The delicious prasadam at Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa Temple in Kerala will go high tech with Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore, providing an automated mechanism for processing and packaging the two kinds of prasadam - appam and aravana.
The premier food research institute has already sent a detailed project report to Travancore Devasthanam Board (TDB), which is sponsoring the project for the temple.
The prasadam - appam priced at `25 and aravana at `60 (250 ml) - is served to millions of pilgrims visiting Sabarimala, the oldest and most important Dharmasastha temple, every year.
CFTRI sources told Express that there were complaints about prasadam with regard to quality and shelf life. Though aravana is prepared in automated machines, it has a shelf life of only a few days as it dries up soon. Also, as it is being served in paper board cans, it gets spoilt quickly.
Similarly, hand-made appams are being served in paper packages, they said.
Banana is a major ingredient in appam. Microbes spoil the appam before pilgrims return home from the hill shrine within two or three days.
“In view of TDB receiving complaints from pilgrims, it sought the intervention of CFTRI and we have submitted a project on it. If our technology is adopted, aravana and appam will have a shelf life of six months and one month respectively. We have prepared the project without altering the original quality and taste of both prasadams,” a scientist told Express.
According to the CFTRI project, the TDB can serve prasadam - aravana in metal cans (250 ml) and appams in plastic pouches, with a maximum of five in each cover.
The metal can and pouch cost `8 and `2 respectively. About three lakh cans can be produced every day if new processing and packaging technology is implemented.
CFTRI’s techniques will also help increase production to cater to the demand of pilgrims, the scientist said.
Dr Lalitha R Gowda, Chief Scientist, CFTRI, said Ayyappa Temple is the third one for which the institute is providing an automated mechanism for processing and packaging of prasadam, after the Murugan temple at Palani in Tamil Nadu and Srikanteshwara temple in Nanjangud.