Sankranti Special Food Items in Karnataka

by Everett Dennis
Traditional Sankranti Special Food Items in Karnataka

Sankranti, also known as the harvest festival, is a highly anticipated and joyous occasion in Karnataka. This festive celebration marks the transition of the sun into Capricorn, and it holds great significance for the people of Karnataka.

One of the most important aspects of Sankranti in Karnataka is the variety of special food items that are prepared and enjoyed during this time. From traditional sweet dishes to savory snacks, Sankranti brings an array of delicious culinary delights that are cherished by people of all ages.

During Sankranti, families come together to celebrate and share their joy with one another. Food plays a central role in these festivities, symbolizing abundance and prosperity. Each dish prepared during Sankranti holds cultural and historical significance, making it an integral part of the celebration. Among these special dishes are Sakkare Acchu, Obbattu, Tambittu, Kesari Bath, as well as an assortment of authentic Sankranti meal recipes.

One of the most beloved sweet treats during this festival is Sakkare Acchu. This traditional delicacy is made from sugar and ghee and comes in various shapes and sizes. Its sweetness represents the hope for a sweet year ahead filled with happiness and prosperity for all. Additionally, Obbattu, a signature dish of Sankranti celebrations in Karnataka, is a mouth-watering stuffed flatbread that captures the essence of this festive occasion.

Tambittu is another essential dish during Sankranti, typically made from roasted gram flour mixed with jaggery or sugar along with other ingredients such as coconut and ghee. This delectable treat signifies togetherness and unity among family members as they partake in its preparation and consumption during this auspicious time.

Kesari Bath adds a touch of warmth to Sankranti mornings as it graces breakfast tables throughout Karnataka. Made from semolina (suji) cooked with ghee, sugar, saffron threads, and garnished with nuts – Kesari Bath embodies comfort and indulgence amidst the festivities.

In addition to these traditional delicacies, there are also special snacks and savories that add to the culinary delight of Sankranti celebrations in Karnataka. These include various types of chakli (savoury spiral snack), kodubale (spiced rings), shenga holige (peanut-stuffed flatbread) and many more.

As the entire state immerses itself in these centuries-old traditions tied to food culture during Sankranti festival in Karnataka – let’s explore each unique dish individually on how they contribute significantly towards making this festival truly special.

Importance of Food in Sankranti Celebration

Sankranti, also known as Pongal in Tamil Nadu and Makar Sankranti in other parts of India, is a harvest festival celebrated with much fanfare in Karnataka. It marks the transition of the sun into the Makara rashi (Capricorn) and signifies the end of the winter solstice. In Karnataka, this festival is synonymous with delicious food and culinary delights that are an integral part of the celebration.

Food plays a significant role in Sankranti celebrations in Karnataka as it symbolizes prosperity, abundance, and good fortune. Families come together to prepare traditional dishes that are not only delicious but also hold cultural and religious significance.

Some of the most popular Sankranti special food items in Karnataka include:

  • Sakkare Acchu: Also known as sugar dolls, these intricately designed sweet treats are made from pure sugarcane juice and shaped into various figures such as birds, animals, fruits, and flowers.
  • Obbattu: This traditional Indian sweet bread is made by stuffing a mixture of jaggery and roasted gram dal inside a thin layer of dough made from refined flour. It is then rolled out and cooked on a hot griddle.
  • Tambittu: A traditional dish made from roasted gram flour, jaggery, ghee, copra (dried coconut), cardamom, and nuts. It is offered to deities during puja rituals on Sankranti day.

In addition to these sweet delicacies, savory dishes such as Kesari Bath are also prepared during Sankranti. Kesari Bath is a semolina-based sweet dish flavored with saffron, ghee, and garnished with cashews and raisins. It is often served as breakfast during the festival.

Authentic Sankranti meals are elaborate affairs that include a spread of various dishes ranging from rice preparations like pulao or bisi bele bath to lentil-based curries like huLi saaru or soppina palya. These dishes showcase the diversity of flavors and ingredients used in Karnataka cuisine.

Overall, food holds immense importance during Sankranti celebrations in Karnataka as it brings families together to share traditional recipes, savor seasonal ingredients, and honor age-old customs. The culinary delights served during this festival reflect the rich cultural heritage of Karnataka and add to the joyous spirit of Sankranti.

Sakkare Acchu

Sankranti is a major Hindu festival celebrated with much enthusiasm and fervor in the state of Karnataka. It marks the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Makara (Capricorn). The festival is known by different names across India, such as Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Lohri in Punjab, and Bihu in Assam. In Karnataka, Sankranti is a time for family gatherings, kite flying, and feasting on traditional delicacies.

Origin and Significance

Sakkare Acchu, also known as sugar molds, holds a special place in the heart of every Kannadiga during Sankranti. These intricately shaped sweet treats are made using freshly harvested sugar cane juice and jaggery. They are not only delicious but also hold cultural significance as they symbolize sweetness and prosperity.

Tasty Sankranti Special Foods from Karnataka


The process of making Sakkare Acchu involves boiling freshly extracted sugarcane juice with jaggery until it reaches a thick consistency. The mixture is then poured into intricate molds made of wood or metal to create beautiful shapes such as animals, fruits, flowers, and symbols associated with good luck and prosperity.

Traditional Value

In addition to being a delicious treat during Sankranti, Sakkare Acchu holds sentimental value for families in Karnataka. It is customary for married women to make these intricate sugar molds at home and distribute them to relatives and friends as a symbol of love, respect, and good wishes for the year ahead.

Celebrating Unity

The tradition of making Sakkare Acchu also brings communities together as it involves collective effort and collaboration among womenfolk in the neighborhood. This fosters a sense of unity and solidarity among families and communities during the festive season.

As one savors these delectable Sankranti special food items in Karnataka like Sakkare Acchu along with other traditional dishes mentioned above; Obbattu, Tambittu,and Kesari Bath while celebrating this auspicious occasion with loved ones – one can truly experience the rich culture, warmth, and joy that comes with this festive celebration.


The process of making Obbattu is an art in itself, starting with preparing the filling made of lentils, jaggery, coconut, and cardamom. The dough is then carefully wrapped around the filling before being rolled into thin, circular shapes. It is then roasted on a hot griddle with ghee until it turns golden brown and crispy. The end result is a delectable dessert that melts in your mouth with every bite.

During Sankranti, families come together to make Obbattu in a joyous and communal atmosphere. It is not only about enjoying the end product but also about bonding over the labor-intensive process of making this beloved delicacy. The aroma of Obbattu wafting through homes during Sankranti creates an atmosphere of warmth and togetherness.

To fully experience the flavors of Sankranti in Karnataka, one must indulge in a serving of Obbattu along with other traditional dishes like Sakkare Acchu, Tambittu, Kesari Bath, and authentic Sankranti meal recipes. These dishes collectively capture the essence of the festival and its significance in Kannadiga culture.

In addition to being rich in taste and tradition, there are also variations of Obbattu available based on different regions within Karnataka. Each variation adds a unique touch to this already beloved sweet dish, further showcasing the diversity within the state’s culinary traditions during Sankranti.

Regardless of its form or style, Obbattu remains central to celebrating Sankranti in Karnataka. Whether enjoyed as a standalone treat or as part of an elaborate festive meal spread, this signature delicacy adds sweetness to the festivities surrounding this auspicious time.


During Sankranti, Tambittu holds a special place as it symbolizes prosperity and abundance. It is believed to bring good luck and happiness to the household. The preparation of Tambittu also serves as a reminder of the importance of unity and togetherness within the family.

In Karnataka, Tambittu is often offered to friends and relatives during Sankranti as a gesture of goodwill and blessings for their well-being. It is also shared with neighbors and loved ones as a way to strengthen bonds and foster harmony within the community.

To make Tambittu at home, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Roasted gram flour
  • Jaggery
  • Ghee
  • Chopped nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios)
  • Cardamom powder


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine roasted gram flour, grated jaggery, ghee, chopped nuts, and cardamom powder.
  2. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly until they form a smooth dough-like consistency.
  3. Take small portions of the mixture and shape them into round balls or flat discs.
  4. Your delicious Tambittu sweets are now ready to be served and enjoyed by all.

During Sankranti in Karnataka, Tambittu serves as an integral part of the festive feast alongside other traditional dishes such as Sakkare Acchu, Obbattu, Kesari Bath, and more. Its rich taste and cultural significance make it a must-have delicacy during this auspicious festival in Karnataka.

Kesari Bath

Sankranti festival in Karnataka is a time of great joy and celebration, marked with traditional rituals, vibrant decorations, and of course, mouthwatering food. One of the most important aspects of this festival is the food that is prepared and shared with family and friends. Among the various special dishes enjoyed during Sankranti, one that stands out as the perfect breakfast option is Kesari Bath.

A Sweet Start to the Day

Kesari Bath is a popular sweet dish that is often enjoyed as part of a traditional South Indian breakfast. Made from semolina (rava), ghee, sugar, and flavored with saffron and cardamom, this delightful dish has a rich, aromatic flavor that can instantly uplift your spirits on Sankranti morning.

Preparation and Presentation

The process of making Kesari Bath involves gently roasting the semolina in ghee until it turns golden brown, then adding hot water or milk to form a smooth, luscious pudding-like consistency. The dish is then sweetened with sugar and infused with saffron strands for a beautiful golden hue. It is often garnished with cashews and raisins to add a delightful crunch and an extra touch of sweetness.

Delicious Karnataka Sankranti Special Dishes

Symbolism and Tradition

Kesari Bath holds great significance during Sankranti as it symbolizes prosperity and good fortune. The rich yellow color of this dish represents auspiciousness while the use of saffron is believed to bring warmth and positivity into our lives. This makes Kesari Bath not just a delicious treat but also an integral part of the festive traditions in Karnataka.

The aroma of freshly made Kesari Bath wafting through the air is enough to entice anyone to gather around for a hearty Sankranti breakfast. Whether enjoyed on its own or paired with savory items like chutney or sambar, Kesari Bath truly sets the perfect tone for starting off the day’s festivities on a sweet note.

As families come together to celebrate Sankranti in Karnataka, Kesari Bath undoubtedly plays a central role in creating memorable moments filled with love, laughter, and delectable flavors. This beloved breakfast dish truly embodies the spirit of the festival – bringing people closer through shared culinary experiences, while embracing tradition and spreading joy.

Authentic Sankranti Meal Recipes

Sankranti, also known as Pongal in Tamil Nadu, is a harvest festival celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy in Karnataka. The festival marks the end of the winter season and the beginning of the harvest season, and it is an occasion for families to come together and celebrate with special food items that are prepared exclusively for this festival.

One of the most important aspects of Sankranti celebration is the traditional meal that is prepared on this day. It typically consists of a variety of delicious and flavorful dishes that are an integral part of the festive celebrations. These recipes have been passed down through generations and hold a special significance during this auspicious day.

During Sankranti, households in Karnataka prepare a traditional feast that includes dishes such as Pongal, Vada, Payasam, Puliyogare, Bisi bele bath, and many more. These dishes are not only delicious but also hold cultural and religious importance during the festival. Each dish has its own unique flavor profile and is made using traditional ingredients and cooking methods.

One of the most popular dishes prepared during Sankranti is Pongal – a sweet rice dish made with jaggery, rice, moong dal, milk, ghee, and an assortment of nuts and spices. This creamy recipe symbolizes prosperity and abundance. Another favorite dish among people in Karnataka on Sankranti is Vada – crispy fritters made from urad dal or chana dal which are served with savory accompaniments.

In addition to these traditional recipes, families also indulge in making other special food items in Karnataka for Sankranti such as Puliogare – a tangy tamarind-flavored rice dish which represents various emotions experienced by individuals during their lifetime.

Overall, these authentic Sankranti meal recipes bring families together to celebrate the bounty of nature while savoring flavors that have been cherished for generations. The festival not only celebrates agriculture but also strengthens bonds between families through culinary traditions that have been passed down from one generation to another.

Sankranti Special Snacks and Savories

Sankranti is a festival that brings together families and communities in Karnataka, and traditional food plays a central role in the celebrations. In addition to the sweet dishes that are commonly associated with Sankranti, there are also a variety of savory snacks that are enjoyed during this festive time. These snacks not only add to the culinary experience of Sankranti but also hold cultural significance and are an integral part of the festivities.


One of the most popular savory snacks enjoyed during Sankranti in Karnataka is Chakkuli. These spiral-shaped, crispy snacks are made from a mixture of rice flour, black gram dal, cumin seeds, and other spices. The dough for Chakkuli is carefully piped into circular shapes before being deep-fried to perfection. These crunchy treats are not only delicious but also symbolize prosperity and good fortune – qualities that people wish for their loved ones during Sankranti.


Another beloved savory snack that is synonymous with Sankranti in Karnataka is Kodubale. These ring-shaped snacks are made from a combination of roasted chana dal, grated coconut, cumin seeds, and red chili powder. The dough is then shaped into rings and deep-fried until golden brown. In addition to being a delicious treat, Kodubale holds cultural significance as it represents unity and coming together – values that are celebrated during Sankranti.

Khara Boondi

A classic savory snack that graces the tables during Sankranti celebrations in Karnataka is Khara Boondi. These small, round droplets of crispy goodness are made from chickpea flour seasoned with spices such as chili powder, turmeric, and salt before being fried to perfection. Khara Boondi is not only a crowd favorite but also symbolizes abundance and joy – two things that people hope for in the coming year.

These savory snacks add depth to the culinary experience of Sankranti celebrations in Karnataka while honoring tradition and bringing loved ones together over shared meals.

The Significance of Tilgul in Sankranti Festival

Tilgul, also known as Ellu Bella in Karnataka, holds great significance in the Sankranti festival. This traditional sweet treat is a combination of sesame seeds and jaggery, symbolizing the importance of harmony and unity among people. The term “Tilgul” is derived from two words – “til” which means sesame seeds and “gul” which means jaggery.

Savor the Sankranti Special Food Delights in Karnataka

During Sankranti, exchanging Tilgul with friends and family members is customary as it signifies the exchange of good wishes and a sweet start to the new year. It is believed that by offering Tilgul to others, one can let go of any underlying bitterness or negative feelings towards them and start anew with sweetness and positivity.

In Karnataka, making Tilgul at home during Sankranti is a common practice. Families gather together to prepare this special treat, using traditional methods that have been passed down through generations. The process of making Tilgul involves roasting sesame seeds until they turn golden brown, then mixing them with warm jaggery to form small round laddoos or balls.

Apart from being a delicious sweet snack, Tilgul also has health benefits. Sesame seeds are rich in essential nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and fiber. Jaggery on the other hand acts as a natural sweetener and is considered healthier than refined sugar due to its higher nutritional content.

To truly understand the cultural significance of Sankranti in Karnataka, it is important to savor the authentic taste of Tilgul. Its preparation requires attention to detail and the use of high-quality ingredients in order to achieve the perfect balance of flavors. Whether enjoyed at home or shared with loved ones, Tilgul remains an integral part of Sankranti celebrations in Karnataka.

Tilgul Significance
Exchanging Good Wishes Sending positivity and sweetness to others
Health Benefits Rich in essential nutrients like calcium, iron,and magnesium

Sankranti Special Drinks

The festival of Sankranti is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Karnataka, and food plays a significant role in this celebration. Along with traditional sweet dishes and savory snacks, special drinks are also an integral part of the Sankranti festivities in Karnataka. Two popular and traditional drinks that are enjoyed during this festival are Bevu-Bella and Huggi-Kaihaalu.

Bevu-Bella is a special drink that holds immense cultural significance during Sankranti. It is a combination of neem leaves (Bevu) and jaggery (Bella). Neem leaves are known for their medicinal properties, while jaggery symbolizes sweetness. The mixture of these two ingredients represents the duality of life – bitterness and sweetness, both of which should be embraced with equal grace. Bevu-Bella is exchanged among friends and family members as a symbol of renewing relationships and letting go of past grievances.

Huggi-Kaihaalu, on the other hand, is a unique drink made from rice grains (huggi) and soaked black gram (kaihaalu). This drink holds great cultural significance as it is believed to bring prosperity and good fortune to the household.

The process of making Huggi-Kaihaalu involves soaking the black gram overnight, grinding it into a fine paste, boiling it with water, adding rice grains, and allowing the mixture to ferment naturally for several hours. The end result is a refreshing beverage that is enjoyed by people of all ages during Sankranti.

These two traditional drinks not only hold historical significance but also offer a refreshing experience to those who partake in them during the festive celebrations. They add depth to the culinary experience associated with Sankranti in Karnataka, making it a truly holistic celebration that encompasses both spiritual and gastronomical elements.

For those looking to experience the authentic flavors of Sankranti in Karnataka, trying Bevu-Bella and Huggi-Kaihaalu is essential. These traditional drinks serve as a perfect accompaniment to the array of special food items that grace the tables during this auspicious festival.


In conclusion, Sankranti is a much-anticipated festival in Karnataka, celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy. Food plays a significant role in this festival, as families come together to prepare and enjoy traditional dishes that are unique to this occasion. From sweet treats like Sakkare Acchu and Obbattu to savory delights like Tambittu and Kesari Bath, the Sankranti special food items in Karnataka are an integral part of the celebration.

The traditional recipes that have been passed down through generations hold a special place in the hearts of the people of Karnataka during Sankranti. These dishes not only delight the taste buds but also carry deep cultural and religious significance. They bring families and communities closer as they come together to prepare and share these special meals.

Moreover, Sankranti is also a time for indulging in special snacks and savories such as chivda, kodubale, and chakli. These delectable treats add extra charm to the festive atmosphere, making every moment spent with loved ones even more memorable. The flavors of the season can be truly experienced through these delightful culinary creations.

Finally, no Sankranti celebration in Karnataka would be complete without tilgul, bevu-bella, and huggi-kaihaalu-special drinks that hold symbolic meaning. Tilgul is shared with loved ones while exchanging good wishes and spreading sweetness all around. Bevu-bella signifies the acceptance of life with all its bitter-sweet experiences, while huggi-kaihaalu adds warmth to the festivities.

In essence, savoring the flavors of Sankranti in Karnataka goes beyond just enjoying delicious food; it’s about cherishing traditions, strengthening bonds, and rejoicing in the spirit of togetherness. As one relishes the various Sankranti special food items in Karnataka, they also partake in a cultural experience that is deeply rooted in tradition and festivity. Cheers to joyous celebrations filled with love, laughter, and mouth-watering delicacies.

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