A bowl of Handia drink
TypeRice Beer
Place of originIndia
Region or statemostly in Jharkhand & parts of Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh & Madhya Pradesh
Serving temperatureRoom temperature
Main ingredientsWater, Ranu tablets, Herbs, Rice

Handia (Also handi or hadiya) is a rice beer originating from the Indian subcontinent, popular in the Indian states of Assam,[1] Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal.[2]


Handia comes from hindi word Handi (हांडी) which means earthen pot, where it was traditionally prepared.[3]


Evidence of fermentation and alcoholic beverages has been found in the Indus valley civilization during the Chalcolithic Period from 3000 BC to 2000 BC in India.[4] In Ancient India, the Vedas mention a beer-like drink called sura.[5] It was the favourite of the god Indra.[6][7] Kautilya has mentioned two intoxicating beverages made from rice called Medaka and Prasanna.[7] Megasthenes, the Greek Ambassador to Maurya Emperor Chandragupta Maurya mentioned about rice beer in his book Indica where he mention Indian make wine from rice instead of barley. He mentioned Indian never drink rice wine except during sacrifice.[8][9]


The making involves the use of ranu tablets, which is essentially a combination of about 20-25 herbs and acts as a fermentor.[2] These ranu tablets help in the preparation of many other beverages as well. The ranu tablets are then mixed with boiled rice and left to ferment in earthen pots. The drink is generally ready within a week. It is served cool and has lower alcoholic strength than other Indian country liquors.[3]

Earlier it was only used in marriage functions and feasts, but it has since been commercialised, as people started selling it daily due to economic reasons.[3][10][11]

See also


  1. ^ "Xaj: Rice Beer of the Ahoms". 22 November 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Some interesting indigenous beverages among the tribals of Central India" (PDF). Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge. 6 (1): 141–43. January 2007. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  3. ^ a b c "Handia most preferred summer drink". 19 May 2014. Retrieved 7 Aug 2022.
  4. ^ "It's high time!". deccanherald. 16 December 2017. Retrieved 7 Aug 2022.
  5. ^ Abraham Eraly (23 January 2002). Gem in the Lotus. Penguin Books Limited. p. 165. ISBN 978-93-5118-014-2.
  6. ^ Amitava Dasgupta; Loralie J. Langman (2012). Pharmacogenomics of Alcohol and Drugs of Abuse. CRC Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-4398-5611-6. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  7. ^ a b Om Prakash (1 January 2005). Cultural History of India. New Age International. p. 503. ISBN 978-81-224-1587-2. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  8. ^ "Ancient India as described by Megasthenês and Arrian; being a translation of the fragments of the Indika of Megasthenês collected by Dr. Schwanbeck, and of the first part of the Indika of Arrian". archive.org. p. 69. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  9. ^ Gochberg, Donald S., et al., ed. "World Literature and Thought: Volume I: The Ancient Worlds"; Fort Worth, TX; Harcourt Brace; 1997, pp. 410-416.
  10. ^ "Tribals beat the heat with 'handia'". timesofindia. 25 April 2012. Retrieved 7 Aug 2022.
  11. ^ "traditional drink handia sells like hotcakes in orissa". economic times. 20 June 2008. Retrieved 7 Aug 2022.

Further reading