Maganlal Chikki: Origin Of This Iconic Sweet From Maharashtra
Image Credit: Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

India is a land of diverse traditions and cultural heritage, and one such tradition that has stood the test of time is the making and consumption of sweets. Sweets hold a special place in the hearts of Indians, and each region has its own unique delicacy. One such sweet that has become synonymous with Maharashtra is Maganlal Chikki.

Maganlal Chikki is a mouth-watering confectionery that has a long history and a rich legacy. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating history of Maganlal Chikki, its evolution, and the impact it has had on the culinary traditions of Maharashtra.

Origins of Maganlal Chikki:

The origins of Maganlal Chikki can be traced back to the late 19th century in the town of Lonavala, located in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra. Lonavala, nestled amidst lush green valleys, is known for its pleasant climate and scenic beauty. It was during this time that a young man named Bhivrajji Agarrwal embarked on a journey that would eventually give birth to an iconic sweet tradition.

Bhivrajji came from a humble background and had a keen interest in the culinary arts. He started experimenting with various ingredients, primarily peanuts and jaggery, to create a unique sweet that would capture the essence of the region. After several trials and errors, he perfected his recipe, which consisted of roasted peanuts mixed with hot jaggery syrup and then flattened into thin sheets. The result was a delectable treat with a perfect balance of sweetness and crunchiness, in the form of a hard candy he called gud-dani

Popularity and Expansion:

People started flocking to Bhivrajji’s humble stall in Lonavala to get a taste of his delectable creation. He named this operation after his son Maganlal, sowing the seeds of a legacy. Maganlal, accompanied by his two sons, Ambalal Agarwal and Mohanlal Agarwal, inherited the gud-dani business. They meticulously undertook the manual process of roasting, cleaning, and extracting the peanut peel. 

Unfortunately, during the formative years of his sons, Maganlalji passed away. Undeterred by this loss, the two brothers carried forward their father's legacy, continuing the business under his revered name.

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Initially, they crafted exquisite hard candy infused with raw roasted peanuts, packaging them in dried teak leaves, and selling them at their shop counter. Situated near the railway station, where trains traversing between Pune and Mumbai made halts, their gud-dani gained immense fame. Passengers would often disembark solely to acquire their delectable treat, resulting in a constant surge of customers that posed great challenges to manage. In fact, on occasion, travellers would even miss their train due to the overwhelming rush at the shop.

As the popularity of their gud-dani soared, the Central Railway Board received requests for measured packages of the delicacy to be supplied on passenger trains. Given the limited time available, the two brothers collaborated to find a suitable name for their nutritious product, one that would provide essential nourishment to hardworking railway personnel and be easily pronounceable by people of all ages. 

The chosen name needed to reflect the qualities of the product as well. After extensive brainstorming, they coined the name "Chikki." Thus, Chikki made its grand entrance into the world. Consequently, Lonavla town became synonymous not only with Chikki itself but also with the esteemed brand, Maganlal Chikki.

Legacy and Cultural Significance:

Over the years, Maganlal Chikki has become an integral part of Maharashtra's culinary heritage. It has transcended its humble beginnings and has become a symbol of tradition and craftsmanship. The legacy of Maganlal Chikki is not just limited to its taste but also to the values it embodies.

Bhivrajji’s dedication to perfecting his recipe and his commitment to quality have been passed down through generations. The process of making Maganlal Chikki has remained largely unchanged, with each batch meticulously crafted to ensure the same level of taste and quality.

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Maganlal Chikki has also played a significant role in the economy of Lonavala. The success of this sweet tradition has led to the establishment of numerous chikki manufacturing units in and around Lonavala, providing employment opportunities to the locals. Today, Lonavala is often referred to as the "Chikki Capital of India," and it attracts tourists from far and wide who wish to experience the authentic taste of Maganlal Chikki.

Evolution and Variations:

While the traditional Maganlal Chikki recipe remains the most popular, there have been several variations and additions to the original concept. Today, one can find a wide range of flavours and ingredients used in chikki, including sesame seeds, cashews, almonds, and even chocolate. The introduction of these variations has allowed Maganlal Chikki to cater to a broader audience with diverse tastes.

In recent years, Maganlal Chikki has also embraced modern techniques and packaging to cater to the changing demands of consumers. The traditional handmade process is still followed, but mechanized production has been introduced to meet the increasing demand. The packaging has also evolved, with Maganlal Chikki now available in attractive boxes and pouches, making it an ideal gift option for festivals and special occasions.


The history and legacy of Maganlal Chikki are a testament to the indomitable spirit of entrepreneurship and the love for sweets that is deeply ingrained in the Indian culture. From its humble origins in a small town to becoming a culinary icon, Maganlal Chikki has left an indelible mark on the taste buds and hearts of people across Maharashtra and beyond. 

Its unique combination of flavours and textures, along with the values it represents, has made it a beloved tradition that continues to delight generations. So, the next time you visit Lonavala or come across a box of Maganlal Chikki, savour the taste and remember the rich history behind this sweet delight.