Tracing 5 Popular Folklore Surrounding Ladoo

Imagine a festive occasion, wedding, gathering, or even a small veneration. One thing you will find common in all these is a box of ladoo. It is offered to Gods, distributed among devotees, and presented to students during events in schools. Made in a variety of flavours, ladoos are among traditional Indian sweets that cannot be replaced by any high-end sophisticated delicacy. Not to mention the burst of flavours that each piece leaves you with in gastronomic heaven.

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From coconut and chocolate to chickpea flour and sesame seeds, ladoos have an array of food items as star ingredients. For pregnant women, ladoos made of edible gum are considered healthy, while diabetic patients can purchase sugar-free delights from sweet shops. Despite being so popular, only a few people know how ladoos came into existence.

In 2015, Sri Bhakta Anjaneya Sweets received the Guinness World Record for making the largest ladoo weighing 8,369 kg. In 2024, a sweet shop wonder in Hyderabad made a ladoo weighing 1, 265 kg to be sent to the Ram Temple in Ayodhya for its consecration ceremony. Such is the craze for the sweet dish.  

Ladoos Were Made By Doctor As A Medicine

Reportedly, Sushruta, who is also considered the father of Ayurveda, made ladoos with antiseptic properties. In the old days, they contained medicinal ingredients that helped patients to gulp down bitter pills with ease. According to many folklore, he made these ladoos using sesame seeds, coconut, peanuts, jaggery, honey, and other such nutritious food items that helped a person build their immunity. Shubhra Chatterji, a culinary researcher, once said in an interview that Sushruta used to add medicinal herbs and seeds to ladoos. 

Ladoos Were Healthy Alternatives To Sugar

While tracing the legacy of ladoos, you will also come across a story of Thaguu Ke Ladoo, a Kanpur-based sweet shop. Mattha Pandey who founded the shop and was an ardent follower of Mahatma Gandhi called processed sugar as ‘white poison’. He said Britishers convinced people to consume it because it was easily available. He created a well-balanced mixture of sooji (semolina) and khoya (mawa) to make sweet delights like ladoos as a healthy alternative to sweet dishes with processed sugar.

Ladoos As Symbols Of Good Luck

It is believed that during the Chola Empire, ladoos were a sign of good fortune. Therefore, they were packed for soldiers going to war. Mothers used to give many ladoos to their sons, bless them, and wish their children would return without a scratch on their bodies. It reminds you of your mother insisting you eat curd with sugar before taking an exam or going to an important meeting.

Ladoo Mentioned In Hindu Texts

If you have ever tried to read Ramayana and Mahabharata, you will find texts mentioning ladoo in Sanskrit, ladduka. Many of these texts refer to ladoos as modaka, which is considered among the favourites of Lord Ganesha. From the 5th century BC texts to royal kitchens, ladoos have evolved and people experimented with ingredients. That’s how we probably have chocolate ladoo that can excite any child. 

Accident In A Lab Made Ladoos

Popular folklore in eastern India indicated that an Ayurvedic practitioner was working in his lab when his assistant accidentally dropped ghee in a medicine. To cover up his mistake, he made round balls of the medicinal mixture. Thus, it started a trend of ladoo-shaped medicines being given to patients to treat them. Imagine going to a doctor and expecting a bitter pill or concoction, and instead, they give you a pack of delicious ladoos.