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After laddus at Tirupati’s Balaji Temple… Nanded shrine eyes GI status for its prasad

April 25, 2019 06:00 AM


After laddus at Tirupati’s Balaji Temple…
Nanded shrine eyes GI status for its prasad
Renuka Devi Mandir in Mahur hopes to bag global honour for its ‘tambul veeda’, a unique offering of betel leaves and 13 ayurvedic ingredients made to the goddess; first permits to be sought on World Intellectual Property Day on April 26
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A decade after the SriVari Laddu prasad at the famous Balaji Temple in Tirupati bagged a global patent — cementing and legally protecting its unique status, in an honour given only to special edibles across the world — a place of worship closer home may be set to get the same distinction.

Now, Renuka Devi Mandir in Mahur, some 500 km from the city in Nanded district, will also apply for a geographical indication (GI) patent for its ‘tambul veeda’, traditionally offered to its Hindu goddess deity with puran poli. “No major pooja of the day is complete without offering her these two dishes,” informed Chandrakant Bhopi, a trustee and priest at the shrine.

Consumption of tambul veeda (betel leaf crushed with Ayurvedic ingredients) here has been practised for hundreds of years now, claimed Bhopi, adding that Mahurgad is a ‘shaktipeeth’ — one of the three such peethas (energy sources) in Maharashtra.

While the rich Tirupati laddu typically consists of gram flour, cashewnuts, cardamom, ghee, sugar and raisins, the tambul veeda’s betel leaves are crushed with clove, cinnamon, carom, nutmeg, cardamom, fennel seeds, liquorice and more — 13 ingredients that are easily available locally. These are then customarily crushed together with a local soft stone named ‘kodava’, found some 25 km away.

Speaking to Mirror, Bhopi explained the item’s medicinal and religious significance. “Medicinal properties come from elements like clove and cardamom, generating heat in the body, which helps digest heavy puran poli or other meals. It also reduces acidity and lowers blood pressure,” he claimed. As for the religious import, “It is believed that Goddess Renuka Devi’s mouth was smeared with blood after defeating the demon Mahishasur. Her body was also charged and full of power — to ensure that her physical powers are maintained, veeda prasad is offered to signify this heat.”

Bhopi added that the prasad, also known as Trayodesh Guni Tambul (for its 13 qualities), used to be compiled and crushed by devotees back in the day — but now, some volunteers grind the ingredients in exchange for donations. He emphasised, “It is made in a unique manner, and no other Renuka Devi temple is known to be offering such a prasad. The tradition needs to be conserved and protected. Just like the Tirupati Prasad has a special flavour and size, garnering a patent, the tambul veeda also deserves recognition for its distinguished stature. Hence, we decided to file a patent.”

Ganesh Hingmire, a researcher of patents and intellectual property (IP) from Pune, helped the temple trustees in the effort. “The first six months were spent understanding if patenting the prasad could be a possibility. Once it was known to fit the criteria for uniqueness and getting a patent looked achievable, the process began. A major chunk is complete, and documents prepared for the same,” he said. The district magistrate, who heads the body of temple trustees, will be approached for permission on April 26, which is observed as World Intellectual Property Day, for the same. An event is also to be organised at a Pune city college on the same day for law students, elaborating on the importance of IP.

Once permission is bagged, the GI registry office, housed in Chennai, will be the next destination.

Hingmire asserted, “More people should come forward to protect their IP and drum up awareness. Work on patent applications for Lonavala chikki, Satara kandi pedha, the Osmanabadi goat, Khillari bull, white onion from Alibaug, red rice from Sindhudurg and flowers from Kaas Pathar will also be initiated on Friday this week

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