5 Interesting And Unique Prasadams You Will Only Find In South India
- Sushmita Sengupta
Updated : June 04, 2022 05:06 IST
Many temples in South India are renowned for their unique prasadams. Here are some of our favourites.
South India is dotted with many ancient temples, some that even go back more than a thousand years. Whether it is the Meenakshi temple of Madurai to the Sri Venkateshwara Temple of Tirupati, devotees from all around the country flock to these temples every day to seek divine blessings. For history buffs, a tour of these temples has another significance altogether. Back in the day, many kings would commission huge funds and put some of their most skilled sculptors and artisans to build lavish temples. Till date, the craftsmanship is evident from the make of these temples. It takes plenty of people to keep these temples alive, but one of the most liveliest places in these temple premises has to be the kitchen. Considered one of the most pious places, these kitchens are very exclusive, with entry allowed to only a select few. The cooks are more often than not, Brahmins, who have been designated the task to feed the divine. Only the best quality ingredients are used and nothing less. Once the food is offered to the Gods, it is distributed among the devotees as Prasadam. Many temples in South India are renowned for their unique prasadams. Here are some of our favourites.
Madapalli Puliyodharai Or Temple-Style Tamarind Rice
This hot and tangy, comfort food comes with goodness of rice, tamarind, urad dal, chana dal, hing, red chilli powder and countless other spices. The prasad is prepared in one big uruli (cooking vessel with a big-mouth). The prasad is a common fixture in most Vishnu temples. One of the reasons why this prasad is so beloved is because, it can be made without onions and garlic, the non-satvic, but very essential ingredients in Indian dishes.
The Dhandayuthapani Swami Temple, located in the Palani hills of Tamil Nadu is a temple dedicated to Lord Murugan or Kartik. One of the prasad offerings there, known Palani Panchamirthan, can even be dubbed as one of the oldest versions of jam. It is made of five foods (‘pancha’ means five in Tamil). This sticky, sweet concoction features a mix of fruits, sugar candy, jaggery, honey and cow ghee. The Prasadam also got a GI tag in the year 2019.
These spongy idlis are offered to Lord Vishnu in the Varadharaja Perumal Temple in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu. The history of these idlis can be traced back to the Pallava dynasty of ancient India. These idlis, also known as Kovil idlis, look very similar to regular idlis, except they come in shape of a small cylinder. They are also wrapped in Mandharia leaf before they are steamed. The traditional preparation is tedious, but if you are somewhere in the area do try these delicious idlis.
One of the chief Prasad offerings of Thirumala Venkateshwara Temple at Tirupati, Tamil Nadu is the Tirupati ladoo. A ladoo so popular that it also has a GI tag to its credit. In one of his recent interviews while promoting ‘Thar’ actor Anil Kapoor also admitted that the Ladoo is in fact his most favourite dessert of all times. Tirupati is one of the largest and busiest temples in South India. Therefore, the number of ladoos made everyday also run in lakhs. More than 3 tonnes of urad dal, 6 tonnes of sugar, 2.5 tonnes of ghee, in addition to large amounts of raisins, cashewnuts and cardamom are used to make these ladoos, Food Historian KT Achaya notes in his book “Indian Food: A Historical Companion”.
The Azhagar Kovil temple of Tamil Nadu, situated about 20 kilometres away from Madurai, is famous for a number of things, one being its prasadam. Several farmers in the vicinity actually bring grains, rice and pulses to the temple as oferrings, which are ground and used to make Dosas as prasadam.