Millions of pilgrims and visitors to Mantralaya are satisfied when they have a darshan of the Brindavana of Raghavendra Swamy. But their journey is incomplete without obtaining Parimala, the prasada of the Rarayu temple.
The Parimala prasada is today as famous as the Tirupathi ladoo and the Panchamruta of Murugan in Palani. Each of these prasadas have carved out a name for themselves and there millions who swear by it.
Both Tirupathi ladoo and the Panchamruta have obtained the GI tag and this has more to do with the unique manner of preparation and taste than anything else. While the Panchamrita is now marketed by the temple management of Palani in tins and containers, there is no such marketing for the ladoos and the Parimala.
The parimala is prepared by mixing wheat, sugar, cardamom, dried grapes and several other spices. Initially, the parimala prasada was available in Mantralaya only but now some Raghavendra Swamy mathas or temples prepare them as parasad also.
Any person, who performs any seve in the Raghavendra Swamy Matha, is entitled to Parimala prasada there is a separate counter to dispense it for devotees and visitors.
The demand for Parimala prasada in Mantralaya peaks during Thursdays, festival and the three-day aradhane of Raghavendra Swamy which generally falls in August every year.
The Parimala in Mantralaya is prepared in the temple kitchens and volunteers help in packing it in plastic covers. The Parimala even today is prepared by baking the ingredients in a wood based stove. Would you believe it if told that there is a Mysore connection to the Mantralaya kitchens.
The Mysore connection came when the National Institute of Engineering (NIE) came up with a new concept of a stove to increase efficiency. These stoves were installed in 2012 in the kitchens at Mantralaya and they have proved successful.
These stoves were invented by the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Technologies, NIE, and four of them have been installed in the kitchens of Mantralaya.
They are being used to prepare the Parimala prasada. These are fuel efficient stoves and they are named as Asthara. It saves upto 50 per cent of firewood every day.
NIE had replaced the conventional stoves with four fuel efficient biomass stoves. The stoves were installed in the kitchen after the college studied in detail the entire process of making the prasada.
The college found that the old stoves in the kitchen had outlived their utility and that they were not fuel efficient.
The old stoves burnt large amounts of firewood, causing excess emission of carbon and also varying amounts of generation of heat. The smoke and the carbon apart from the heat affected the health of the cooks and others working in the kitchen.
The NIE CREST team designed the new stoves which are biomass based. They decided to replace the old stoves with the new models that they had developed. These new stoves today consume 250 kilograms of fire wood as against 500 kgs by the old stoves.
Besides, the new stoves uses or utilizes 70 per cent to 80 per cent of the heat generated as against 10 per cent to 20 per cent of the old stoves.
The heat resistance bricks help save more heat. It also reduces carbon dioxide up to 10,000 kilograms apart from creating a clean and healthy atmosphere for those preparing the prasada.
Another advantage of these new stoves is that cotton and dal stems can also be used instead of only firewood.
Every day, the temple authorities in Mantralaya use the stoves for nearly four to five hours. The demand goes up at least by two hundred per cent during Aradhana.
The stoves have to generate 400 to 500 degrees heat to prepare prasada. No wonder, the Parimala has its own taste which cannot be replicated anywhere else.
We now have a Mysore connection to the Parimala. What else can one say except Om Sri Raghavendra Namaha.