India is rich when it comes to rice production and being an adaptable crop rice can be cultivated in a different types of climates and hence is grown as a  Kharif crop and even as a Rabi crop. Of all the variety of rice that is consumed by India Basmati, White, Brown, Red, Jasmine, Parboiled and Sticky Rice. Of these, Basmati and White Rice are the ones that are most consumable ones in the country. And of all the variety that is present, Kalanamak rice of UP got the Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Public Administration. This rice derives its name from black husk (kala = black; the suffix namak means salt). 

This rice also know as Bhuddha Rice as this is a rare, ancient and aromatic rice Siddharthnagar district, Uttar Prades, formerly the land of Lord Buddha- Kapilvastu, the Kalanamak cultivation almost dates back to 600BC. This variety that has been in cultivation since the Buddhist period has been much popular in the Himalayan Tarai region of eastern Uttar Pradesh. Also known as scented black pearl, this rice is a non-basmati rice with short to medium grain length. Aroma of Kalanamak rice is said to be the gift of Buddha which is much stronger than all Basmati varieties.

The history of the rice goes that after enlightenment when Lord Buddha crossed Siddharthnagar, locals stopped to take his blessings and asked for some prasad, that’s when he just took a handful of paddy and gave it to them. He said "Sow it ...it has a special aroma...The fragrance will always remind people of me," And today, the rice is grown in Siddharthnagar, Maharajganj, Gonda, Sant Kabir Nagar and few other places. This rare variety of rice also has been tagged with the Geographical Indication tag in 2013 and Siddharthnagar and the adjacent districts has been recognised for it’s cultivation. The first efforts for the conservation of this rice Kalanamak was made by during the British Raj.

Kalanamak rice has got PM award for excellence/ Pic- Zamroo.com

 

Right from having an exclusive three day festival to the farmers being pushed to grow this rice, the Uttar Pradesh government has been pushing he production of this rice. Kalanamak known for its unique aroma, today the farmers earn almost around Rs 115- 120 /kg. This rice has also seen a much demand in Japan and South Eastern countries. Deepak Meena, District Magistrate , Siddhartnagar on tweet says “We worked on the promotion of Kala Namak Rice in the Siddharth Nagar district over the last three years. We worked under ODOP Scheme to revive and rebrand”. 

Kalanamak or Black Salt rice is much high in iron, antioxidants, fiber, vitamin B along with fibre. The rice is also said to be great for getting rid of deadly diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s. The fiber that is present helps to cut down the obesity and weakness. It’s also very high in potassium content and also helps to regulate blood pressure. The rice get’s elongated after cooking which happens to be one of the most important quality of this rice.

So next time you go looking for some indigenous variety, pick this one.