There is a wide range of temple cuisine, but a dear place in the hearts of most people is the temple prasadam. panchamirtham This prasad offered at the Sri Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple at Palani in Dindigul district is a favorite of the people. It was the first temple prasadam in the state to receive the Geographical Indication (GI) tag in 2019.
The superintendent of the temple kitchen at Adivaram, S. The secret to this unique flavor in every batch, says Satish, lies in mixing the five main ingredients – banana, native-sugar, ghee, honey and cardamom – in precise proportions. The present kitchen where the prasadam is made was established in 2008 and was expanded in 2010.
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It is an ‘abhishek prasadam’: religious food offered to the presiding deity, Lord Dhandayuthapani Swamy. about 500 grams per day panchamirtham Used for the Utsavara (processional deity) in Abhishekam.
As per the application for obtaining GI tag, panchamirtham The temple came into existence in the 9th century AD when the Chera king Cheraman Peruman established the temple. References to prasadam were also found in pieces of Tamil literature such as Nakkirar. Thirumurugattrupadai and Arunagirinathar Thirupugazh and lyrics penned by Pamban Swamigal.
Legend says that hill bananas and honey, which are found in abundance in the hill region near Palani and which were offered by devotees, were used to make the prasadam.
To make a set, which includes 1,020 pet jars and 1,060 aluminum cans panchamirthamThe kitchen required 288 kg of country sugar, 152 kg of peeled bananas, 6 kg of ghee, 2 kg of honey and 0.50 kg of cardamom as well as 25 kg of dates and 15 kg of diamond sugar candy. One of the primary ingredients, native-sugar, which is called ‘ natu sakkarai‘, is procured every week from the regulated market at Kavindapadi in Erode district. The Devasthanam had procured from this market for more than 25 years; The purchases resumed in 2020 after a gap of six years.
“The native sugar of Kavindapadi is unmatched in taste and quality. Arulmigu Palani, a professor in the chemistry department at the Dandayuthapani Swami Arts and Science College for Women, goes with the temple’s senior kitchen cooks and staff members, armed with testing equipment, to buy the best consignments from sugarcane farmers,” explains Mr. Satish Are.
The kitchen buys anywhere from 1,500 bags to 2,000 bags of 60 kg each week. This number increases to 3,500 kg to 4,000 kg during festivals and peak season, especially during the Sabarimala pilgrimage season. The kitchen requires 5 tonnes of Karpoorvalli bananas per day. When seasonal sales pick up, 15 to 20 tonnes will be taken from the market every two days.
Large piles of unripe bananas – which will organically ripen in 2-3 days – are kept in a godown away from the main kitchen. The women peel the ripe bananas and put them in the bins. They are dropped into the grinder via a small elevator. The bananas are then smashed in a mixer and added to ingredients including dates, cardamom and sugar candy, called ‘karkandu’, in an automated production in the kitchen. natu sakkarai Sifting is done by hand. Once they’ve been mixed for five minutes, natu sakkarai The pulp is added to the paste, followed by honey and ghee. The mixture is boiled for 45 minutes to obtain the correct consistency of a semi-solid state without any preservatives or artificial additives.
On the other side of the kitchen is the packaging section where plastic pet jars and aluminum cans come loaded with half kilos. panchamirthamLabeled and printed with packaging and expiration dates. The facility to print details was introduced in 2018. Officials say that the prasadam tastes best within 15 days from the date of packaging.
The supervisor says the women and men then work in coordination to close the lids of the jars and seal the cans, a process that will also soon be automated. Arranged in large baskets, the packed prasadam would be placed on the shelves at the retail outlets in Adivaram, run by the temple administration, only to be sold like hot cakes!
M. Raja, who has been working in the kitchen for 15 years, says that the prasadam was largely made by hand in the kitchen atop the hill. “But this growing love required automation to make large quantities and the kitchen was shifted to Adivaram…,” he adds.
On normal days, 40 persons are involved in its production, and on festival days, 80 to 100 persons.
About 12,000 devotees line the bees atop the hill shrine every day after darshan, which is served free in palm leaves, in addition to being sold in pet jars and tin cans for ₹35 and ₹40 respectively. dhonnais, During normal days, 11 retail sales counters serve eager devotees. Temple officials, however, say that at least seven additional counters will be opened during the festive season.
The kitchen whips up 20,000 to 30,000 jars and tin cans panchamirtham One day off. During the season, with the kitchen working in three shifts, this number can touch 1 lakh-1.25 lakh jars and tins a day. To ensure the hygiene and safety of the Prasadam, the temple has obtained BHOG (Blissful Hygienic Offering to God) certification from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.
The temple administration also does door-to-door delivery of Prasad in collaboration with India Post. Booking can be done at post offices across the country for ₹250 as well as on the official website of the temple. There is no upper limit. and a kit, which includes 500 grams panchamirtham10 grams of Vibhuti and the picture of the presiding deity will be delivered through speed post. Joint Commissioner N. Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka have more takers for this service, says Natarajan.
The temple has an annual gross income of ₹35 crore–₹40 crore through the sale of Prasadam. He adds that the temple earns ₹1 crore–₹3 crore during the off-season and ₹6 crore–₹8 crore during the peak season, which includes the Tamil months of Karthigai, Margazhi, Thai and Panguni. “Yet, the profit margin has been kept to a minimum, almost equal to the cost of production, to ensure that quality offerings are served,” says Mr. Natarajan.