When a hardcore non-vegetarian girl received an invite from ITC Sonar for a tasting of pure vegetarian Sheherwali cuisine, her first reaction was “Sounds interesting but how do I have a whole meal without fish, meat, potato, garlic and onion??”. It was the first time she heard about the Sheherwalis, the Jain community from the havelis of Murshidabad and she spent some time researching on their history and their food. She got really interested and eagerly looked forward to her meal at the ITC Sonar Eden Pavilion.
The Sheherwalis have been living in Bengal for almost 300 years. The Jain families who came to Murshidabad became a close knit community with their distinct culture, demeanor, style, food and way of living. They adapted to their new environs, and migrated to a new lifestyle in empathy with local customs, practices and values. The love of food, especially all things sweet, is an accurate label for any Sheherwali. Food features prominently in this community, evolving passionately through their 300 year history in Bengal. Sheherwali cuisine is a vegetarian’s paradise, in which Bengali meets Rajasthani, Afghan, Mughal, Awadhi and several European culinary practices making it a unique mix of ingredients and flavors that tantalizes the palate.