliss after a traditional ritual.


Squiggly shaped, chewy texture and that delightful citrusy sweet taste…oh yes! Time for our favourite crowd pleaser and a royalty in the festival of lights – jalebi. Made from the deep frying maida flour soaked in sugar syrup, this sweetmeat has been ruling our hearts since it’s invention.

#EatExtra Derived from a similar dish in West Asia, this dish was brought to Medieval India by Persian-speaking invaders in the 15th century.

Sohan Papdi

traditional Indian history heritage desserts   traditional Indian history heritage desserts   traditional Indian history heritage desserts

Photo Courtesy Of: Wikimedia Commons

A crisp and flaky combination of sugar, flour, ghee, milk and cardamom, this sweetmeat which is shaped in cubes, is a winner in North India. With Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Rajasthan staking their claim to it, the place of its origin remains unknown.


What is puja in Bengal without some malpua? This pancake made from a batter of banana or coconut, flour and milk, is deep-fried in oil and served hot, making for a soft, melt-in-the-mouth interior and a slightly crispy exterior. The malpua has not just captured the hearts of the people of India, but the people of Bangladesh and Nepal as well. With

#EatExtra With its origins dating back to the Vedic Period, the malpua derives its name and texture from the sweetmeat apupa, prepared by Aryans of the Vedic Era.


Exclusively available in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, this dish is a crowd pleaser. It is prepared from khoya wrapped in malu leaf and is a delight on the taste buds. If you haven’t tried it out yet, it’s not too late to do so. According to the historians, the

#EatExtra According to the historians, the Singori has its origins in the old province of Tehri.

There we go. Finally at the end of our journey through the delectable world of sweets. So now that you’ve had a peek at the finest desserts of the country, maybe it’s time for you to bring something new to your platter. But we will remain #TeamJalebi always and forever.

Featured Photo Courtesy Of: Wikimedia Commons

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Shibangsh Chowdhury

Born and brought up in Calcutta, Shibangsh Chowdhury is currently pursuing B.Tech, CSE in Bangalore. He is a big foodie at heart, and loves to try out new and exotic dishes. Reading thrillers, writing about food and life and gaming are his other favourite past times.