Sunday, 26 March 2017

A bit of history to munch on as Maddur vada turns 100

I come from this little place and I'm proud of this. I cook this snack when I feel nostalgic and my hubby absolutely loves it. But nothing can beat the taste of what my mom cooks. The ingredients are same, but it depends on who prepares it. Maddur vada turned 100 years and the Bangalore Mirror paid tribute to this yummy snack by publishing an article on it:

In April 1917, Ramachandra Budhya, who ran a Vegetarian Refreshment Room (VRR) at Maddur railway station, was at his wit’s end as the next train was about to arrive in a few minutes and he didn’t have enough time to prepare the pakodas that he usually served to the passengers.

He calculated the time it would take the train to arrive at the station, slapped all the ingredients at his disposal into a thin patty and fried it. Thus the Maddur vada, which has been the preferred snack of railway passengers across Karnataka and other states, was invented.

Budhya, hailing from Kundapura, had moved to Maddur a few years back and had been given permission to run the VRR at the station. He was selling idli vadas to the hundreds of passengers of the many trains running between Mysuru and Bengaluru. On that summer day, he introduced the new snack to commuters and the rest, as they say, is history.

Recalling the incident, Jayaprakash, owner of Maddur Tiffany’s, says, “Ramachandra Budhya got a little creative as the train was just a few minutes from arriving in the station. He took all the ingredients and prepared the vada in a few minutes.”

Soon, the Maddur vada became the preferred snack of railway commuters, and a common sight on the train railway journey from Mysuru to Bengaluru.

It came to be associated with the Mysuru kingdom, and Ramachandra Budhya’s descendants furthered its marketing due to the demand created for the snack in a section of the public.

Budhya ran the VRR at the station from 1917 to 1937, and his kin ran the place till 1948.

Since 1948, the snack has been made famous by the family of HD Hebbar, whose descendants are now looking after the famous Maddur Tiffanys on the Mysore-Bangalore National Highway in Maddur.

Nagaraj, the elder brother of Jayaprakash, recalls, “HD Hebbar was the man who improved the quality of Maddur vada, which is now preferred by thousands of train commuters. HD Hebbar operated the VRR in Maddur railway station till 1973, which was later given to his son D Gopalaiah.”

It was Gopalaiah who took the snack to the next level by making it available outside the railway station too.

This demand culminated in Jayaprakash, son of D Gopalaiah, starting Maddur Tiffanys in 1987.

This attracted thousands of people to the canteen to have the crispy vada.

Jayaprakash said the popularity of the snack was such that one of the members of the Mysuru royal family, Shrikantadatta Chamarajendra Wadiyar, visited the canteen during his father D Gopalaiah’s time.

He also recalled transporting the snacks to the royal palace in silver vessels.

With the passage of time, the snack was introduced in other parts of the country and is available in shops and not just trains and stations.

The snack has also become a source of livelihood for those who were once preparing the vadas in Maddur Tiffany’s.

We didn’t wish to have the patent Jayaprakash said that despite the opportunity, they didn’t want to hold the patent for the vada.

“The snack has been named after this town and it is not fair to have the patent on it. Also, it has given livelihood to so many. So we do not think the snack is limited to our family. But it belongs to entire Maddur,” he says.

Explaining the taste and heritage of the snack, Chathura, a grandson of D Gopalaiah, says, “We use onion, rava, maida, rice floor and other ingredients in the required amount so that the taste of the snack remains delicious. Importantly, we buy onions only from Pune which are of the best quality. But we manage to use it in sufficient amount only because we have certain demands.”

Over time, the snack was offered by many including unauthorised vendors in trains which affected the business of VRR at Maddur station.

Eventually, the Maddur Tiffany’s had to close the VRR at the station as few trains were stopping at the station.

On January 28, as the tender was closed, Maddur Tiffany’s decided that it was the last time they would run the shop.

“We will concentrate only on the hotel now,” Chathura added.

The station master from Maddur railway station, Maniyaiah, said, “Maddur vada is not only a commercial aspect in this station, but also a heritage of the station. There are many unauthorised vendors who sell vadas here. We penalised them, but they do not stop their business. Such is the influence of the snack between these two cities.”

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