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'Panchamirtham' the holy offering of Tamil Nadu's Palani temple gets GI tag

Arulmigu Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple, Palani. (Image courtesy: Official website of Arulmigu Dhandayuthapani temple) Photograph:( Others )

WION Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India Aug 14, 2019, 06.33 PM (IST) Written By: Sidharth MP

'Palani panchamirtham', the holy offering at the Arulmigu Dhandayuthapaniswamy temple in Tamil Nadu's Palani hill town, is well known for being one of the oldest forms of jam or fruit mix, but making it sweeter is the successful registration of the geographical indications (GI) tag for the same. 

The application for the same was filed by the joint commissioner/executive officer of the temple on June 15, 2016. 

While the GI has been registered successfully and it reflects on the intellectual property India website, it could take a couple of days more until the certificate is available, said officials.

According to the GI application, the panchamirtham is classified under foodstuff and its ingredients include- banana, jaggery, cow ghee, honey, and cardamom. 

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For additional flavour diamond sugar candy and dates are added. It also mentions that the holy offering is prepared under the guidance given by the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), the government of India undertaking.

Interestingly, panchamirtham finds mention in the ancient Tamil texts and this offering is said to be dating back to the 9th-century AD. In Tamil, ‘Pancha’ means five and 'amirtham' refers to divine nectar.

While the whole process of producing Palani panchamirtham in Palani is automated to cater to the increasing demand, it is also doubly ensured that hygienic aspects are highly maintained. 

Despite the Palani panchamirtham being prepared in huge quantities, it is prepared in a natural method without the addition of any preservatives or artificial ingredients.

Speaking to WION, a senior examiner of trademarks and GI Prashanth Kumar Bhirappanavar, said, ''The concerned people register their products so that others do not misuse its name for profit-making and other purposes. To get a GI certificate there is a long procedure ranging from application, evaluation, notification in the gazette etc. In this case it has taken a little over three years for the registration to be successful, but there are also cases where it has taken longer due to the submission of all necessary documents and other procedures.'' 

The Palani panchamirtham is first produced in large quantities and a part of it taken to the perform ‘abhishegam’ (anointing) to the idol of lord Dhandayuthapani. 

This is then later mixed with the larger portion and served to the public. 

Even a single drop of water is not added during the preparation process of the Palani panchamirtham. This gives the Palani panchamirtham the semisolid state and makes it possible for the person who tastes to get the actual taste of the raw materials used. 

According to historical accounts, the idol of lord Dhandayuthapani on which the abhishegam of the panchamirtham is performed is a ‘navapashana’ constitution of herbs that are of high medicinal value. 

When the Palani panchamirtham runs over the medicinal idol, it attains curing effects. 

It is also believed to cure the diseases of the devotees when consumed. 

Story highlights

While the GI has been registered successfully and it reflects on the intellectual property India website, it could take a couple of days more until the certificate is available, said officials.