Prasadam from a popular temple in Tamil Nadu has been given the Geographical Indication (GI) tag. The renowned Palani panchamirtham which is served as the prasadam at Dhandayuthapani Swamy temple in Palani was bestowed with the tag recently.
The Palani panchamirtham is made by combining in a prescribed proportion five natural substances – banana, cow ghee, cardamom, jaggery and honey – which is why the ‘pancha’, meaning five, comes in the name. ‘Amirtham’ on the other hand, translates from Tamil, to delicacy. Dates and sugar candies are added to it for extra flavours.
The application for the GI tag was given by the Joint Commissioner/Executive Officer, Arulmigu Dhandayuthapani Swamy Thirukkoil, North Giriveethi, Adivaram, Palani in June 2016, but it took three years for the GI tag to come through. Earlier in February, a division bench of Justice N Kirubakaran had sought a report on the status of the GI application for panchamirtham while hearing a PIL, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) attorney P Sanjai Gandhi told TOI.
As per the GI application, the geographical area limitation for producing the panchamirtham is not limited to the temple alone, but to the Palani town in Dindigul district, Tamil Nadu, The Hindu reported.
The Palani panchamirtham is made under the guidance of Mysuru’s Central Food Technological Research Institute, which is a Government of India undertaking. It is also certified by FSSAI.
Back in July, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court stayed on interim basis a notice issued to the Palani Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple by the Industrial Safety and Health department of Dindigul for not getting a license to produce the panchamirtham in a centre in the temple. The Deputy Director of Industrial Safety and Health in Dindigul had issued the notice to the temple in May 2019 for not having a license under the Factories Act to run the centre to produce the panchamirtham.
The Executive Officer of the temple had contested this notice in court, saying that while the panchamirtham was prepared at the top of Palani Hills by labourers under the employ of the temple, the centre which is at the foothills was opened in 2008 to cater to the increased demand for the prasadam. The officer said that the prasadam was thus prepared only to meet the demands of devotees, and not for commercial purposes.
The process of making the product is reportedly automated, which maintains quality and hygiene.
The panchamirtham is reportedly made without adding any water, preservatives or artificial ingredients, and in the absence of any chemical processes. It is an ‘abhishega prasadam’ or food which is a religious offering. The prasadam has a sweet taste, and is semi-solid.
Tamil Nadu so far has 30 GI tags for various products including handicrafts such as Salem fabric and Kancheepuram silk, aricultural items like Virupakshi Hill banana, Erode turmeric and Madurai Malli.
The Tirupati Laddu is another temple prasadam which has a GI tag.