India is a diverse nation, with many cultures and as many festivals. Right from the beginning of the new year, a number of festivals are celebrated through the length and breadth of the country almost every month. With the change in season, the auspicious festival of Chaitra Navratri is here. It started on April 2 and will conclude with Dashami on April 11. During this time, several devotees observe vrat/fast and indulge in light Sattvik food, while worshipping Goddess Durga’s nine forms. 

The Saatvik diet requires us to avoid regular cereals and grains, onions and garlic. People also avoid using common salt in our foods and replace it with sendha namak/rock salt. Many Hindu devotees abstain from non-vegetarian food and alcohol and consume light food without onion and garlic. During Navratri, many restaurants offer Navratri special thali, prepared using vrat-friendly ingredients including rock salt and sabudana, etc. 

Considering the importance of the festival in India, now Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) too is offering special sattvik vrat thali for passengers observing vrat. This special no-onion, no-garlic thali includes food prepared using sendha namak. The Railway Ministry recently took to their Twitter handle to make the announcement and wrote in Hindi that translates to ‘you will get pure and sattvik food on-board’. Find the tweet here:

The tweet also mentioned the phone number 1323, where passengers can call to order the food, or visit the website at ecatering.irctc.co.in. Passengers can also avail this service through the ‘Food on Track’ mobile app. The payments can be made online or on a pay-on-delivery basis. Now, isn’t that a great step? 

IRCTC further took to its blog and explained, “IRCTC eCatering ensures that you don’t miss out on having your Navratri Vrat special foods onboard your train journey to your destination. With its authentic partner restaurants, you have the ease of Navratri food online now anytime and anywhere when on a train journey.” 

Among the foods that IRCTC is offering in the special vrat thali are sabudana tikka and aloo chaap for starters/appetizers. The main course includes paneer makhmali with parathas and sabudana khichdi with curd. And for dessert, there is sabudana kheer. The menu sure looks enticing, and it seems like I would especially onboard a train to sample the mouth-watering treats. What do you think? 

"IRCTC e-catering guarantees authentic and wholesome Navratri Vrat meals on wheels," the blog post added.