Can you gobble down three paranthas weighing two kg each in 50 minutes flat? If you think you can, head for the Tapasya Parantha Junction on the Rohtak-Delhi bypass, about 70 km from the national capital — and if you can fulfil the challenge you not only stand to win Rs 1 lakh but also free paranthas for life. But, be warned: If you take up the challenge and fail, with each parantha costing Rs 400, you may have to fork out as much as Rs 1,200, depending on how much you have consumed. “A lot of people are impressed by the challenge and the reward and give it a try. Many people try the challenge but fail to finish it,” Rakesh Gahlawat, co-owner of the Tapasya Parantha Junction along with his brother Mukesh Gahlawat, told IANS. “Our parantha is made in desi ghee, weighs around 2 kg each and is around two-and-a-half feet (30 inches) in diameter,” Rakesh pointed out.
The roadside eatery or dhaba, one of the many that dot highways in Haryana and Punjab, first threw its challenge around a decade back and only two people have been able to accomplish the feat so far. One of them ate four paranthas in 50 minutes. “One winner was Maharaj Singh from Madhya Pradesh, who has visited the joint twice. The other one is Ashwini from Rohtak district itself, who comes often to enjoy the meal,” Mukesh pointed out. Even though the Tapasya Parantha Junction’s boards and hoardings warn customers against being misled by other copycat dhabas offering a similar challenge, there are at least four eateries in the area which invite people for the parantha challenge. At the Just Balaji Parantha House on the busy National Highway No. 10 near Sampla town, the challenge is to eat three paranthas in 100 minutes to get a cash reward of Rs 11,000.
The dhabas offer a wide variety of paranthas. At Tapasya Junction, at least 50 varieties of paranthas are on offer. The prices range, depending on the size — medium, full and extra-large — from Rs 180 to Rs 400 per parantha. Paranthas are made from flour that is kneaded into the dough. This is then flattened and stuffed with a variety of fillings — potatoes, onions, cauliflower or radish. The Parantha is cooked on a “tava” (black top) with liberal amounts of ghee or oil. “Besides the challenge, which some people take up, the paranthas here are an experience in itself due to their size. A big family can order an extra-large parantha and relish it. This is quite unique,” Kartik, a student from Delhi, who came here on hearing about the parantha challenge, said.