Nala was an ancient king, who ruled the Nishada Kingdom in a prosperous manner. Due to the influence of Lord ShaniDev, he has lost his kingdom, separated from his wife and for some time he worked under King Rituparna who ruled the ancient Ayodhya. While he was serving under King Rituparna, he cooked very well, his dishes were liked by everyone, and he has also written a book about the art of cooking, and the name of the book was Pakadarpanam. Still now, King Nala was remembered for his excellent talent in cooking, and during ancient times, Kings used to honour the cooks who were mastered in cooking, and they were also given the “NALA AWARD”, which was considered as a great prestigious award during that time.
Even at present, some people after tasting the food in the marriage halls, used to appreciate the cooks, by mentioning like this, “Oh! The food which was consumed by me is so good! And the food cooked by the cooks in the kitchen is “NALABAGAM”!
Still now restaurants in the name of “NALA HOTEL”, “NALAS KITCHEN” and “NALA UNAVAGAM” are being formed, which proves the cooking speciality of King Nala. The detail about Nala was mentioned in Mahabharata, and it is also mentioned that when King Nala was worked as a cook under King Rituparna, he used to cook variety of delicious items within a few minutes time. It is also believed that King Nala was a devotee of Ma Annapoorna, the goddess of food, and that’s why, he was able to learn the art of cooking very easily and quickly.
Nala’s food was tasted even by the celestial gods like Indra, Vayu and Agni, and they have enjoyed his tasty food by taking the form of Brahmin priests. King Nala cannot be forgotten until we eat food, and apart from cooking and well-administering his kingdom, he also contains very good qualities, like treating his people like his own children, respecting even his servants, worshipping the deities by performing pujas, properly welcoming the guests to his palace etc.Similar to Nala, Bheema was also talented in the art of cooking, and he has learnt it while he was serving as a cook in the Vidarbha Kingdom. Hence, let us remember these two ancient talented cooks, and let us also praise them for their valour, knowledge and devotion towards god.