Fish as Food

We often relate Bengal with delicious Rasgullas.

But there is one more dish which is very famous in Bengal, it is Machher Jhol.

Machher Jhol is a special type of curry made from fish.

It is eaten with rice.

Since the past, Bengal has been famous for rice and fish.

Bengal’s fertile agricultural land supports the production of paddy.

At the same time, the rivers of Bengal are a great resource for different varieties of fish.

That is why, from the ancient times, rice and fish have been the staple food for the Bengalis.

Even poor Bengalis used to eat these two items in their daily meals.

Fishing has been always a very important occupation in Bengal.

Bengali literature also has several references to fish.

Not only in daily meals or in occupation, fishes were also carved on the building walls of temples.

There were scenes of fish being dressed and carried to the market in the baskets.

Brahmanas living in Bengal were not allowed to eat non-vegetarian food.

But the popularity of fish made the Brahmanical authorities relax this prohibition for the Bengal Brahmanas.

Even many literature supported Bengal Brahmans for eating fish in their daily diet.

Among such was a 13th-century text from Bengal, Brihaddharma Purana.

The Brihaddharma Purana permitted local Brahmans to eat certain varieties of fish.


Bengal is very famous for its fish and rice.

The fertile land of Bengal supports rice cultivation and rivers of Bengal are a great resource for fish.

Even poor Bengalis eat rice and fish in their daily meals. Their main occupation is fishing.

Not only in daily meals or in occupation, but fish also got the reference in Bengali Literature.

The scenes of the fish carrying to the market in baskets were depicted on the walls of the temples and viharas.

The Brahmans of Bengal were not allowed to eat nonvegetarian food.

But the popularity of fish resulted in the relaxation for the Bengal Brahmanas and they were allowed to eat fish.

The Brihaddharma Purana permitted the Bengali Brahmans to eat particular varieties of fish in their meals.

The End