Kicking off the festivities for the new year is the auspicious occasion of Pongal, Sankranti or Makar-Sankranti. Essentially a harvest festival, it's celebrated in regions across the length and breadth of the country, as the day of the passing of winter and welcoming the spring season. It is celebrated with varying customs and traditions and known by different names across the country. Makara Sankranti in Karnataka, Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Bhogi in Maharashtra, Uttarayan in Gujarat and Lohri in many parts of the North, this festival celebrates providence, abundance and invokes prosperity for the coming year and season that lies ahead.
And like every other Indian festival, it would be incomplete without an appropriate feast to go with it. A sweet and savoury form of pongal is usually a must. But every region has it's specialties with each one celebrating with specific produce like winter vegetables and sesame (til) along warmth-inducing ingredients that are in season at the time. This collection of recipes chooses the essential recipes from regions across the country -- from Ven Pongal and Sakkarai Pongal to Bhogichi Bhaji and Bajra-Til Bhakris, Medu Vadas dunked in Vegetable Sambar to winter-vegetable filled Undhiyu, Thengai Polis to Bobbattu and so much more, there is something in here for everyone.