''Palani Panchamirtham'' first temple prasadam from Tamil Nadu to have received ''GI'' tag

Palani Panchamirtham prasadam.thehindu.com


Palani Panchamirtham prasadam..thehindubusinessline.com

Palani Dhandayathapani  temple on the small hill  is one of the six abodes of God Muruga (Karthikaya) that  has been a popular place of pilgrimage for the Hindus for  several decades. The very name Palani (or Pazhani) conjures up  two things - the temple atop the hillock with a vista of picturesque majestic tall Kodikanal hills with bluish mist and hugging clouds at a far distance,  and coconut groves and paddy fields on the plains;  the other  thing being the mouth-watering temple prasadam ''Panchmirtham''. It is so popular in this area that on a visit to Palani you have to buy a couple of kgs in packs   to be given to your relatives or friends back home. who go crazy about it. 

Location map. .Palani,Tamil Nadu.  city.com

The good news is  the famous Panchamritham, an offering of the  Palani temple, had been granted the Geographical Identity (GI) in the recent past.  Thus this temple takes the credit of being the first one  from Tamil Nadu to have been  conferred with the GI tag. The advantage is once the GI protection is granted, no other producer can misuse  the name to market similar products.

Normally, in most of the Hindu  temples as part of worship Prasadam - food offering to the god is offered to  devotees who come there to mitigate their worries and fulfil their wishes. Invariably, Hindus, being pious, take refuge in God  to confront problems over which they have  no control. Taking the blessed food on the temple premises  gives them a sense of direction, hope and happiness.  There are temple famous for paticular  prasadam. For example Thirupati Balaji temple where ''Laddu'' is a famous prasadam.  Pachamirtham is almost synonymous with Palani Murugan temple for decades. 

Carefully prepared with 5 natural substances - banana, jaggery  (country sugar), cow ghee, forest honey and cardamom   in the right  proportion panchamirtham is an important  ‘abhishega prasadam’ - a religious offering to the main deity God Subramanya  and is  served in a semi-solid state. It is sweet in taste and one of the main offerings for Lord on the hill.

Getting a geographical tag is not that easy and the Central Research Institute of Food Technology ( CFTRI)  in Mysore,  a government of India undertaking,  had monitored the quality of  Panchamritham  for a particular period. Apart from quality ingredients, the food should be prepared hygienically and should  have   specific shelf-life.  

GI tag used on  on products implies that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a name  that are due to that origin. It conveys  an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to its origin in that defined geographical locality. The tag bestowed upon an Indian product  establishes that product as belonging exclusively to a particular region or territory. 

As per the World Trade Organisation agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the criterion for applying for a GI tag is that the product must possess “a given quality, reputation, or any other characteristic that is attributable to its geographical location.''

Why does Palani panchamirtham  prasadam stand apart from other temples' prasadams? Because it is  prepared in a natural method without  adding  any preservatives or artificial ingredients  or even color to enhance its look. Its flavor and look are unique. Yet another fact is  not  even a single drop of water is added during the preparation  and his gives it its classic semi-solid consistency and taste.

The  entire preparation and production of  panchamirtham is automated. So, the aspects of hygiene are well maintained.  Devotees can get the  prasadam in the hill temple as well as in stalls run by temple administration at Adivaram- at the base of the hill.  

The application for the GI tag was made in the past by the Joint Commissioner/Executive Officer, of Sri Dhandayuthapani Swamy Thirukkoil,  Adivaram, Palani.  Chinnaraja G. Naidu, Deputy Registrar of Geographical Indications, confirmed that the GI tag had been given for the panchamirtham and it was posted on the GI website.  As per the GI application, the geographical area for production of panchamirtham is Palani town in Dindigul district, Tamil Nadu. 

The move is expected to help producers get maximum price for their premium produce and safeguard them.  The two other products that received the tag include Tawlhlohpuan and Mizo Puanchei from Mizoram.