Lala Kedarnath Aggarwal sadly passed away at the age of 86 on Monday November 13, 2023. Two siblings hailing from Bikaner, Rajasthan ventured into Delhi with a simple dream to share their family's bhujia and rasgulla recipes and capture the hearts of the larger city's residents, after India got Independence. They began their journey by selling these delicacies out of buckets. Their perseverance led them to establish a modest stall in the bustling Chandni Chowk area of Delhi. Over time, what started as a small business blossomed into a culinary empire known as “Bikanervala.” His legacy is deeply intertwined with the sweet and savory delights that have become synonymous with the Bikanervala brand.
The Bikanervala brand has undergone various transformations, tracing its origins back to the establishment of Bikaner Namkeen Bhandar by Aggarwal's father in 1905 in the town of Rajasthan.
- Upon the nation's Independence, the sons of Senior Aggarwal, namely Kedarnath and Satyanarayan, embarked on a journey to bring their family recipes to Old Delhi. Their aim was to extend their business beyond the confines of the desert state. The brothers faced challenges as they navigated their way through the capital. Eventually, they set up a stall in the famed Parathewali Gali of Chandni Chowk, christening it as Bikaner Bhujia Bhandar.
- In 1968, Shyam, the son of Aggarwal and the current managing director of the Bikanervala group, entered the family business. By that time, the influence of the sweet shop had extended to various areas of Delhi, including Karol Bagh.
- Facilitated by the establishment of a new factory on Lawrence Road, the expansion of the sweet shop gained momentum. In the 1980s, as a strategic response to the influx of western food products in India, the business broadened its presence to various regions across the country. By this period, the business had solidified its identity in Delhi under its third name, a nod to its origins: Bikanervala, a literal translation meaning 'from Bikaner.'
- The fourth and final transformation of the brand occurred under the guidance of the next family successor, Manish. In 1988, he played a pivotal role in introducing the group's international brand, Bikano. This expansion was marked by a strategic partnership with PepsiCo's 'Leher' brand and the establishment of a new manufacturing plant in Faridabad.
- Venturing beyond traditional sweets and namkeens, the group delved into the realm of fast food with the introduction of Bikano Chat Cafés. These eateries offered a diverse menu featuring both quick bites and the signature sweets and snacks.
In the last two years, the group has continued its growth trajectory. They inaugurated a hotel in Hyderabad, marking an entry into the hospitality sector. Additionally, new manufacturing plants have been set up in Hyderabad and Greater Noida, underscoring the commitment to expansion and innovation in the business.
“His departure is not just a loss to Bikanervala; it’s a void in the culinary landscape. His vision and leadership will forever guide our culinary journey.” - Shyam Aggarwal (Son)