Hot on the heels of Palani temple's Panchamritham prasadam offering, three temple prasadam offerings in Kerala are in the race to climb the GI bandwagon. Aravana (the jaggery sweet) of Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple, Paalpayasam (the milk porridge) of Ambalapuzha Krishna Temple and Unniyappam (the deep-fried jaggery sweet) of Kottarakara are the new aspirants for the GI tag.
While Tirupati Venkateswara temple's laddu offering had walked away with global patent 10 years ago, it is barely a month since Palani Panchamritam got listed in the GI website. The patent rights are given under Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act.
"Like Palani temple's panchamritam, the manufacturing of Sabarimala Temple's aravana is almost fully automated. But then, unlike the case of Pazani panchamritam, the decision to seek patent for prasadams of three Kerala temples, was triggered by the urgency to check the proliferation of counterfeits," A Padmakumar, president, Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB). TDB is a Kerala government-run outfit, that runs a string of 1,215 temples of assorted sizes.
What provoked the foray for GI was a social media video, that broke last month, exposing the sales of what they called "the special payasam offering of Ambalapuzha temple" in a private bakery in Pathanamtitta district. TDB had issued legal notice to the bakery-owner. Earlier, Sabarimala temple's aravana prasadam had faced similar issues, when a Singapore-based firm tried to secure patent for the name aravana. "We expect to get the legal measures for GI protection moving in a week or so," says Padmakumar.