Kheer/khiri/payas originated 2,000 years ago in Lord Jagannath Temple, Puri, odisha. It is prepared in festivals, temples, and all special occasions. It is prepared using milk, rice, ghee, sugar/jaggery, Khoya. The term Kheer (used in Northern India, Pakistan and Nepal) is derived from Sanskrit words Ksheeram (which means milk). Other terms like Payasa or Payasam (used in South India) or payesh (used in Bengal region) are derived from the Sanskrit word Payas which also means "milk". The people of Southern Bangladesh prepare "payesh" with Glutinous rice and Coconut milk and the result is a stickier and creamier dessert.
It is an essential dish in many Hindu and Muslim feasts and celebrations. While the dish is most often made with rice or lentil , it can also be made with other ingredients such as vermicelli (sayviah).